Final Front Forces Placket Planning

I knocked out the Left Front over the weekend.  I *might* be on a little bit of a tear.  

And while it was drying, I started to play with how to make the front placket.  See, because I decided on a square neck, which will require miters at its inside corners, I've been thinking that I must also miter the outside corners.  Why?, you might well ask.  Umm, because I'm a spaz, and having one sexy mitered inside corner, and one boring picked-up edge right next to it is going to make my teeth itch.  And possibly my hair fall out in clumps.  I know my persnickety nature well enough to predict that this is one of those situations where I just want it how I want it.  So I grabbed my initial swatch and gave the outside miter thing a whirl:

Final Front 2.JPG

I initially thought that the placement of the top buttonhole adjacent to the miter would be the tricky part.  And I was right.  This one didn't land quite where I wanted it.  But the real problem turned out to be that my M1R and M1L increases on either side of the center st of the miter took too much slack out of the center st, pulling it in.  See how the corner isn't square, and both the top and side edges are slanting?  Since the buttonholes were also too close together, I pulled the whole thing out, trying to be glad that at least I'd tried it in small scale first.

And then I tried again, using different increases.  Which also sucked, so I pulled it out.

On the 4th or 5th try, I realized that I really didn't have to knit placket along the whole edge of the swatch: just the corner would suffice.  "DUH" magazine called to ask me to pose for the November cover.

I gave up in frustration (but not before viciously stretching and pinning the poor thing to the arm of the sofa, hoping it would "block out": Fail.)  The solution came to me in that foggy place between sleep and awake: The center stitch of the outside miter needed more yarn in it so the increases on either side of it wouldn't pull too tight.  So all I had to do was artificially elongate it.  Which I could easily do by wrapping the yarn twice around the needle when making that one stitch (which happens on the WS, just in case the whole thing wasn't fiddly enough).  But it worked:

Final Front 3.JPG

By elongating the center st when making it (on the WS), when I made the increases on either side of it on the RS, it shortened up to the normal size without pulling in!  Pleased with myself?  Little Bit.  I called "Knitting Show Offs" magazine to ask if they need contributions. 

They're gonna get back to me.  Really.

Sleeves at Season's End

Yesterday I tried racing the weather.  Our last bit of shiny October warmth was correctly predicted to end this morning.  And I still had two sleeves to block.  Not that it can't be done indoors, but it's never as fast, or delicious-smelling.  So I challenged myself to finish the second sleeve cap, and pin them both out before the sun set.

I made it.  Just.    

They were still damp when the sun went down and I had to move the whole works inside, but I still feel smug.

I can't believe how NOT tired of this stitch pattern I am.  It internalized really easily, and I love the rhythm of it.  I also love how I can just count repeats to see the landmarks for shaping: After 11 diamonds it's time for the armpit, etc.

The rain came this morning, and with it the end of the golden part of autumn.  It'll be strictly monsoons from now till next July.  I'm trying not to think about how it will be to watch Campbell's football practices, outside in the mud.  I *may* have ordered an enormously long down parka.  That will help a lot, but the real challenge is trying to knit while holding an umbrella.  I know:  First World problem.

I'll try to envision a solution while I knit the left front.  Indoors.


On Edge(s)

My swell new book arrived:

cast on bind off.jpg

I dove right in, excited to enhance my knowledge of knitted beginnings and endings.  Would you believe that I actually contributed to this book, and then forgot all about it?  It was almost three years ago, at Rhinebeck, when I launched my first book.  Across the aisle from my signing table were the lovely ladies of Green Mountain Spinnery, with whom I made friends.  Cap was there, and told me all about how she was making a book of cast ons and bind offs.  I offered her the best one I know, in case she hadn't heard of it.  And then I forgot all about it.  When I picked out this book, I had completely amnesia-ed our meeting.  But when the book arrived, Whoosh!  It all came back to me! 

Cap has done an outstanding job with this volume, and I'm not just saying so because she included my contribution.  The format is big and glossy, the binding (spiral) lies flat so you can actually work from it, and the photos and illustrations are sparkling-clear.  I promise, there are a lot of great new tricks in here, and a few old ones you might have forgotten about, too.  Get your copy HERE; you'll be glad you did.

And best of all, Cap came through with the very thing I was hoping for:  A way to cast on IN PATTERN!  That's right!  It's actually possible to work your cast on stitches one direction for knits, and another for purls.  I always suspected somebody must have figured out how to do this; I just had to wait until Cap wrote it down for me.  It's done with a version of the long-tail cast on (page 32, when you get your copy), and it really does work:

Here's the boring old "Cable Cast On" I settled for on the back of the sweater.

And here is the new and improved super-sexy "Cast On In Pattern" I used for the Right Front!

Yes, I know the difference is subtle, and anyone who would be able to tell the difference is probably way too close to the edge of my sweater.  But there's just something so satisfying about knowing you have really found the best possible tool for the job...Can I get a knitters' Amen for Cast-On smugness?  Yeah, baby.

Back's done.  Right Front's Done.  First sleeve's cast on.  Somebody stop me.