february almanac: veste everest16 February 2009
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Prairie Fire, 3.5 skeins
Needles: Addi Natura size US 7 32″ circular
Size: 34″, with slightly larger gauge (completed vest measures about 31″ unstretched)
Mods: I did 6.5 repeats of the cable pattern before starting the armhole shaping.
Clip ‘n’ Save! (or, What I Learned From This Project)
- Shaping: the instructions do not include any subtraction/addition of stitches for waist shaping because the stitch pattern takes care of it for you! The ribbing is so delightfully elastic that it hugs your curves all by itself. The key is selecting a size that has enough negative ease. Believe it or not, the above photos show a vest with about 8″ of negative ease. This is completely comfortable, and the vest could stretch further.
- Horizontal Stretch vs. Vertical Shrinkage: When a knitted fabric is stretched in one direction, it contracts in the other (I learned this rather obvious factoid by knitting a pullover that was a perfect fit, except that it exposed my bellybutton. No, I’m not going to post a photo). Since I was expecting such a large amount of horizontal stretch, I knew I would need to add some length so that my vest wouldn’t be too short. Since I wanted a vest that ended about 13″ (stretched) below my armpits, I ended up knitting to 14″ (unstretched) before starting the armholes. The armhole edging added an extra 1/2″, so the unstretched vest (shown below in an absolutely terrible photo), measures about 14.5″ inches below the armpit. To figure out how much longer I needed to knit, I simply stretched the piece to my desired width and measured it that way, to see how long it would be when on my body.
- Seaming with Negative Ease: I used a slipped-stitch edging on the vest pieces to make the seaming easier. Alas, this ended up backfiring! The mattress stitch that is so clean on a drapey or unstretched knit looked absolutely terrible when I stretched it out. So, I switched to (gasp) a whipstitch seam. It still doesn’t look quite as clean as if I had knitted the vest in the round (which I would do if I made it again), but it isn’t noticable when I’m wearing the vest.
- Binding Off at the Back of the Neck: I think the pattern suggests that you put the neck stitches on a holder, but I chose to bind them off and pick them up later, because I think it makes for more stable, sturdy neckline. Also, I think it matches the rest of the neck edging better, since this way all of the neck edging stitches have been picked up and knit.
- Picking Up Stitches: To make the armhole and neck edgings, I had to pick up and knit stitches. For me, the most difficult part of this procedure is getting the right number of stitches picked up and knit, since there is never a 1:1 ratio between available edge stitches and the number you need to pick up and knit. I found that picking up one stitch for every bound-off stitch (at the bottoms of the armholes and back of the neck) and about 4 stitches for every 3 slipped selvedge stitches. Since you can’t pick up a stitch that isn’t there, I just used a yarn-over increase as follows: [pick up and knit 3, yo] repeating.
- Binding Off the Edgings: The pattern instructs you to bind off “in patt”, but this is a little ambiguous. Should you bind off in rib or twisted rib? I didn’t like the idea of twisted bind-off stitches, so I simply bound off in rib, making sure to do it loosely.
Now: what to do about March? I’ll post some ideas soon…