April 03, 2002

1, 2, 3...

I got to the last rows of the front part of my kid's sweater (back is already done), and cast off 9 center stitches so I could shape the neckline, just like the pattern instructed. Then I continued working both sides, using two separate skeins of yarn, because it's easier for me to do it that way instead of finishing one side, and then the other. After I had worked a few rows, binding off stitches over several of them at the center edges to shape the neckline, as well as at the outside edges to shape the shoulders, my little brain chirped out, "Hey, Becky! Count your stitches to make sure that you've been casting off correctly!"

I counted. One stitch short on either side. Lovely.

It didn't take look long for me to realize that I had cast off the wrong number of center stitches to begin with. Yes, the pattern instructed 9 stitches, but that's for a size larger. I should have cast off 7 stitches. Which has only reminded me (once and again, although I rarely listen):

1) To circle in pencil all instructions pertaining to the size I'm knitting when the pattern has ten thousand different sizes. (I didn't do this, because I'm lazy.)

2) Count my stitches, and work ahead mentally the number of stitches that remain to be cast off. (Thankfully, I at least did this, which allowed me to catch my little mistake ahead of time, so the number of rows I had to rip out was less than it would have been if I had not counted, and had just knitted in blissful ignorance to the last row where I would have noticed my mistake for sure. But even though I did notice beforehand, I still had to rip out a couple of rows. Humph.)

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2 comments to this entry:

Ugh -- I hate it when that happens! I have a quick question for you though. I've only done two sweater type things so I am not sure, but is it OK to leave the stitches on a holder instead of binding them off? There will be stitches picked up there later for neckline purposes, right? So why bind them off to begin with? Maybe my simple mind is just confused hehe.
It depends on the pattern. Some require picking up stitches to create a neckline, whereas the patterns I follow (from Phildar) usually require that the garment's neckline be formed by binding off completely (as you can see in the photos of this project). However, stitches aren't picked up at all along the neckline. The pattern calls for the neckline ribbing to be knit as a separate piece, pulled off the needles (without binding off), then sewn to the garment stitch by stitch. It's a bit more tedious and not as quick as picking up stitches, but it really makes for a nicer, more finished looking neckline.

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