Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Hate Purling Fair Isle

There's no help for it-if I want stranded bands on the front and neckline of this sweater (and I do), I have no choice but to knit them back and forth. That means purling Fair Isle, which is a total pain in the butt. It also means reading the chart from right to left, and then left to right. Have I ever mentioned that I have a left-right thing?

I measured 5" down from the upper center steek edge and marked the proper stitch on either side of the steek (for the start of the band- the excess upper fabric will be cut away after the neck band is knit). I picked up 160 sts down the front of the sweater (picking up 1 st per row works pretty well for Fair Isle, though it will need just a tinch of length blocking after I finish), and then worked the green/white border back and forth. A very slow and tedious process, what with trying to remember which way I am supposed to read the damn chart on any given row.

I finished working the border motif, and the picot row, and was working on the solid green facing when I noticed something.

I am not afraid to rip, but lordy, I did not want to rip this band out.

So I didn't. I finished the band, bound it off, and then duplicate stitched the proper color stitches over the boo boos. The fix won't show to any casual observer (though judges will see it, if I enter the sweater in any competitions).

The other band stitches have been picked up, and it's ready to knit. After I get both done, I'll cut the steek, and then sew the facings down, in prep for the sleeve steek placement, shoulder seaming and neck band. Knitting the sleeves will be a piece of cake after all this fiddling.
p.s. isn't Michael Phelps going to have a surprise when he stops swimming 5 hours a day but still wants to eat 10,000 calories at each meal?


Chery said...

I have copied this hint from WendyKnits' Tips From Readers:

from Geane Helfrich:

When doing corrugated or color patterned ribbing front bands on a Fair Isle cardigan, steek it at the bottom and knit it in the round rather than work it back and forth. I put a MC purl stitch on either side of a few steek stitches, cut down the center of that and fold both little steek pieces to the wrong side and catch down with yarn.

If (like Roscalie Cardigan, some Dales) your bands have some colored pattern then a plain MC stockinette stitch facing, by all means stop knitting in the round and go back and forth. You don't need the extra bulk, and the facing will cover up the small steek very

This also kind of helps your bands match exactly the bottom of the cardigan . . . you know how sometimes the band pick-up can be deceiving and you might wind up with an empty space at the very bottom?

====== Sadly, Geane is no longer blogging, I have been unable to find her original article with pictures. Maybe you can stop purling in Fair Isle.

Your sweater is beautiful.

joannamauselina said...

The sweater is certainly amazing. I made a vest with deer or something on it once and I had to do the deer back and forth above the neckline. I could not do it. I too am left/right challenged, plus I depend on seeing the previous row to know where I am at. Anyhow, I figured out just for that sweater, how to knit backwards, and it worked a treat. A little slow, but better than all the cursing with purling. K2P2 ribbing I can manage, but not a design.

Fríða said...

beautiful sweater! but, you don´t have to purl, it´s easy as pie to knit back from the right side. if you are familiar with any of Kaffe Fassett´s books with intarsia patterns, you can look this technique up, he uses it for his intarsia work, and it is of course perfect for that, but I find it works equally well for fair-isle.
best wishes from Iceland

Kathleen Taylor said...

Thanks for the hints, everyone.

You know, I knit back backwards on he heels of all of my socks, but it never occurred to me to try it with stranded work. I'm working on the 2nd front band now and will give it a shot.

knitbysue said...

Your sweater is beautiful. I'm currently working on a stranded colorwork shawl and I knit back backwards instead of purling the wrong side. I like it better than the continental purling that I have to do with two handed purling.
I've had the same thought about Michael Phelps. After his first gold medal he was interviewed as saying 'I need to go get some calories in me'. I thought to myself, 'I bet that boy can eat !!. Some day he'll miss eating whatever quantities he wants.

Allison said...

Either that or Michael will win an award in a few years for the world's largest man.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't been in your blog for awhile. I can't get over that piece you are working on. I emailed it to some friengs. It looks like a Pakistani rug! I love your blog. Thanks for having one!