July 13, 2006

State of the MIL

I know you're wondering if Project MIL has gotten swept to the sidelines while I selfishly bask in the company of the River stole. Have I abandoned my sweet MIL to pursue my own kidsilken pleasures?

MILneckline4572.jpg You can't see the short rows. I've already decimated them.

I have not. I've been working diligently, but there is less of project MIL this week than there was last week, despite my efforts.

It's not good, people, but it will get better.

The MIL was going along swimmingly. I knit the front, back, and sleeves in the course of about three to four hours on Little Knitter,* got everything nicely seamed and bound off, and then proceeded to play around with some crochet edgings on one of the sleeves. Still, as nice as all of this was, I had some nagging doubts involving the neckline, which I had done with short rows.

I am not the strongest swimmer when it comes to short row wraps. I've been known to somehow miscombobulate the wraps as I hide them and end up with ugly, elongated stitches. In my heart of hearts I know that I need to go back to my Vogues and IKs and re-read the short-row tutorials, or head on over to Nona's and see what she has to say. (If Nona can short row, I can too? As an aside, Nona shows us many methods of short-rowing in her tips and techniques - I'm thinking wraps may be a thing of the past!) I know that it is simply a matter of habitually going into the stitches in the wrong manner and that if I commit myself to understanding how the hiding of the wrap works, I will have lovely, hidden short row wraps and never have to worry about this again. I just haven't done it. Yet. (Don't worry, I really will do it this time, I just have to get through some other stuff -see below- first.) The thing is, in this case it wouldn't matter if I were an olympic short rower, because short-rowing doesn't appear to be Little Knitter's strong suit, either.

Moxie: "Even I wouldn't do that much work for my mother." How soon he forgets that he is speaking to a woman who spent five months of her life designing and knitting a sweater for him. Twenty hours on Project MIL? Nuthin'.

I hadn't loved the appearance of the neckline from the start, but for some reason I ignored its ugly presence - most likely believing that I could either do some fancy footwork to correct it, or hide it under the crochet edging in some fit of genius. Let's just say that the genius didn't arrive. It wasn't for lack of trying.

Isn't this a lovely seam? Sob.
So, in a fit of something quite other than genius, I tore the neckline apart. And when I say tore, I do not mean carefully unravelled with forethought and planning. I attacked that neckline and got out all of the negative feelings that I had toward it.

You may be wondering why I was so annoyed. It was, after all, only the neckline, which would seem relatively easy to access and re-knit. It wasn't. I had to get through shoulder seams, armscye seams, and even side seams. Have I mentioned that these seams were perfect? Beautiful? Flawless? I love a good seam, and these were seams, in cotton, which I had meticulously, painstakingly completed.

They are gone.

Even worse, I had decided that it was a good idea to bind off the neckline, cuffs, and body in the round after seaming, for a more perfect edge. So all of the bind-offs had to be taken out and re-bound-off as well. (By the way - if you are thinking of doing this, it's not worth it. It's a lot of trouble if you do need to take a seam out, and it doesn't add much.)

The only thing that I did which saved me some time was leaving the ends loose. I never, I repeat never, weave in the ends of my seaming yarn until a piece is entirely seamed and I have tried it on and am certain that I am happy with it. This is such a great practice and saves me so much grief - 'cause who wants to find an end that they have so carefully hidden? - that it deserves blockquote status.

Initially I put lifelines in below the neckline and those clever shoulder increases and above the armscye decreases, but I'm thinking that those will go and I will instead rework both the front and back in their entirety. Although I can usually count on All Season's Cotton to be free of "issues," this batch had a few tiny areas where some strands of another, darker yarn got incorporated, and they are noticable to the discerning (read: MIL's) eye. We can't have that. Previous to the neckline debacle I was considering grafting. Now I will simply cut out the offending areas and re-knit. Stay tuned.

*Marnie's term of endearment for her lovely knitting machine.

Posted by Julia at July 13, 2006 06:34 AM
In machine knitting | main | project MIL


Those really are clever shoulder increases--I don't blame you for not wanting to rip them out.

Posted by: Smokey at July 14, 2006 06:45 AM

I've been knitting BF's socks, and I've tried all 3 of Nona's short rows, but I still went back to the original short row wrapping. What I found was that after turning a row, I slip the next stitch, and continue with knitting. No holes. BF hasn't complained of any tightness around the ankles, so I guess it worked!

Was wondering who the Little Knitter was. What a handy thing to have!

Posted by: MJ at July 13, 2006 10:45 AM

Thanks for the encouragement, guys! Maybe I mis-stated the problem. I can short row, and I do it all the time, but for things like sweater shoulders where you need to hide the wraps, I have to sit with Vogue's Ultimate Guide open on my lap to make things look nice. It's stupid, because I don't need a book open to kitchener, but for some reason I haven't made myself remember how to do it without instructions. I am definitely checking out Nona's Japanese short rows - very exciting!

Posted by: Julia at July 13, 2006 09:49 AM

Julia, It's worth the time to learn. I now love short rowing, where before it was such a mystery to me. I went to IK and Vogue, and they really simplify it. Good luck!

Posted by: Leslie at July 13, 2006 09:21 AM

Wow. I'm sort of with Moxie. At least you'll come away with a nice new skill set. You CAN short row. Absolutely you can.

Posted by: Cara at July 13, 2006 08:49 AM

Absolutely agree about not weaving in the ends until you're 100% sure there will be no ripping. Also want to cast my vote for Nona's tutorial on Japanese short rows. Don't be freaked by the safety pins, they are just training wheels. After the first couple of times, you can omit them.

Such a treat to have new Julia posts.

Posted by: jpt at July 13, 2006 08:29 AM