Sunday, January 30, 2005

Problem Solving, or why items remain unfinished:

I started the brioche vest for my husband last winter when his office was very cold and he was wearing knit vests under his sportcoat to work everyday. The body of the vest went fine, but the pattern instructions for finishing left me cold. So the vest sat for many weeks (nay...months!) in a basket, unfinished.

I don't mind if the things I make look handcrafted, but don't want them to scream "homemade!!" Until yesterday, the button bands were knitted according to the pattern and sewn onto the vest, but they looked so flimsy and unprofessional, I couldn't bring myself to sew on the buttons and finish the armholes. Yesterday afternoon I ripped off the buttonbands, pulled out my copy of Montse Stanley's The Handknitter's Handbook (which has since become the Reader's Digest Handknitter's Handbook) and started looking through it for cast on and button band ideas. What I came up with is a button band that is knit as doubleknit stocking stitch. I cast on 13 stitches using tubular cast on, then knit one, yarn to front, slip one...repeat across. Turn the work and continue w/ knit one, ytf, sl one. The picture below has the original pattern button band on the right and my version on the left.

Button bands for Men's Brioche Vest
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You can see that the buttonband on the left is nice and sturdy. It won't sag under the weight of buttons on the right hand side, nor will vertical slit buttonholes pull out of shape on the left front of the garment. Yes the knitting is slow, but the finished item will look so much better!

spun from the roving in Jan. 24 post
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I've also been spinning from the roving shown in the Jan. 24th post. Below is a raggedy tag swatch knitted from the singles.

swatch knitted as singles
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As you can see, the blue overwhelms the purple and turquoise in the yarn. The finished yarn will be kind of stripey when knit. I'm still thinking a shawl. I usually do all of the carding, then all of the spinning, then at last begin to knit. This time I think I'll begin knitting from the first bobbin and continue to card and spin as the knitting progresses. I've changed my mind about the pattern for the shawl and have been going through my library to see if another pattern strikes my fancy. I still want it to be a garter based lace pattern, but perhaps something more shaped, as in the Faroese shawls.


  1. Anonymous3:54 PM

    I really like your version of the button band. I'll have to try it.
    Angi ~ Spinningdoula

  2. Anonymous10:12 PM

    Will you steam or wet what you have spun to set the twist before you knit with it? If not---won't it skew to one side as you knit?

  3. The knitted fabric shouldn't skew if the angle of twist is 20 degrees or less. The use of a garter stitch based fabric will help prevent skewing as well.


tie in the loose ends...