Wednesday, March 12, 2008

knitting update, with ridiculously lengthy discussion of shawl collars

Knitting time is at a premium around here, between work and birthday parties, but I've gotten a bit done. First, Baby Sister's socks:

They're not really anything special - plain toe-up socks - but the model's pretty cute. :)

I've also got something actually happening with the seamless hybrid! And it's only been on the needles a couple of months! (I am pathetically slow, I know.) Here's what it looks like now:

Can you see where I started the second skein? How about now?

It's pretty obvious to me, but there's nothing I can do about it, because a)after scrutinizing the ball band, I can find no mention of a dye lot, b)I got the yarn at the Webs post-holiday sale wicked cheap, it's probably gone, and Northampton is two hours away, and c)I had knit about three inches before I noticed. So I'll have to just get over it.

Hey - speaking of Webs, I'm going to see the Yarn Harlot there in April!! It's going to be great; my mom and my sister want to go, plus Jess and Amy and MadMad and lots of other bloggers too. I'm so excited to actually meet all these people!!

Okay, sorry for the Webs-induced hysteria. Where was I? My sweater. Right - so I want a shawl collar on this thing. I had originally planned to do it the way I believe they're usually done: bind off a section of stitches where the bottom of the collar will be, then afterward pick up stitches around the neck and knit the collar, probably in ribbing, so that its stitches are at right angles to the sweater's stitches, in the front anyway. Like this, except, you know, not on a guy:

But a few weeks ago, I was in a parent conference, and - though of course I was paying attention, I swear - the mom had on this terrific sweater with a really interesting collar. It was shaped like a shawl collar, but it was in the same stitch pattern as the rest of the sweater (cables, incidentally) and the stitches were in the same direction as the rest of the sweater. It looked like you just cast on extra stitches at the bottom of the collar, then start knitting back and forth instead of in the round, shaping the V of the collar as you go. Then you overlap the collar and sew the little seam at the end. I wish I could find a picture of this. If I'm not making any sense, feel free to send me a big WTF in the comments. Here, let me try this:

Anyway, I decided I had to have this collar on my sweater. I was pretty darn excited about this collar, too, as only you knitters will understand. But I wanted to see if I could figure out a way to do it without the little seam at the end. I worried about lumpiness, and also I don't care for sewing.
So here's what I did. When I got to where I wanted the bottom of the collar to be, I put markers at either end of the center 19 stitches, and I cast on 19 more stitches, to get the overlap. But in what at the time I thought of as my extreme cleverness, I didn't cast them on all at once, I did knit 1, make 1 across the stitches between the markers. Then I put the new stitches on a stitch holder. I gave myself a little pat on the back, because there I had it: two sets of overlapping stitches on the front of my sweater, just waiting to be shaped into shawl-y loveliness. Then I turned and purled around the back of the sweater.

Do you see where this is going? When I got back to the collar section, I wanted to have the stitches from the holder be on one needle and the original 19 stitches on the other. You can't really do that without pulling the overlapped part really hard and generally making a mess. First I tried doing it as some sort of double-knitting thing. Yeah - I can hear you laughing. I can't believe I tried that either. I ended up just kind of using the stitch holder as a third needle and moving things around each time I got to that section, until the two pieces were long enough to go on the needles without pulling. Voila:

It would have been easier to just sew the fricking seam. I should learn to stop with the thinking already.