Thursday, October 10, 2013

On the Edge (Selvedge Stitches)

A knitter, Marci, wrote to me earlier this week,

"Hi! Just have a quick question on the Zora pattern (which I’ve LOVED knitting by the way)… I’ve got the back to 21 1/2”, but now I’m a bit confused. I’ve ended after a WS row, now starting on a RS row with the right side of the back. If I work to the last 2 stitches of the right shoulder, then the k2tog will be knitting purl stitches. This makes me think I’ve reversed something and that the k2tog is actually on the outer edge stitches and not on the inner edge stitches. Or that it is the inner stitches but that I should be doing this on the WS so that I’m knitting the knit stitches together. (This is my first bottom-up sweater - I usually do top-down - so I’m just missing something due to inexperience!)"

The answer is that the instructions are correct and that she will indeed be eating into the reverse stocking stitch background of the cable panel with k2tog on one side of the shoulder and SSK on the other. The point is to create a selvedge that will be used later on for picking up for the collar and front border.I have a dislike of patterns that don't give explicit instructions regarding selvedge stitches. This is especially the case when there is a complicated pattern stitch. So, in my patterns you will ALWAYS find instructions for how to make selvedges if they are required. For how to pick up from a selvedge, see here.

This came to mind because this morning I was working the decreases for the front and back neck of my handspun Zora.

Above, on the left-hand side of the work, you see a series of k2tog's, creating a nice neat edge. Later on, they'll start to eat into the cable panel just a little bit. And later still, I'll be able to use the inner halves of the border stitches for knitting up the collar. Very easy, very tidy and very clean looking.

In between knitting, I'm still spinning away to make a couple of more skeins. 

The challenge is to maintain a consistent yarn thickness from skein to skein. Remember, I'm a mere beginner at this spinning thing. It's not all perfect, but that's the way handspun is. If I wanted total evenness, I'd use a commercial wool.

Zora is a cousin (or sibling) of Wakefield Redux, the cardigan I finished just before Rhinebeck last year. Both share the same silhouette, although the sizing is slightly different to adjust for the differences in the cable panels. Here I am wearing Wakefield a couple of days ago, along with my Fibonacci Neckerchief.

How can you not love the season that lets you get all your favourite woollies out of storage?