Aw look! One pattern, 364 versions of the MDK New Ancestral Christmas Stocking.

The Fern Goes On. Plus: A Spectacular Screw-Up

Dear Kay,
Who knew there were so many fellow queasy knitters out there? The Pepto-Bismol is working, and so is the commiseration, y’all. Queasiness shared is queasiness halved–and doubled, come to think of it.
Thanks too for all the great suggestions for Fern, my entry in the Tennessee State Fair. I’ve taken them all to heart except for anything having to do with intarsia, intarsia, or intarsia. I’m sorry, but I’m trying to cut down on my intarsia intake these days. It’s not that I’m trying to win a blue ribbon; I just want not to be turned away at the door on August 30, when I drop off my entry. “Hon, why don’tchew felt that thing and bring it back next year?”
Here’s a sketch:
fernsketch.jpg
Set-in sleeves, moss stitch at the edges and button bands. The sleeves will have fiddleheads on the cuffs, too. We’ll worry about the collar when we get there. The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan hasn’t called yet for this drawing.
The following picture was taken in complete gloom: it’s the closest I’ve come to capturing the colors of this thing. I ended up adding a shade of blue as I got toward the skyline of the forest. The thing seemed to need some sky. What think ye?
fernback3.jpg
The apparently blogless Stephy suggested I try chain stitch for the fiddleheads, and by gum, I think I likes it. (I added the chain stitch sprouts to my earlier, anemic ones. I like the little pattern the chain stitch makes. And chain stitch is something I can actually sort of do. It looks like duplicate stitch on the move. Yay Stephy!) What do you think?
fiddleheadchainstitch.jpg
I kept thinking about how to do a yoke on this sweater, and I recalled Kim Hargreaves’s cool trick on that Asta sweater I made. You cast off all stitches right before beginning the yoke, then picki up stitches and start anew. This creates a cute little ridge, so that’s what I did here.
ferncastoffdetail.jpg
Then I made a 3 x 1 rib for the yoke, and blasted my way to the top.
Except.
Did you notice something about the back? Did you notice that the right armhole has ten cast-off stitches, while the left has only six? Can you believe I actually blocked this thing and did not notice this?
The excellent news here is that if any of you has a good alternative to my 3 x 1 ribbing, now would be a good time to suggest it, because I’m going to go rip the yoke out right this minute. Garsh.
Bon voyage! Be sure to write! Take a lot of pitchers!
Love,
Ann

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Dear Ann,
    Well, that Fern thing is going to be just perfect with the chain-stitching and the 3 x 1 ribbing. And I love the addition of blue.
    And reading the blog today it struck me that you and Ms. *more and I all have the same initials. That’s gotta mean something. Like, if you ever want to give away Cristina’s needle-holder/artwork, it would be simple to figure out who to send it to (not Alice).
    xox Aara

  2. I’m surprised y’all haven’t been sued yet over the use of the initials A.S. You’re rather free & easy with the trademark laws, Missy.
    I am loving the Fern. The blue is brilliant and you KNOW I am always in favor of casting off and picking up whenever possible. It’s so dang cute! But you’re right, those State Fair Authorities are going to be counting the stitches cast off for the armhole shaping, so there is no way around the ripping.
    Glad you have avoided a relapse of intarsia.
    One of my many piddly tasks today is to photocopy Sunday Best. When I return, I hope to have the Boy Version well on its way to finished, if my eyesight holds out (texture stitches on unwashed dark denim can be maddeningly invisible).
    Cheerio and look for me on a High Street near you! xoxo Kay

  3. The chain stitch is faboo. Love it. And it’s fun to do, no? And the blue absolutely MAKES it! This is a beautiful sweater already, all queasiness aside.

  4. Oh, those Knitting Guild Women are going to be gnashing their teeth over this one! GORgeous, absolutely gorgeous.
    I love it completely!

  5. Those fiddleheads look great in the chain stitch…much better defined! Kim Hargreaves will be recalling your cool tricks before long.

  6. Gorgeous! The chain stitch is the perfect touch for those fiddleheads. (Hee hee…”fiddlehead” sounds like some kind of expletive, e.g., “Take that, you #@%&*! fiddlehead!.”)

  7. Charming!

  8. wow – I love the colors – and the chain stitch is great — good luck

  9. Love it!
    and the chain stitch is definitely the one to go for – 3×1 ribbing looks good too.
    Jo
    xxx

  10. I LOVE your design. The chain stitch looks great, and I do like how it almost looks knit (duplicate stitch on the move for sure). I like the way you chose to do the yoke too. Yaay for original designs :)

  11. Ohh, And I like the way the bottom has more brown and the top more blue, it’s perfect!

  12. Looks fantastic. And that touch of blue had me thinking of Kaffe Fasset’s line “If unsure about a colour, use a dozen more”.

  13. I love it! And I think that chain stitch is indeed the answer to your problem. I like it better than the embroidery.
    Also, the colors are fantastic. Love the colors.

  14. That is absolutely the sweetest little jacket I’ve EVER seen. The simple pointy collar is charming and the chain stitch is perfect. You got the stripes just right, too. Okay, so you’ve got some frogging to do, but wasn’t a little humility the lesson Wilbur had to learn? I can’t wait to see what you come up with for buttons.

  15. Once you win the blue ribbon, you must must must publish Fern as a pattern. It is just too sweet and too wonderful not to share with the knitting world.

  16. Up here in New England (well, where “here” used to be for me…I’m even further north now), we don’t call people fiddleheads, we eat them. The fiddleheads, that is. The people…well…they just don’t taste that good…
    The chain stitch is absolutely perfect. It looks wonderful, and so does the ribbing. Good luck a-rippin’ and a-pickin’!

  17. The chain stitch version looks very much like fiddlehead ferns. Love the colors and the overall plan. Can’t wait to see how it knits up!

  18. Ann- Your sweater is amazing!! I *lovelovelove* the colors and the style, the pick up ridge and the delicate collar!! It’s a blue ribbon winner in my book.
    I love the chained fiddleheads but to be honest I love the way the swatch looks now, with the ferns in all DIFFERENT stitches! It looks more like nature to me, fiddleheads in various states of bloom and growth!
    Either way, has Rowan called yet? I hear they need a replacment for Kim Hargreaves! :)

  19. alternatives to 3 x1 rib.. how about smocking or a lattice ? You can them sew the horizontal bit of the lattice with the same colour as the fiddleheads?

  20. I love the chain stitch for the fiddleheads – its perfect. The colors are great…what, do you sense a “but” coming -ah, well. But. I share concern about the ribbing – specifically the tendancy of all ribbings to pull in. Will it pull in too much, and look to smock-like? Maybe not…

  21. Hey hey hey, looks so good, I really like that smocking suggestion – it’s so simple and looks so complicated and elegant! Annhb

  22. I’m liking that chain stitch. A lot!

  23. It’s lovely! Keep that drawing – they’ll all be after it when you win that blue ribbon!
    I love the colours (espically that extra blue) and the ribbed yoke (with cast off bit) AND the chain stitch. In fact, it’s pretty much hunky dory just as it is!

  24. Fern looks perfect. I feel a blue ribbon going your way. What are your thoughts on fair isle? I hardly takle intarsia myself. You can include Fern in your next book.
    I am looking forward to seeing more about Fern.

  25. Ann, the wee coat is going to so beautiful. I’m glad the chain stitch thingy is working out for you.
    And, yes, “apparently” blogless Stephy because I haven’t had the nerve to make the one I’ve been keeping for awhile public. But what the heck– I’ll take your cite as a nudge to let the outside world in.
    If you should visit there, you’ll get a little surprise. I’ve totally swiped the idea of knitting Kiri with Blue Heron mercerized cotton and, although it’s early, it looks promising.

  26. Lovely, lovely. Did you know I have a little girl (whose name could have been Fern but my husband vetoed it)? Just her colours…. The yoke looks great, and aren’t you pleased you found that little glitch before fair day!
    I am visiting my parents and my dad’s room here is crammed with ribbons from the fair! Blue, red and white!! So I am super exited to make something for this little fair. If he can have all these ribbons, I can get one, too!

  27. You know, I was thinking, I’m not sure what sort of yarn you’re using, but if it’s something that can be divided, I would suggest that. The lines in your drawing are so fluid and lovely, I think it would be easier for you to get the same effect with less bulk. You could try using crewel yarn. It’s available in zillions of colors. Of course, I engage in hyperbole. There are, in fact, somewhat fewer than a zillion colors of crewel wool, but I’ll bet you can find the right shade (and maybe the shade to the right and left of the right shade to give it just a smidge of depth).
    I don’t know knittin’, but I know from embroidery.
    It really is turning out gorgeous, Ann. It’s like butta (sculpture).

  28. Hi y’all –It’s not Emma. It’s Kay, at Emma’s house and Emma’s computer. Having a wonderful time!
    love, Kay
    PS Emma is just as I had imagined her, the irises are still in bloom, Oliver has been chatting me up, and Allan is WASHING THE DISHES. RIGHT NOW. Maybe that last bit was jet-lagged delirium, but he definitely said he was going to wash up now, and then he went into the kitchen. I will send more news from paradise, after a rest!

  29. Can’t wait to see your finished project for the Tennessee State Fair and have a wonderful time in paradise!! btw…where is paradise ;)?