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Don’t Stand and Watch

Dear Kay,
Top Tennis Tip #2 from my spring break tennis experience: “Constant Movement: Hit and move—don’t stand and watch.”
I am beginning to think that tennis and knitting are the same thing. The same motions repeated over and over. The thrill of a decent serve; the agony of a bad bind-off. The blisters! The backbiting! The bad calls!
Speaking of bad calls . . . I mulled the bind-off situation for the Diminishing Rib Cardigan. (See yesterday’s post if you’re just joining us for this thrilling drama.) It became obvious that I couldn’t just stand around and watch the thing. So I took heed of the comments so generously given to me–to rip out the bind-off I’d finished and return to the tubular bind-off specified in the pattern. All you armchair knitting life coaches: you knew I wanted to rip the thing out, didn’t you? I just needed your support.
Last night, with Hilary Mantel’s very grimy novel Wolf Hall coming out of my computer (16th-century London! Stanky–they certainly could have benefited from a few Air Wick® Hidden PleasuresTM Nite LightTM Scented Oils), I commenced to following Top Tennis TIp #2: Constant movement!
Here’s a photo of the first attempt–a k2tog, return stitch on right needle to the left, repeat to end.
Terrible, now that I look at it! Ech! Begone! Off came this original bind-off, with a certain manhandling of the snarly mohair stitches.
I actually left the sweater on my desk for hours, with all these stitches just DANGLING there:
You’re looking at k1, p1 just wantonly, irresponsibly left out in the plain air. One misplaced cat could have blown out the whole thing. I shudder.
Since I’ve already dragged you into into the deep on this–tubular bind-off is a laborious yet elegant way to finish a ribbed edge. You divide the stitches onto two needles, the knits on one, the purls on another. When you join these two batches of stitches together with Kitchener stitch, the result is an edge that magically goes from front to back in an uninterrupted column of knit stitches.
In came the tubular bind-off, with a critical, obvious change in technique that you all suggested in such unscornful tones: shorter lengths of yarn. I didn’t use 12 feet of yarn to do this sewn Kitchener. I canNOT beLIEVE I didn’t think of using shorter lengths of yarn, spit-spliced together. I’ve been spit-splicing throughout this sweater. I MEAN REALLY.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat: when doing something tedious and potentially soul-sucking, say, a line of Kitchener equivalent to 35 sock toes, an audiobook takes the edge right off. Not only did I get through the bind-off, I’m now deep in stanky, vivid Henry VIII intrigue.
The result:
Is this actually better? I dunno. It’s what the designer Andrea Pomerantz intended. It’s going to be great when it matches the tubular cast-on at the neckline, someday. If I can get the curly foldy neckline problem fixed.
Kind of like my backhand. It’s going to be great. Right?
PS Many thanks, you guys, for introducing me to Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. SO COOL. It creates a wicked stretchy, resilient edging. If you really want to feel like you’ve had a cup of coffee with a knitting genius explaining another knitting genius’s technique, watch Cat Bordhi take you through this bind-off here. In fact, if you click on that link, you will find yourself in a rabbit hole of Cat Bordhi’s instructional videos. An AMAZING trove. SOLID GOLD.

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  1. The new bind-off looks great! So much better than the K2tog Poor Relation.
    I’m glad the other commentors had helpful tips. When I read yesterday about Kitchenering with a 12′ long piece of yarn, I was all, “oh HAY-ELL to the NO! Just bind that sucker off and move on with your life!”
    Which would have been significantly less helpful than the spit-splicing advice you got from knitters who are obviously made of sterner stuff than I.

  2. I did my bind-off in rib, and moved on to the sleeves. Also ran a line of crochet around the collar, which is much the better for it. (Trying to decide whether it needs another line of crochet, and where that line would go.) I’ve discovered that the bamboo yarn I’m using for this sweater does.not.like tubular ANYTHING.
    But it looks nice on yours! Padmae is clearly down with tubular treatment.

  3. My sister just gave me her Diminishing Rib because it was too big for her. The neck really isn’t well behaved. I always prefer a bit of a v, so I am going to head over to my vintage store and see if I can find some cool cuff links to tack the corners back. The applied i cord looks so neat that the wrong side looks great too…

  4. See where Wolf Hall gets you! It’s wonderful, isn’t it?

  5. And not only do you have a new bindoff, the sweater turned brown in the process! Must have been those few hours basking in the light of the desklamp. Or possibly the stanky.

  6. Ann – Thank you so much for sending me to the rabbit hole of Cat’s awesome videos. This woman is an international treasure. Please tell me you have seen this one:

    HAAA!!! I love it. I wish I had that much energy. I think I’ll knit while seated, but the pointers were helpful, as always.
    Nice cardigan!!

  7. I just wanted to chime in on the wonderfulness of Wolf Hall. Magnificent book. And she’s writing a sequel!

  8. You were safe with those loose sts…you can’t really undo ribbing very well, some, yes, can ravel, but not too much….besides, it’s mohair. It won’t ravel, even when you don’t want it to, more than a few sts here and there, anyway! 😉

  9. Thanks Ann, now I have the Solid Gold theme song running through my head.

    You tube link at your own peril.

  10. I’ve done the recommended tubular bind-off on objects past, and – while it is a bit nerve-abrading in the execution – it produces a really lovely finish. I’m knitting the Diminishing Rib Cardigan even as we speak, and you have given me an ideal of craftsmanship to which I can aspire. (Also, sometimes it’s just better to give up and follow the directions. Hard to accept, but there it is!)

  11. Here’s to your beautiful bind off! And to Wolf Hall, too! (Never can get me enough of those Tudors. . .)

  12. You did the right thing. It looks great with tubular.

  13. I am a famous non-swearer on the nursing unit with creative non-cursing, but I must be the John McEnroe of knitters. I do recommend you place a warning before showing us such disturbing photos as all the stitches n*a*k*e*d. I was eating while reading your post! Good return on that difficult cast off serve plus you can righteously brag that you have read the newest lit.

  14. Well it was certainly worth pulling it out. It looks great and what a wonderful way to bind off – I adore Kitchener stitch for socks – just so neat and so clever – what a fabulous way to bind off. I shall look for opportunities to give it a go! Love the cardigan – just one question – in most of the photos it looked grey – in the last one it’s much more brown. Which is the real color?

  15. The sweater is looking good & even better. Wolf Hall was the winner of the Morning News tournament of books – sort of a road to the final 4 for books – http://www.themorningnews.org/tob/

  16. Oh, yes. You made the correct decision. Second bind-off is SO much better!

  17. *sigh* I love the way you chat about knitting. So entertaining. The bind off is beautiful and even though difficult to execute, well worth the result.

  18. Beautiful! SO glad you bit the bullet and forged ahead! It’s always that first committal step that’s the doozie isn’t it? Also it changed your sweater back to that lovely warm brown! 😉 (Isn’t it weird how that happens?!) The sweater is looking great!

  19. It looks A-MAZING!
    I almost knit that sweater a while back, I can’t wait to see you modeling it!

  20. What COLOR is this sweater? Grey? Brown? Rust? The edge is fabulous. Kudos to you for ripping it out then re-doing the whole thing. I would have just worn it and tugged it straight. I didn’t dare weigh in on the comments yesterday.

  21. Love the look of the new bind-off. Designer was right in this case. Also loved Wolf Hall. Am eagerly anticipating the sequel, when the really bloody stuff starts to happen.

  22. Totally tubular…and beautiful!

  23. Your tubular bind-off is absolutely stunning! I’m so glad you did it for me to see, as I may never ascend to those heights myself. But I’ll put this pattern in my queue just in case.

  24. Now I LOVE how the bound off edge looks!

  25. Love the drama of stitches just hanging there. Great save!

  26. I too love the new edge. Just looking at the visuals of South Beach architecture…great knitting patterns!

  27. Your great looking new bind-off does give that professionally finished look that I hope to achieve one day – so a wonderful inspiring post plus a book recommendation – two for the price of one! and now I’m off to my library’s website to order the book. Trying to stop buying books so I can buy more knitting things…

  28. Actually I think the new bind off is much better.
    Good work, now I have to go look up that audiobook!

  29. Thank you for this insperation. I finnaly knitting a sweater for my husband but could not get the collar to lay flat with any bind off that I tried (like a million) and have since thrown it in a corrner and refuse to give it to him, but I have not yet tried this one.

  30. I admire your desire for perfection – the bind off looks wonderful, and I can’t imagine else from you!
    Great Job!

  31. Oh, Ann! It’s WAYYYY better! You are a Good Person doing the Right Thing.

  32. Sorry to be late to the party, but Padmae’s co-contributor to the yarn was Shadrach.


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