Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Brigitta: Even More Seamless

I'll admit it; I was skeptical. I didn't think I could knit a sweater in a weekend--but I did! Here's a shot of the back just before the finishing, which I managed to do Sunday evening. Right now, the completed cardi is drying on the floor beside me. The wool is Cascade's Lana Grande in Espresso.


The pattern was Julie Weisenberger's "Brigitta", advertised as seamless, but not seamless in fact. As written, there's quite a bit of sewing in the area of the shoulders. Apart from the fact that I'm not a fan of sewing knits, I was worried about the effect of sewing extra bulky wool in the part of the garment that would be viewed near eye level, so below you'll see some instructions for converting the shoulders to a truly seamless knit (I still ended up whip-stitching the 3-stitch garter stitch border to the back of the neck, as that turned out to be the tidiest way to accomplish that join). The trade-off for the seamless approach? You won't have the nice decrease line created by the sssk decreases along the slope of the "English-tailored "shoulders ( I used short rows instead). But that was my choice.
The eagle-eyed will also have noticed that I've added a bit of length to the bust area so that the gores begin below my (gravity-challenged) boobs. It's a better look for me, and is pretty similar to the shape of my Zora and Wakefield Redux designs.
A final change is that I cast off the sleeves purlwise so that those edges match the lower edge of the body, which was cast on using the longtail method but has the purl-bump side facing the right side.
So, for anyone interested, here's how to make Brigitta more seamless (note that these instructions are for the size 37 1/2" and start at the point in the pattern under "Finishing"):

1. Starting at the right front, join the front shoulder sts to the top of the right sleeve with a perpendicular join (check out my tutorial on that subject). At the junction of the shoulder and sleeve top, you will work SSK, turn, sl1, work back to the front edge. Do this until all the sleeve top sts are used up. After the last SSK,

2. keep working across the back sts, working 5 sets of short rows on the back, making the first wrapped turns 2 sts from ea side of the back and spacing the subsequent pairs 2 sts apart. There will be 12 sts left without any short row treatment in the centre.

3. When the last short row is done, work all the way across the back, neatening wraps, to the left front shoulder. Now, begin joining these shoulder sts to the top of the left sleeve in the same way as you did for the right front, EXCEPT the join will occur on the WS of the work and will be accomplished with p2tog, turn, sl1, work back, etc. After the last p2tog, work back on the WS all the way to the right front, neatening any rem wraps.

4. With RS tog and using 3-needle BO, join right front shoulder to back shoulder (there will be 12 sts on the front and 11 on the back--work a k2tog in the process of binding off), then BO the centre 12 back neck sts, then join the left front and back shoulders in the same way as you did for the left side. I like the way everything comes together in this one row.

5. On ea side, work 5 ridges of garter st on the 3-st neck border, ending with a ridge on the RS. Join the two sides tog, RS facing, tightly with 3-needle BO. Whip-stitch the edge to the back of the neck. DONE!

Oh, I forgot to mention that I DID NOT cast off any underarm stitches. Instead, I put them onto threads (see photo) and wove them together using the method set out in my tutorial on grafting underarms (see sidebar for the link).

Even though all this knitting happened, it turned out that there was time to spare. On Sunday morning, faced with a bread crisis (none in the pantry), I threw these scones together,

while Mother Nature gifted us with a last blast of winter ----

I hope!