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Spinning Saturday, Knitting Sunday

October 17, 2005

This blog entry is brought to you by Bonnie, who says that she is MUCH more beautiful than Toby and has also progressed farther in her lap-cat training.

Saturday was for spinning. Emily and I drove down to Liz’s house to see Elka, and we spun. It was the first time I’d ported my portable wheel (the Mazurka) anyplace, so I thought it was way cool.

Doesn’t Liz’s big Jensen wheel look lovely in front of the fireplace??

Elka brought her Lendrum with her on the plane all the way from St. Louis. She said it was her only luggage, all her clothes and everything were rolled up and stuffed in with the wheel. Now that’s a spinner speaking!

I finished a bobbin of grey Shetland while we were there, and then Sunday I finished my third bobbin of bluefaced leicester and will ply this week.

The big knitting progress this weekend was made on Arches. The sock is done but looks the same as before, just without needles. Emily’s sweater looks the same, only longer. Arches, however, now has two sleeves and a neckband. Doing the short-row shaping on the sleeves was interesting; the neckband, however, is unlike anything I’ve ever done before, and tremendously clever.

The neckband is knitted in a long strip. It has a selvage stitch down one side – a stitch that is slipped at the beginning of every other row. When the entire strip is knitted, the directions say to hold the band stitches, except for the selvage stitch which you drop and slip out of the loop below. I had no idea how this was going to work, but look what happens: each little stitch pops out of the one below it and just sits there nicely waiting to be picked up.

The stitches on the neckline are picked/knitted up just as you would if you were knitting on a neckband, but once you have them all knitted up onto a circular needle, you stop. So, you have stitches picked up on a circular needle, and the little side stitches of the neckband on another circular needle. The process of joining them together is almost exactly like a 3-needle bindoff, except that you do not have a working strand of yarn, just the stitches themselves.

In these pictures, the neckline stitches are on the grey needle and the neckband is on the black needle.

To start, you put your crochet hook through the first neck stitch and pull the first band stitch through (taking them both off their needle). Now you have a working loop on your hook. Then, you put your hook through the next neck stitch and the next band stitch.

You take them both off their needles so they are sitting on your hook – one band stitch, one neck stitch, and your working loop from the last maneuver.

Finally, you pull the band stitch through both of the other two loops, once again leaving you a working loop, and making a lovely chain effect where the band joins the neck. Brilliant!

Along the straight center front and center back, you take two neck stitches instead of one every once in awhile, to make the band fit properly. At the end, you just graft or sew the live end of the band to the caston end, and you’re done.

It dawned on me that I was just doing a 3-needle bindoff without yarn, when I started using one of the needles to assist in pulling the loop through – Cotton Fleece splits like mad and it was much easier to slip the stitches over than to try pulling one through.

If that wasn’t clever enough, the non-selvege edge of the band is a sort of imitation I-cord. That edge has three knit stitches running up it, and every 6 rows, on a wrong side row, you slip those 3 stitches instead of purling them, with the yarn to the wrong side of the band, and when you turn and start knitting back, you are pulling the yarn across just as you would on an I-cord. It makes a lovely finish. You might be able to see the edge in the first photos of the band, above.

Now I just need to attach I-cord to the bottom of the sweater and this one will be done. I’m not sure if I should get yarn and go around and pick up stitches at the caston edge, or just start the cord and lever up a caston loop with my needle for the joining. We’ll see.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June P permalink
    October 18, 2005 4:03 pm

    Wow, Wow, Wow! Caroline, your documentation on the neckband for Arches is definately a keeper and everything just looks wonderful! I wish I could have joined you all at the Spin-In at Liz’s house!

  2. October 19, 2005 10:45 pm

    This looks like a really cool neckband(and cute Kitty)pru!

  3. November 4, 2005 8:04 pm

    Hi, I love your site.
    How do you like your Mazurka? I have been trying to decide on one, and it’s down to the Mazurka and the Ashford Traveller. How are you finding the Mazurka for being able to spin various yarns?

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