Monday, 5 May 2014

Shawl Collar

   Throughout our relationship I frequently reminded Alex that I couldn't knit him a sweater because of the boyfriend sweater curse. I made him socks several times, but I couldn't do a sweater. It just wasn't worth the risk. After we had been dating a while I started to hint that if we were married, of course, the curse would no longer apply. I even shortened my reminder to no ring, no sweater. Well about a year and a half ago he handed me a little blue box with a ring inside, and for his wedding present I promised him a sweater. I also knew him well enough to know that he would be picky, so I didn't dare try and knit one in secret. I told him he could pick the pattern, then I would knit the sweater.

   After we got back from the honeymoon he went onto Ravelry and picked out a sweater. Of course it was a Brooklyn Tweed pattern, Hugo to be precise. So of course this pattern has to start with a tubular cast on, which I must admit creates a lovely edge, but is a pain in the butt. It is also knit in pieces, something I have been avoiding like the plague since my discovery of the top down seamless sweater. Occasionally I will do a bottom up seamless sweater, but completely separate pieces, with sewing to do afterwards, I guess I really love this guy.

    The one problem Alex had with the sweater was the neck. Rather, he thought the neck on it was ok, but he really wanted a shawl collar. My first thought was, a shawl collar would be simple. I just leave a rectangle shaped hole in the neck, knit a piece of ribbing the right length and seam it down. Piece of cake. But then I looked more closely at on of his favourite shawl collared sweaters, well it had some shaping involved. The collar grew wider as you went from the bottom towards the shoulders, and the ribbed collar piece got wider to fill in the gap, but it also got wider still in order to be able to fold over. So here is what I did:

At the spot where I wanted the collar to start I took the middle 14 sts of the centre panel and on a WS row I knit them making a ridge to mark the edge of the collar. On the next row, when I got to those 14 sts I worked 14 knit front and backs and stopped the row there. I put every alternate st from the 14 knit front backs on a holder with the sts from the unworked side of the front. I continued working the 14 sts in rib, and increasing the rib section by 1 st every RS row. On every 4th row I decreased one stitch on the edge of the rib section, so that the rib moved further away from the centre. When the front was long enough I did the shoulder shaping to match the back, leaving the rib sts live. I kept knitting the rib without increasing until it reached halfway across the back of the neck. I then did the same for the other side reversing the shaping. I grafted the two pieces of rib together, not a perfect grafting in rib specimen, but pretty good. I think all in all the effect is pretty much exactly what I was going for. Check it out:
Here you can see the ridge I made to mark the bottom of the collar:
There is the whole thing, along with my messy worktable.

The yarn is Madelinetosh DK in Whiskey Barrel. 

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