August 26, 2004

Me no like neckband seams.

Oh, give us a neckband, already.
[Please, click here for a BIGGER view.]

Well, I've got the makings for a wee Phildar tank right here, friends. All I need to finish it up is seam the sides. And how about all those ends hanging out??? Looking at them makes me want to forego weaving altogether and just hack at them madly with some scissors while I laugh an evil laugh.

But not before I give those tank pieces a neckband! Here at Casita Skinny Rabbit, we don't mind doing things backwards if it facilitates finishing. [Oooh...such a little knitting rebel!] Instead of joining the side seams first, I decided to join the pieces at the top by giving them a neckband first. A no sew, no picking up stitches, no backstitch, just plain ole knitted-on kinda neckband with free edges for the shoulders and with the added bonus of having shaping on the front neck.

[Footnote: Yes, I know the pattern calls for sewing on the neckband using the free-loop backstitch technique. And it's no secret that I ADORE sewing on neckbands using free-loop backstitch, and pretty much shout out the window to my neighbors that nearly all of my son's sweaters have neckbands sewn on using the fabuloso free-loop backstitch method. But! I do not like it for this tank simply because I want the free edges at the armholes and neckband to be joined as invisibly as possible and I do not want a neckband seam. If I were doing the sweater version with the sleeves, however, I'd probably use the backstitch method for sewing on the neckband. End of incredibly long footnote.]

In short, I want my neckband to look like this:

Well, whaddaya know, it is the neckband!

Look, Ma! No seam!
[You wanna see it inside out? Sure you do.]
[P.S. Click me for the snapshots!]

Here you have it. Skinny Rabbit's no sew, no picking up stitches, no backstitch, just plain ole knitted-on kinda neckband with free edges for the shoulders for her Phildar debardeur 4b. With the added bonus of still being able to have shaping on the front neck! Now all I have to do is seam the sides and weave in the ends and I've got a tank.

Neckband ingredients: Short rows. Leaving open stitches on back and front pieces. Buttonloop cast-on*, cable cast-on or knitted cast-on. Short circular needle. A free evening. The movie Ice Age in the DVD player**. One pair of comfy jammies.

Neckband procedure: For the front piece, instead of binding off the stitches for neck shaping as instructed in the pattern, work short rows. (Wrap stitches in order to avoid holes.) After working the last short row, leave stitches on stitch holder. For the back piece, there is no neck shaping. Simply leave stitches of back piece on a stitch holder. Note: Do not cut working yarn of back piece. This is the yarn used to work the neckband, so make sure there is sufficient yarn for it.

Using a short circular needle, work across all stitches of BACK piece. At end of row, and using any of the cast-on methods recommended, cast on amount of stitches required in pattern for shoulder, plus one. Then, join to FRONT piece by working across all stitches of front piece, hiding short row wraps. At end of row, cast on same number stitches as for back piece. Join, place stitch marker, and work neckband in the round. Bind off. And you just know that I have a few snapshots for you, right?

Margaritas for everyone!

*I used the buttonloop cast on. Reference: Monste Stanley's Knitter's Handbook, my favorite knitting book of all time. One can find notes re short rows AND wrapping stitches there, as well.

**I cried at about 5 different scenes of Ice Age, including the closing scene. It's official: I am turning into a movie sap.

P.S. On an entirely different note, it's been happy snail mail days around here lately! I received the Novita knitting book from Finland as a gift from Iris, some Tahki Cotton Classic as a gift from Jenny, and some NASA [!] goodies from Heather. WOW. Check it all out here!

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42 comments to this entry:

Becky, you are so lucky. I really envy you this tank!! I'd love to make it, I've printed out the pattern and all. But I don't understand a word of french, so that's it. Guess I'll just have to admire your's instead. Looking forward to seing you dancing in it!

Becky - I LOVE your knittng - you are really talented. I am writing with a plea for help - I cannot get my Carla to look right! Can I email you a picture or two, then can you tell me what you think is wrong with my stitch pattern?? I feel like a really stupid knitter, even though I know I'm not. I just cannot get this pattern to work for me!
Thanks! Jackie

Hmmmm . . . I bought that Phildar book earlier this summer specifically to make that tank (which I haven't yet). It's official: I'm a Becky-wannabe!

Great looking neckband! I've been wanting to make a tank like that with raglan armhole openings and a neckband that goes all the way around. I'll have to look at the pattern more closely to see if I can use your cool invisible neckband method! Thanks for the helpful pix! :)

Do you do hand exercises? You must! Back to back knitting non-stop. You go girl. I wish I could make Phildar patterns but I have way too much on my plate to learn French too. :(

That neckband looks GREAT, and makes me wish I had done the same thing on my tank. What a smart gal you are. Can't wait to see the dancing shots.

okay wow.. it is totally insane how fast you knit. I love the way you explain things and reference books, keep it up for us more newbie knitters!! I am always inspired reading your entries!

Yeah! It looks great and inspires me to get it on the needles myself. I was actually avoiding it since I didn't like the neckline. Thank you for sharing your techniques.

LOVE that tank! I can totally related to wanting to hack at the evil ends with scissors...I have an unfinished striped blanket that just needs the edging crocheted, along with weaving in approximately 147,000 ends. *sobs*

I laughed so hard when I saw that sticker from Heather...or I would have if I wasn't in a "first-thing-in-the-morning-and-my-brain-is-still-in-bed-coma." But I was laughing *very* hard inside my head!

Hi Becky--

I'm a new reader to your blog! And I'm hooked. And I strive to knit like you.

My first attmept to follow in your footsteps is to try the Rebecca cardi you wear (and have knit!) so well.

Thanks for all the great writing, tutoring, and good cheer. You're an inspiration. I just wish you don't live so far across the pond!


Beautiful job on the tank...but where's the pic of you modeling her? Please, I want to see it!
When I make that, I might try your version of it. Such a great idea! Thanks for all the info!! :-)

It's like neckband one minute...whoosh...skinny rabbit neckband the next! It's like Vegas in here baby. Interesting technique my dear.

Neckband tutorial with my coffee this can't get any better!

It looks great...I think it's going to be very cute on...yeah! where is da dancing rabbit I hold so dear...

Glad Captain enjoyed the goodies...he is sooo cute...see...he makes me wish for a boy...vroom vroom!

Tell Le Hub I am glad he thought g.w.muggle was a hoot too...I have had the most popular cubicle in the last week or still makes me laugh.

Ahh... the wonders of short rows... I have been so tempted by that darn tank, but keep resisting. It's hard when you see something you like made so well by so many!

Me no like neckband seams either! Little tank looks just great ( as did the cardigan from your last entry). Very cute knitting!

Hi Becky,
I, like Jessica, am so inspired by you! I have been reading your blog for a while, but this morning's entry compelled me to write. Thank you for giving hope to a self-taught knitter like me. Never mind that I have NO access to any of the yarns or books you speak of. If I could make my first ever purchase over the internet (Bottoms Up!) thanks to you, can yarn and books be far behind? Luv,Kathen

Well now! I go away for a week and look at all that I missed! Your Apricot jacket looks lovely- very vintage siren sexy... I totally agree about the flouncy skirt!
The neckband for your tank is very clever. Thank goodness you're around to share! Makes me think I might be able to come up with the nifty alterations to make my knits more unique... And hey- with my new found *car knitting* (whee! it works!!) I just might be able to keep up with the output, too! :)

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Helene: On my links page I have a link to a site that shows French knitting terms. This is a very straightforward pattern; I bet you could work through it using that page as a guide.

Wendy: I'd love to see you knit this tank. (You could probably crank it out in a few hours with your magic speed racer knitting fingers.)

Eilene and Heather: The tank isn't finished yet! I've yet to seam the sides and weave in all the ends. I'll get to that soon so that I can share some finished tank/dancing pictures.

Jessica and Kathryn: Welcome, and thank you for such nice comments. They're much appreciated and are very rewarding. P.S. to Kathryn: I'm a self-taught knitter, too. Keep at it! (And if you knit a bucket hat, feel free to share a picture of it. I'd love to see it.)

Sarah: Welcome back from your trip, and viva car knitting! :-)

I've been off the blogwagon for a few days and what do I posts on fluffa! It's like Christmas. You are such a fine knitter. And as always, an inspiration.

Supersmart Neckband! You MYKU, you. Glad you like the yarn. Polka purl dots would be great! Let me know ASAP if it isn't enough yardage ;-)

Becky - Stop! (no, don't really stop) Your knitting is awesome!!! I finally have a bucket hat picture, which I will send to you ASAP.

Love the tank - very cool and very fast.

Short rows!! Acck!! They scare me so, but they make such a pretty pretty neckband...I might have to dive in. You are such a whiz at this stuff. And HOW cute is the Cappy in those pictures?

hack baby, hack! =)
as for the neckline, just Perfect! it's looking lovely, can't wait to see you model it. really are a "bad ass" knitter! Changing patterns here, altering them there, you rock!!! The tank looks awesome!

Awesome Tank! Wow! And thanks for sharing your helpful hints with us!

brilliant! that neckband is flawless. i'll have to try that method. what a wonderful idea. thanks for all the resources and tips that are soooo very helpful and clear. and those a great gifts from the mail bag. and your little guy is adorable in those pics.

Ahh!!! The idea of doing the neckband that way very, very vaguely floated around in my head but I didn't have the gumption to go ahead and figure it out. Too bad I finished mine just a few days ago, if only I'd procrastinated like I usually do and saw this method instead! Sigh.

Becky that is a great looking neckband! I made the same sweater but I am a relatively beginning knitter and stalled out at the neckband because I just didn't know what to do. Your pics look great--someday I will tear it out and do it over. Don't you just love Ice Age? I might need to rent it this weekend...

Really cool post - it's like a knitting class! I love the tank and the instructions for your neckband. Weirdly, while I was halfway through reading I thought I really must find out which techniques book you recommend so I can try out some more sophisticated finishing.... scrolled down a bit further and there it was, plain as day! It's like you read my mind.... spooky!

Hey knitting rebel! You did it again: came up with something better than the pattern.

Seeing the cool stuff people send you was how I came up with the idea of sending you some Finnish stuff. People from Novita magazine send their greetings and compliments on your great blog.

Brilliant. I should bookmark this page to come back to when I'm ready to try this technique myself! Oh wise skinny rabbit, teach us more!

Becky, you really are inspirational.

I was working on the "bpt" hoodie from using Auracania (sp?) Nature Wool. It's a hand-dyed look, so I was alternating two skeins. The pattern is a top-down raglan, so when I started down the first sleeve I was using two skeins of yarn, five double pointed needles, and wrestling with an entire wool sweater. I thought I would go insane.

So I thought to myself: what would Becky do? I know! I knitted the second sleeve all by itself, and then GRAFTED it to the live stitches on holders on the main body of the sweater! Now, I know I should have used a provisional cast on for that second sleeve, but I was out of town and had no references, so I just knitted two rows of st st at the top of the sleeve, then cut and unravelled it when I was ready for the grafting. And: you can't tell which sleeve is which!

I owe you for: (a) the nerve to do it; and (b) your terrific photo spread when you altered the length of your stripey sweater so it would match the sleeves. I printed it out and literally worked with it laid out in front of me when I did the grafting. Voila! I swear, it looks like I knew what I was doing.


Can I just say, you are one talented woman. I am always lusting for all your FO's and you see, to whip them out with ease. I especially like this Very cool neckline! Thanks so much for taking the time to put a mini-tutorial!

Ice age is wonderful! I wish I'd had my knitting with me when I saw it.

Your neckband looks wonderful. Can I ask what type of bind-off you used? It doesn't look like a sewn bindoff of any type, but I can't be sure.

Ooh, I love the neckband! And you're making me want to see Ice Age.

Thanks! I'm glad that some of you are finding the photos and tips useful, and to MaryB: I cannot begin to describe how good it makes me feel to know that I've encouraged you to try something new. You GO! :-)

Rowena: I simply bound off in pattern, so that it would match the cast-on edge. I save sewn bind-offs for tubular edges (like the neckband on the gray cable sweater I knit for my husband last winter).

Dear Becky, let me say that you are soooooo talented. I know, I am not the first one telling this :-) But I have to! Your tank looks wonderful - and the Rebecca! It was fun knitting it, wasn't it? I loved it.
I wish you a wonderful sunday, hear from you soon!

I've been relegated to a knitting spectator these days -- I just got a new dog! But I've gotten lots of quality voyeuristic knitting pleasure from you, as always. Lovely tank!

Your beautiful tank is such an inspiration! I've been working on my translation of this tank and I'm doing pretty well until I get to the directions for the raglan decrease section.

Dear Becky,
I'm lost for words. I've not yet fully 'recovered' from your simply awesome Jacke and now the beautiful tank. Your knitting is great and the technique is just superb! Thanks for sharing!

Looking at all those bothersome ends, and then looking at the pattern, it occurs to me...couldn't this one be knit in the round up to the armholes? Wouldn't that solve the problem?

It is an absolutely wonderful, inspiring tank. Thanks!

Hey, I'm just dropping a note to say THANK YOU! So I finished this tank right before you posted about how you altered the neckband on yours and afterwards it just kept niggling at me that my neckband wouldn't stay flat and was too last night, to delay reading the chapter in my bio book (I'm in college right now) I decided to finally take out the tank and redo the neck.

It was so much less painful than I thought it would be! And ultimately, I LOVE it now! I have a few other projects from the past year that are just kind of like this is the first big project that I really like and would wear often. Thank you so much for inspiring me to do that, I feel like I've made a big step in my knitting path, lol.

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