Sunday, July 22, 2012

On Casting On Stitches Mid-Project and Why I May Be About to Give "The Convertible" a Miss...

You'll recall I'm making this. More to the point, I've knit the same 30 rows 4 times in an effort to resolve a fairly omnipresent challenge: the loopy outer-edge-ugliness that is inclined to come of casting at stitches every row.

Briefly, the sweater is knit entirely in stockinette, on 2.75mm needles with fingering yarn. The pieces are knit bottom up to form a diagonal, so one casts on stitches many stitches to achieve that shape. This thing starts with a cast on of a mere 2 stitches, to give you a sense of how many stitches will be cast on as one knits upwards. Why I can't simply increase stitches every row (by knitting through the front and back loop - or some other method on the first and last stitches) is beyond me. That's what's produced the nicest finish, so far, but I sense the instructions would have told me to do that if it weren't to have some deleterious effect later in the project. Note to beginners: Casting on is different than increasing stitches.


What I've Tried:

First I backwards looped those mid-project cast ons (beginning and/or end of each row). Knitters will know that the looseness of backwards looping caused gaping holes at the edges.

Then I learned how to cable cast on, but found that it wasn't producing a very nice edge outer edge, though it worked fine on the centre back increases. There appeared to be too many purl bumps on the right side of the stockinette fabric.

Finally, I read a great post on TECHKnitting that talks about how to remove the large loops that come of backwards cast on. It involves backwards looping 2/3 of the stitches required and then using the extra yarn to create the final third of stitches when you knit or purl back on the other side of the fabric. Strangely, I've done this in the past without realizing it was a technique - though I really liked the final result.

My main problem is that I am only casting on 2 stitches at the end of every row. If it were 3, I'd have enough loop to make that third stitch fairly smoothly. As it is, I've got only the exact amount of yarn to produce the extra stitch and I'm having to create and then "knit" that stitch on a purl row.

Y'all know how I love to say I'm dexterous. Well, it's trying. At this rate, it should take me 300 years to knit this sweater.  Never mind that, here's the result and I don't particularly like it:


I really do hate stockinette edges.

Of course, the edges will be folded under and hemmed. But they're still going to look shitty, as far as I can tell.

So, thoughts or feelings? Should I just find another pattern on which to use this terrific yarn? I figure Ravelry will yield some gems if I search with terms for fingering yarn, 2.75 mm needles and a gauge of 7 or 8 and 11. Whatcha think?

19 comments:

  1. If the edges will be folder over and hemmed, I think they look just fine. I think they look great anyway, but why agonize over this if the end result won't even be seen? The color is gorgeous, by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, thanks for that perspective. I feel better.

      Delete
  2. I do lean towards the theory that if you're having doubts now, in another 50 rows you'll be sticking yourself in the eye with a knitting needle. The advanced search on Ravelry will pull up lots of lovelies. Perhaps have a look and see if there is something that speaks to you. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! But I did check Ravelry (see my next post) and there's nothing that appeals, ridiculously.

      Delete
  3. Knitting. Machine.

    (No fooling.. .patterns like this are exactly why I bought one). Machine knit the boring parts like backs and sleeves and you can lavish all the attention you like on cuffs, bands, hems, trims and collars.)

    Come to the dark side...

    :) Gail M of the short row bust dart advice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have TOTALLY looked into getting one of those. They sound awesome. How much did yours cost?

      Delete
    2. I have several, I started in 1993 and still love it...they are kind of addictive. Cheapest but actually works (unlike "Bond" type plastic knitting machines) - Studio LK150 Mid-Gauge - $399USD, plastic bed but has ball bearings so it knits very smoothly - Most Expensive: Brother 970, completely computerized, you can download graphics you've scanned, knit in six colors per row, built in garment schematics - $2,300USD. Ravelry has a thriving machine knit community.

      I totally get your post about "boxy" sweaters, I use Garment Designer Software a lot because it has both sewing patterns and knitting patterns (hand and machine). If I make a t-shirt that fits great (40DDD--7" bump from ribcage to bust size), Garment Designer will generate knitting instructions (with darts!) for that self-same garment once I enter my gauge. I think you can download a demo - www.cochenille.com . No affiliation, just a big fan.

      Gail

      Delete
    3. This is terrific feedback. I know a woman who uses a knitting machine and has made really great garments. I have to check out the forum on Ravelry. I will definitely be in touch when I decide it's time to buy. Thanks!

      Delete
  4. I don't know how to solve the problem at hand, but I just had a tiny somewhat-related thought. You say "I hate stockinette edges"... have you done a slipped-stitch edge yet? Makes stockinette edges a lot prettier!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because the instructions indicate that I must increase or decrease on the first and last stitches. So I don't see how I can slip the stitches. Maybe I'm missing something?

      Delete
    2. Oh yes, that's why I said I didn't know about the problem at hand... I was just commenting about stockinette edges in general.

      Delete
  5. Hi there,
    I favour the 'twisted purlwise cast on' which I learned as part of a tutorial on one-row buttonholes. It leaves a nice firm edge with no ugly loops. There are good instructions at http://www.knittingonthenet.com/learn/twpurlcaston.htm . I hope this helps! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, I totally have to go and check this link! Thank you!

      Delete
  6. Hmm, sounds very complicated! I'm sure you'll find your answer. Sometimes it's best to just let it brew for a while :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. I'm not so good at that :-)

      Delete
  7. OH, you are more advanced than me, so I don't have much to offer. But I think it doesn't look as bad as you think, and the pattern is quite nice looking. And it's a nice color.

    How frustrating it is to knit then frog then knit then frog...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The thought that I am more advanced than anyone at knitting is an amusing one to me! :-)

      Delete
  8. I came across this TechKnitting post the other day that seems like it might be relevant: http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2012/01/sweater-shoulders-transform-stair-steps.html

    I couldn't quite absorb it all since I'm not dealing with that issue at the moment, but I hope it helps! (I agree with Gauss, though--the edges look good now and will be great when hemmed.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I have to go and check it out...

      Delete