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Monday, November 22, 2010

Sleeve Caps and More Short Rows.

 Working on the sleeves of this Soho Smocked Dress - but first I had to put in another inch of short rows. Since shoulders, sleeves and bust darts require so many short rows I may have to call this the Short Row Soho Smocked Dress in future. Or maybe the ShRoHo dress. Nah - just kidding. But after trying on the bodice I realized that I needed another inch of angled knitting to make it fit nicely over my frontage. Most sweaters I make are boxy enough that I only need a little shaping in the front but this dress very quickly becomes slightly fitted around the ribcage and I really don't want that textured midsection riding up in the front. Not a pretty look.

But once I finished that bit of extra knitting I began picking up for the sleeves.  I slip the first stitch of each row when I do flat knitting which gives you that nice long chain stitch along the edge. It tends to roll in towards the purl side but it's easy enough to pinch it back up straight and then I pick up my stitches by knitting under each chain. And No. I don't usually wear nail polish to match my knitting projects. This was just a color fluke.

Though I'd marked the folding line when I picked up stitches to knit down the fronts (as the pattern thoughtfully reminds one to do) it turns out I probably didn't have to. When you knit from both ends of a stitch, they never quite line up. The stitches are always 1/2 a stitch off - so there is a little change at the center top in the way the picked up stitches look. Sweet, hmmm?

Once the stitches are picked up you begin making the sleeve cap - which is like knitting a turned heel. You knit 2/3 of the stitches, making sure to count how many stitches past the top center stitch (that shoulder turn place) then wrap and turn, purl back till you're the same number or stitches on the other side of the top center stitch and wrap and turn again. Then when you knit back you pick up the wrapped stitch and wrap and turn the next stitch. Then ... you got it - purl back, pick up the wrapped stitch and W&T the next.

All well and good BUT ... when do you stop wrapping and turning. do you do this all the way to underarm seam? Stop at 8% a la Elizabeth Zimmermann? Just how do you decide? Well - after puzzling over the instructions I tracked down Kristy Mcgowan on Facebook ( yeah, nothing like being a knitting groupie) and emailed her and she got back in touch with me with the answer - which is organic just like the center top of the sleeve cap. Where you began increasing on the sides to create the  underarm curve is where you STOP wrapping and turning and just knit up the underarm stitches plain. At that point you're ready to knit inches and inches of plain sleeve stitches. And - that's exactly what the book tells you to do - so don't worry if you're planning on making this dress in the future. I just didn't grasp it when I first read it. Apologies for the dim photo of that spot on my dress where I quit W&Ting.

And here is the nicely shaped sleeve cap and a little bit of sleeve. The plan is to knit 2 inches of sleeve and then decrease 2 stitches every additional inch of sleeve till I'm at 32 stitches - then do 4 rounds of the smocked pattern as a sleeve cuff treatment. 

Today's MondayMonday photo is to remind me that Practice Makes Perfect.

As for the Life-0-TheQueen, I am still on vacation and it feels weird. It would be different if we were all healthy and active - though BD is doing very very well, my friends, and thank you for your kind wishes. It's just that - it's not the vacation I thought I'd be having and it's not as vacationey feeling. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around what I ought to be doing next - or could be doing - or am allowed to do. The old parental scold, buried deep in my psyche little soul is saying things like "why don't you wash off all the picture frames. They look a little dingy. You have guests. You need to vacuum beneath the refrigerator which also ought to be cleaned before guests look inside. You're here, you lazy thing. you need to werkwerkwerk."

Alas. TheQueen don't do lazy too good. It will be interesting to see how this day unfolds - but for sure - sleeves will be knit!


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