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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Finish Before You Start!

Last night I  had a revelation while I was seaming a sweater I had knitted last spring: I had not been thinking at all about how the sweater would be finished! I came to this conclusion while trying to disguise the knots and bunches as I joined the pieces. Happily, it's just a "cottage" sweater - one I whipped up (thanks to SweaterWizard) out of  two strands of Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends  in a a gorgeous pale crystal-blue shade. It's  fairly reasonably priced but knits up like a more high-end yarn. Unfortunately, it's not given much love on Ravelry. There are many complaints about the shedding of the yarn. I haven't had any problem with it - not that I've noticed.

Anyway - back to my original topic of thinking about the finished item before you even cast-on. Somewhere between the knitting of the above sweater and my more recent items, I learned the power of a good selvage stitch. I knit the first stitch in the row through the back of the stitch, then slip the last stitch purl-wise. It gives a lovely edge that I've learned is a cinch to seam and looks particularly nice when done.
This is also important - regardless of what the directions say, when increasing or decreasing, do it in the second, or in the next-to-the-last stitch in the row, respectively. I failed to do that with the above sweater and I am dealing with damage-control now!
Of course, the most essential arsenal in your finishing locker is swatching. Swatch not only for your gauge but also to test stitches and edges. If you've become accustomed to more high-end yarns, this will become your mantra, believe me. No one wants to bugger up a ball of cashmere for lack of planning. On a side note to swatching, if you've got a special project on deck, it's fun and gratifying to get right in there with the yarn and let it wind through your fingers as you drink wine and mindlessly knit up a swatch in front of a cozy fire, dog in lap. (*Insert mental image here*)


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  2. I certainly need to take your advice . . . but it doesn't really worry me right now, as the wool for ALL THREE of my sweater projects is still just sitting here! Time to get busy! Let's have a knitting date.