Wednesday, September 19, 2012

If there’s one thing I like doing better than another, it’s knitting back and forth nibbling away at stitches at the edges – knitting an edging onto a shawl, for instance. That’s what I’m doing now with the mitred jacket. It puts me very much in just-one-more-row mode.

Except that disaster struck, last night. At first I couldn’t figure out what had happened. I finally concluded that while I was down at one end of the row, acquiring a stitch or stitches to nibble, stitches fell off the other end of the working needle and the vital edge stitch then ran down, detaching the centre from the border.

There was nothing for it that I could think of but to take two days' work out and go back to the point where I had just finished grafting the border together.

I have made some improvements. The first time, I kept the waiting stitches, which run up the inside edges of the jacket borders, on circular needles, one each side. And then worked back and forth on a third circular. This meant that there were an awful lot of needle-ends flapping about, adding to the general confusion – where am I? which is the right side?

This time I have put the waiting stitches on waste yarn. It takes a bit longer to grab them, but I think the system will be more secure and much less confusing. I have also broken the yarn in a couple of places where it turned out to be frayed – and this is the skein that was meant to be intact.

At the moment, I am almost back to the point where I was yesterday morning.


I like Tamar’s suggestion that we try on a familiar sweater inside-out to see whether Mary Thomas is right that it will become shorter and wider thereby. The woman certainly isn’t infallible. She says in her Knitting Book that there are only ten authentic Shetland lace patterns, which she names.

Alice Korach refers to this statement in an article in Threads in June, ’87, reprinted in their “Knitting Around the World” compendium. She is sceptical, and rightly so, because it’s rubbish. Now that we’ve got Sharon Miller that quaint notion is no longer worthy of mention.

And even the master can nod. I have long thought that the Seamless Hybrid Sweater in KwT is beyond beautiful. But if you knit it as EZ instructs, it doesn’t work. She has you go back and forth when knitting the saddle, taking in a body stitch at the end of every row. That procedure takes no account of the fact that stitch-gauge and row-gauge are considerably different in st st --  but not so different that there are twice as many rows to the inch as stitches, as her system implies. You’ve got to double up from time to time.

Believe me, I’ve tried.

But thinking about this yesterday, starting from your comment, Tamar, I thought, why not knit a Seamless Hybrid for my son-in-law’s Gardening Sweater which is next on the agenda, Madelinetosh sport-weight in shade Firewood? So that’s what I’ll do.


  1. You are absolutely right about the saddle on the EZ Hybrid sweater - I had to re-do on mine. I think I worked off the body stitches by knitting in two on every fourth row - that would be the same ratio as picking up stitches along a side edge of stocking stitch. That is to say three pickups or knitoffs for every four row ends.

  2. Ouch, but at least the second time sounds like it will be easier. I like to pu waiting stitches on a pice of narro ribbon, it hold them open more than yarn, and makes them easier to put back on a needle. I got a bag of ribbon at a garage sale about ten years ago and I'm still using it

  3. You're a better woman than I. I think that I would have put the sweater in the basket to "rest" and worked on something else. I like Mary Lou's idea.

  4. It might be worth bringing up the Hybrid problem with Meg Swansen, as EZ was usually quite particular about things like row/stitch gauge. (Although, yes, even Homer nods.) In my one and only Knitting Camp with Meg, we made a miniature version of the Russian Prime sweater, which has a diagonal Fair Isle pattern throughout -- well, it's DK weight, so whatever Fair Isle is when it's thicker than fingering. Anyway, the point is that Meg (and EZ in the original pattern) made much of the fact that here, and here alone among sweaters, you can pick up stitches against rows one-for-one and knit the sleeves down, continuing the pattern. The technique works with the Russian Prime because of some magic that the diagonal two-color pattern imparts. Maybe Meg could examine the original Hybrid, which is probably still around, and see if there is a similar alchemy at work here. Good luck with the Firewood Gardening sweater -- sounds terrific!