“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

The Wrestler

Dear Kay,
At this point, this Rowan Pearl sweater has turned into something akin to backyard wrestling. I’m totally punch drunk, just adding flaps of stuff wherever the pattern tells me to, whacking the thing with a folding chair. I’m in the twelfth round with this sweater. At any moment, I’m getting out the staple gun and the barbed wire.
For those keeping track, the collar took a whole ball of Rowan Wool Cotton, once I started cranking the reverse stockinette lining on size 2s. There’s, like, a sock’s worth of stitches in there. It’s knitting that only I will ever know is there. Once it’s folded down inside and stitched into place, it’ll just be some extra secret bonus knitting that gives maximum Elvis verticality to the collar. And I am not persuaded at this point that this collar is going to be my kind of thing. But now that it’s integrally built into this sweater, I will have a nice long time to get used to it.
pearlcollarinterface.jpg
I did a knitter’s veto on the button bands. Kim Hargreaves suggested that I work two 7-stitch-wide button bands, to be stitched into place slightly stretched, which is a direction that you and I have discussed so often it’s right up there with the sound-of-one-hand-clapping philosophical debate. Never having figured out how much stretching is the right amount, I diverted to the method that has been working for me recently: picking up stitches along the edge and knitting the band out from the edge. This works so well that I want to write Kim Hargreaves and plead with her to cease and desist from this slight-stretching school of button bands. Whipstitching a seven-stitch wide band into place, slightly stretched, is no picnic.
pearlbuttonband2.jpg
This all means that I have officially finished the knitting portion of Pearl. Seaming, sleeve setting, and buttons are all that remain.
pearlbuuttonband1.jpg
I have an ooky feeling about how all those ribs are going to align or not when I stitch this thing up.
Love,
Ann

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51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. So do you knit the button band out after you pick up all the stitches, or do you pick up one stitch at a time as you work up the 7 stitch width?
    Gorrrrgeous cabley goodness!

  2. rowan wool cotton is one of my most favorite yarns. What a beautiful sweater, it is a trophy-knit.

  3. Don’t feel ooky! I bet those ribs will line up just the way they were meant to. Pin the pieces together first to align them properly, then seam away, removing pins as you go. But why am I telling you? You’ve got the chops. The sweater looks great, too– Elvis-tastic, in fact.

  4. Love those button bands! (and I couldn’t agree more with the “stitching slightly stretched” thing — it’s enough to make you run screaming from the room!)
    I think this is going to be an awesome thing when complete — can’t wait to see you model it!

  5. Hi Shannon!
    I picked up 122 stitches along the edge, picking up 3 or 4, then skipping one, so that the result is, uh, slightly stretched. If you pick up stitches one for one, then the band ends up too ruffly.
    Then I worked six long rows in seed stitch, then cast off.

  6. Either the ribs will match and look natty, or they’ll be offset and look asymmetrical, which I hear is all the rage these days. You’re covered regardless!

  7. I felt slightly queasy when you mentioned button bands, I’ve just sewn on what will be my last for years, if not forever. They took longer to knit than the rest of the cardigan because I hated them so much. They look pants too, despite me doing them twice.

  8. I like that “seaming, sleeve setting, and buttons are all that remain.” For you, that might mean we’ll see this baby in action in a few days. For me… next year would be likely! Also, my ribs (no, the sweater’s ribs!) would be all loose and flompy after a wearing or two. Yours looks so nice and textural and lovely! Big sigh…

  9. “Seaming, sleeve setting, and buttons are all that remain.” Oh, well, that’s ALL then. No worries. Done by dinner! (Eeeesh, sleeve setting.)
    The opening paragraph, that sums up my feeling on seaming so well, especially the part about beating it with a folding chair. Oh, yes, indeed. Thanks for that.
    One last thing… A WHOLE BALL OF YARN IN THE COLLAR??!!??? HOLY CRAP!!!! …okay. I think I’m over it. Maybe. Might need more exclamation marks.

  10. I have an ooky feeling that on the completed sweater those ribs are going to look like… ribs. (Like one of those T-shirts with the rib cage on it…?)

  11. Does the OOKY feeling mean you thinkt the cables are going to be WONKY?

  12. Those cables and ribs are looking fabulous. I can’t wait to see it all together…

  13. looks great. Can’t wait to see it all done.

  14. oh, silly Kim H! I made one of her sweaters too, and knitting that damn button band was just stupid. I’m with you on picking up and knitting.
    Your sweater looks great!! can’t wait to see photos of you modeling it!!

  15. The cables look great!

  16. I LOVE IT!! I LOVE THE BUTTON BAND AND THE COLLAR AND THE CABLES, AND ALL THE STUFF YOU ARE SO SICK OF. IT IS BEAUTIFUL IN ALL OF IT’S OOKY GOODNESS.
    CAN I BORROW IT?
    SARA IN AL

  17. What a beautiful and elegant sweater! I am glad you dragged it out of the closet hideaway and finished it so we could see it.
    I love the Elvis-y collar. Hope you do, too!

  18. I’m confident you’ll make those cables behave!

  19. that is a very lovely sweater i love the cableing nice

  20. I’m over here looking for the “agree” button re: slightly stretched button bands! Worst idea EVAR.

  21. WOW!!! frame it…..and hang it on the wall!

  22. This sweater is just intriguingly beautiful. I couldn’t wear it but you’re slim and I can totally see you looking very sophisticated in one of your Rowan-esque poses. Lovely. I’m curious why they want reverse stockinette on the inside of the collar rather than regular stockinette. Do you know why? Anyway, it’s a beautiful job done very well!

  23. Your picked-up button bands look to be a rousing success. On to the seaming!

  24. True confession time. You guys read Ann saying wonderful things because I love big really big nice blanket things and little baby knits and hats and purses and what nots. Sweater construction is a nightmare. I confess I moved into my current house in 2002 and found in a bag a nicely knit really almost done size 6 sweater from Vogue like 1984 from when I fit into a size 6 that got put in that bag because of the seaming, sleeve setting and rest of that jazz. Ann Shayne is my hero. Just saying.

  25. Keep the faith, baby – you can do it!

  26. I am so totally with you on that “slightly stretched” business.

  27. though the thought of seaming makes me queasy, i think it will be worth it – can’t wait to see the finished sweater!

  28. i am knitting a little garment
    for guideposts and i have dropped
    stitches and ripped back
    no buttons thankfully
    its handsome surely is
    garments do look different
    on then when flat on the bed
    we shall see i hope

  29. beautiful sweater, beautiful snaps!
    Are you going to miss this project when it’s done?

  30. Of course all button bands should either be knitted along with the main body or picked up. What is with this sewing on cr*p?
    As for the ooky feeling, chill. It will be fabu. Please model the sweater when complete and let us know if Elvis has left the building.

  31. It looks beautiful!! Can’t wait to see the finished product. I agree with you about the front bands-I much prefer the method that requires the least amount of sewing. I doubt that Ms Hargreaves does the finishing on her model garments either. Great job!!!

  32. I’m staring down one of those sewn-on-slightly-stretched Rowan button-bands myself right now, trying to decide if it’s worth it. Good for you for sticking to your guns. :)

  33. that is looking sooooo beautiful already!!!

  34. The sweater is Wrestlemania-worthy. You have clearly met the challenge and conquered, all you have to do is wait for the ref to lift your arm in vvictory.

  35. I love Pearl and I love the button bands. I’ve never been able to figure out the slightly-stretched school of button bands, either. Please share how you did these button bands. They look fabulous. Thanks

  36. I love Pearl and I love the button bands. I’ve never been able to figure out the slightly-stretched school of button bands, either. Please share how you did these button bands. They look fabulous. Thanks

  37. Waiting with bated breath to see the finished sweater with you inside it. It will be fabulous.

  38. Beautiful!
    There is something about the sweater (balance? texture? simple elegance?) of this knitting that evokes a little gasp (of appreciative awe), when I see these pictures. (I especially like the seed st. button band.)
    Lovely workmanship!
    Namaste.
    Diane

  39. It’ll be fine. Trust the Knit. Plus also, you’re a tremendous knitter.
    I have one of those sew on slightly stretched buttonbands coming up, too, and I swear I am slowing down the knitting of the sweater because I fear what lies ahead. At least your button band’s in seed stitch, which doesn’t care which way it lies…

  40. Your button bands look fab! if the whole thing goes south (and *why* does that have negative connotations?) when you get to lining things up, just put some store-bought titties in there and leave it hang open. No one will ever notice the misalignment, I promise. Sorry. Perhaps I should’ve stopped drinking earlier in the day. It was a one, fer sure. C

  41. I am thinking that collar is more along the lines of … FIERCE … and that you will need to spike-gel-spray up your hair a bit to wear it, collar kept turned up.
    However you wear it, it is not only fierce, but ab-fab. I do love the color, it gives all those cables and ribs sculptural, squeezable quality. If I finished such a beautiful project after so many years I’d be wearing it around the clock, especially around people who tend to greet you with the line “Oh, did you MAKE that?” with that wispy voice of longing and admiration. The more “did you MAKE that?”s you receive, they’ll soak up any residual doubt about slantiness or non-slantiness.
    Elizabeth

  42. I am thinking that collar is more along the lines of … FIERCE … and that you will need to spike-gel-spray up your hair a bit to wear it, collar kept turned up.
    However you wear it, it is not only fierce, but ab-fab. I do love the color, it gives all those cables and ribs sculptural, squeezable quality. If I finished such a beautiful project after so many years I’d be wearing it around the clock, especially around people who tend to greet you with the line “Oh, did you MAKE that?” with that wispy voice of longing and admiration. The more “did you MAKE that?”s you receive, they’ll soak up any residual doubt about slantiness or non-slantiness.
    Elizabeth

  43. tis saturday hope you
    are haveing a nice weekend

  44. Very hunka hunka burnin’ love, Ann. It’ll look great on you…jes’ don’t wear it with the Nashville Band-wig-on.

  45. One more person saying thank you for the button band tip. I have a cardigan stuffed in a box because I couldn’t get the sewn on band to look good.

  46. That’s making me drool!

  47. Although I’m curious: If you knit the button band “slightly stretched” do you still use ribbon on the back of the band? I would think so.
    Does ribbon work on knit- in bands? I’ve only made a few sweaters. None of them have had the “Slightly Stretched” sewn- on band, but I see that as a design detail in store bought machine knits.
    Oh, I found your blog and book from a posting about lovely dishcloths. What a lovely blog! And what lovely books that I had better be getting for my birthday, if dh cares about my happiness in any way.
    And the striped orange/yellow/black and white caterpillars on your fennel? Black swallowtail butterflies. They like fennel, dill, and something else lacey that I can’t remember. My neighbor plants four fennel bulbs- two for her, two for the caterpillars. A few weeks before the caterpillars showed up your plants had sort of a yellow dust on them- those are eggs. After they get huge, they molt into something that looks like bird droppings. You think the birds have eaten them all. Then, butterflies start playing in your yard.
    All regards, and gratitude for your writing.
    Ari

  48. Although I’m curious: If you knit the button band “slightly stretched” do you still use ribbon on the back of the band? I would think so.
    Does ribbon work on knit- in bands? I’ve only made a few sweaters. None of them have had the “Slightly Stretched” sewn- on band, but I see that as a design detail in store bought machine knits.
    Oh, I found your blog and book from a posting about lovely dishcloths. What a lovely blog! And what lovely books that I had better be getting for my birthday, if dh cares about my happiness in any way.
    And the striped orange/yellow/black and white caterpillars on your fennel? Black swallowtail butterflies. They like fennel, dill, and something else lacey that I can’t remember. My neighbor plants four fennel bulbs- two for her, two for the caterpillars. A few weeks before the caterpillars showed up your plants had sort of a yellow dust on them- those are eggs. After they get huge, they molt into something that looks like bird droppings. You think the birds have eaten them all. Then, butterflies start playing in your yard.
    All regards, and gratitude for your writing.
    Ari

  49. Although I’m curious: If you knit the button band “slightly stretched” do you still use ribbon on the back of the band? I would think so.
    Does ribbon work on knit- in bands? I’ve only made a few sweaters. None of them have had the “Slightly Stretched” sewn- on band, but I see that as a design detail in store bought machine knits.
    Oh, I found your blog and book from a posting about lovely dishcloths. What a lovely blog! And what lovely books that I had better be getting for my birthday, if dh cares about my happiness in any way.
    And the striped orange/yellow/black and white caterpillars on your fennel? Black swallowtail butterflies. They like fennel, dill, and something else lacey that I can’t remember. My neighbor plants four fennel bulbs- two for her, two for the caterpillars. A few weeks before the caterpillars showed up your plants had sort of a yellow dust on them- those are eggs. After they get huge, they molt into something that looks like bird droppings. You think the birds have eaten them all. Then, butterflies start playing in your yard.
    All regards, and gratitude for your writing.
    Ari

  50. sorry.
    could you unpost the three extra?
    regards,
    ari

  51. Wow. This sweater is going to look phenomenal! I can’t wait to see the final project.