Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ever So Close

I haven't posted about my Acer Cardigan in a while because it went into brief (and probably undeserved) hibernation. I was about halfway through the increases on the second sleeve while knitting at my LYS when my friend, who is also the store manager, asked me if I would mind knitting a sample for the shop. It was just a simple ribbed scarf, and would be a short one at that, so I of course said yes. It took me maybe a week to knit the thing, which isn't bad at all considering how much I usually loathe knitting scarves, but that meant that the sleeve was ignored until the scarf was done.

Fortunately, once the sample knitting was done, I was able to make fast work of that sleeve. I finished up the sleeve cap and bound off last night at Hurricane Knitting. I had already done the three-needle bind off on the shoulders when I finished the body, so once the sleeve was done, the next step was to start in the button bands.

Picking up stitches for button bands and collars and things always makes me a bit nuts because I can never seem to pick up the right number. This time around, I decided to be a little logical about how I was going to do it, especially because my row gauge was a little off and I knew I'd have to pick up more stitches than specified. The ratio of stitches to rows in this pattern's gauge was about 7 to 10, so I rounded that a bit and decided to pick up about three stitches for every four rows. I also took into account the pattern for the button band, which is in a 2x2 rib with an extra stitch at the bottom and two extra stitches at the top -- or, in other words, a multiple of 4 plus 3. I figured I could follow my 3 stitches for every 4 rows guideline and fudge it a bit if I had to to get a multiple of 4 plus 3. I picked up all the stitches according to this plan and was pleased that I ended up picking up the first three stitches and also the last three without trying (I really don't like it when my button band doesn't line up with, say, the cast on edge of the sweater). Then I counted the stitches, figuring I could undo a handful and pick up fewer or more to get a number that would work, and was amazed when I came up with 99 -- a multiple of 4 plus 3! It's a bit more than the recommended number for my size (which I think was about 83), but it looked just fine. Moreover, because I picked up exactly three stitches for every four rows, I know I can replicate it for the second button band.

This was clearly the extent of my knitting good luck for the night, because after finishing three rows before we were kicked out* of Barnes & Noble, I discovered that I had neglected to go down a needle size for the ribbing. So, as soon as I got home last night, I ripped back to the picked up stitches and started again with my size 5s. I managed to get the whole band knit and began the bind off while watching the hockey game (though I put it away and went to bed after the first overtime), so I should be able to finish it and get a good start on the other one tonight.

Once the button bands and collar are done, I'll have to face the music and set in the sleeves -- I'm saving it until the end mostly because I always have trouble sewing in set-in sleeves, and this is the first time I'll have to do it in the round -- and find some buttons. I am guessing I will have this done by the end of the month, so now I just have to hope that it's cool enough in Maryland to wear it at least once!

*Only because the store was closing -- we were actually on pretty good behavior last night.


  1. JennW (jennichrys)10:59 AM

    I love your sweater! You should consider entering it in a handspun FO contest... Maybe Rhinebeck?

  2. I know you're done already, but it's just such an impressive process. Go, you!