The Adventure of the Transparent Excuse to Show You More Pictures of My Adorable Dog, Part Six
For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.
For the first part of this adventure, click here.
So, at last, the moment of truth.
Snip, snip, snip, went the steeks. Like a beautifully de-boned chicken, Rosamund’s new sweater lay open on the table.
In this shot, the live stitches along the underside of the tummy, which had been held on scrap yarn, have been transferred to a short (8-inch) Addi Turbo circular needle.
After turning under and whip stitching the halves of the bridges…
…it was time for the first try-on. The moment of truth.
Celebratory cookies all around.
While I was doing my victory dance, Rosamund wandered off to chew on Mr. Happy Fuzzy Pumpkin (now the late Mr. Happy Fuzzy Pumpkin), still wearing the sweater. As she is recently turned two years old and therefore officially a dog teenager, that is her way of saying, “Oh, my dear Papa! Your loving generosity thrills me through and through! To think that I, a dog of humble origins, am now favored with made-to-measure handknits! I adore you and am so grateful.”
At length, a discreet bribe of two more peanut butter cookies allowed me to retrieve the work-in-progress so that I might apply the finishing touches.
First, the forelegs each got about two inches of simple knit 2, purl 2 rib worked on stitches picked up and knit on four double-pointed needles. I could have done them on an eight-inch addi Turbo circular needle, but the double-pointed needles were close to hand and the circular needle was All The Way Over There. You know how it is.
Next, the turtleneck. I love how Rosamund looks in a turtleneck, and she seems to appreciate the warmth.
This was done on a short circular needle after picking up and knitting stitches through the cast-on edge, in more knit 2, purl 2 rib.* Of course, I could have done the turtleneck first as part of the body. So why do it afterwards? Because I am still new at fitting Rosamund, and wanted to hedge my bets. Had the body once again come out low at the shoulders, I could have camouflaged it with an even taller turtleneck.
I’ve learned by watching Rosamund live in her first sweater that I needed to stitch that turtleneck edge down after folding or it would be forever unrolling. I took a few stitches at each of six points spaced evenly around the neckline. I think this will hold the collar nicely without sacrificing stretch. If not, I’ll try something else.
The last step was a bit of edging all around the lower edge of the tummy (those stitches shown above, waiting on the short circular needle) and the three sides of the rear flap.
The flap was particularly in need of further attention as the two final ridges of garter did nothing to stop it from curling up.
I ought to have foreseen this, I know, and worked more garter stitch at the tush end to begin with; but I’ll know better next time.
Also from a purely aesthetic perspective, the edges of the flap where the bridge halves had been turned under still looked naked . It’s rare to leave any steek untrimmed, because no matter how neatly you work that newly-created selvedge is always a bit wonky.
The tummy stitches didn’t need more than four rows (so, two ridges) of garter stitch to finish them off.
The flap I decided to handle this way: pick up and knit stitches along this path on a circular needle…
…and work in flat garter stitch for about four ridges (that’s eight rows).
And at the tush end, I thought it would be nice to curve the trim by throwing in some short rows.
Short rows have a reputation for being complex, but I can never quite understand why. A short row is–as the name suggests–no more than a row in which you stop and turn your work before all the stitches have been knit. There are many (many) ways of dealing with the holes that develop at the turning points, but those methods aren’t complicated once you understand what is to be done.
Garter stitch short rows are even simpler, because you don’t do anything at the turning point but turn. I kid you not. You get holes, yes. But the tendency of garter stitch ridges to pull together in the finished fabric means the holes won’t show up unless you’re working at quite a loose gauge.
So this was the path of the knitting at the end of the flap.
That’s just one short ridge, but it was enough to give the end of the flap a gentler, curved shape; and the additional garter stitch eliminated the curl.
With all complete, we put the sweater back on and stepped outside on an unseasonably pleasant day for the official test drive.
The sun was brilliant, the wind was sharp. I was elated to find that the high relief of the garter borders–the fabric that you, dear readers, told me to use–caught the shadows beautifully.
The HiKoo® Simpliworsted was warm and comfortable enough that we were able to enjoy the garden–even in its drab winter disarray–long enough for a much-needed frolic and breath of air before returning indoors for a celebratory cookie.
It’s tough to express how much I’ve come to love this yarn–a pleasure to work with, lovely to look at, and durable enough to survive on a dog who expresses her love of nature by rolling around in it.
So, I’m calling this adventure a success. If you’ll please join me in two weeks, there will be something entirely new to play with.
Meanwhile, Rosamund says thank you very much to all of you for helping with her sweater.
*Is there a stitch in all of knitting more interminable than knit 2, purl 2 rib? Working those five inches of turtleneck felt like climbing Everest on a pogo stick.
Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue
Simpliworsted by HiKoo® (55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon; 140 yds per 100g skein). Colors: 033, Red Hat Purple; and 013, Violette.
addi® Turbo circular needle
Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.
He travels constantly to teach knitters
at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has
been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue
Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and
the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.
Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.
He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon,
one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).
Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with
15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of
yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.