Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Fair Isle Finishing Line.

In the months since I really got going on this blog, it felt like I was knitting a mile a minute and had something to share pretty often. For the bulk of what has been 2010, however, I have been pretty much a one-track knitter.


All has not been in vain, I hope! It is with a great feeling of accomplishment that I have finally finished the vintage fair isle sweater I mentioned a few weeks ago. Knit in a 2-ply, laceweight yarn, it's no wonder it took me so long. There was swatching, there was choosing colours, there was fiddling about with 2 strands of yarn at a time (and no, I don't do continental - yet), there was going back rows and rows when a mistake was found... and then there was finishing.

I met my friend Lara (the, um, commisioner? of the sweater) for tea last week and showed her one of the yet-to-be-seamed pieces and she seemed to really love it! Lara doesn't knit regularly, but she does know how to knit, so it's nice that she has a real appreciation for the work that has gone into it. Since we were having tea at Liberty, we took the opportunity to pick out buttons for the shoulder joins at the same time.


That night, I cast off stitches on the last sleeve, steam blocked, and had four lovely panels of knitting. Next day, weaving in ends and seaming awaited me. The weaving in of millions of tiny strands of yarn was fine. It was the seaming that became a bit of a nightmare.

The pattern called for a slipped stitch selvedge, which, while normally fine, with this very laceweight yarn, was actually pretty messy and loose. At first I tried doing the usual mattress stitch seam, but this came out horrendously. I could tell that when the two pieces of fabric were stretched over a body it would leave really ugly gaps and holes. I did a bit of research into what's best for slipped stitch selvedge seams, but nothing really specific turned up. Instead, for the first time, I decided to try a backstitch seam. A combination of a few websites' info gave me the confidence to give it a try: Knitting Daily, Figure 167 in this Google Books result for Knitting Tips and Trade Secrets, and this article in Knitty.


It came out beautifully and actually, really professional-looking, on both the outside and when you look at the seam on the inside. I love when a new technique works out.


I wish I could show you the garment in use, but Lara is teeny-tiny and so is the sweater. And tiny I am not. If she'll let me, I'll take a photo of her in it to show you. For now here's the image from the pattern:


And my project details:

On Ravelry: meghanaf's Dasha
Pattern: Dasha - La Laine No 2177
Publisher: Bairnswear (obtained from The Retro Knitting Company
Date: Unknown (unfortunately!)
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith 2-ply laceweight in shades L34, L36, L202, L43
Needles: 2.75 and 3.75 mm


Jo said...

Wow! Tat is amazing work!

Jo said...

I meant to say 'that'....but I guess you'd already worked that out!

rosemary said...

What a gorgeous sweater! I kept meaning to ask if you knit continental; you knit things so fast I figured you must. But goodness, you have such fortitude to knit something so delicate and detailed in only a few weeks! I am amazed :)

meghanaf said...

Thanks guys :)

I keep meaning to make myself do continental. I know how to do it, but it's so fiddly, that I just get exasperated and go back to the regular English/American method. I am too impatient! Maybe I just need to do a big long garter stitch scarf or something and really MAKE myself get the hang of it!

Ingrid said...

Oh, it's wonderful! May I ask - I have the very same pattern and plan to knit it with added stitches instead of larger needles - did you have much yarn left over after finishing, or was four skeins of background yarn just barely enough?

meghanaf said...

@Ingrid - I am afraid it was quite a while ago that I knit this, but I don't remember having loads of yarn leftover. Perhaps less than half a ball. I hope that helps, I'd love to see how yours turns out!

Ingrid said...

Thanks, Meghanaf! I'll post on Ravelry when I get going and will let you know :)