Perfect Sweater: Edge-Off
November 4, 2005
Dear Kay, and Everybody Who’s Edgy,
During the course of this Future Search for the Perfect Handknit, I have found that it’s not necessary to watch the blogpolls very closely. Either one option takes a distinct lead early on, or a clump of options rise to the top, in an order that doesn’t change much.
But this latest blogpoll, on the issue of edging, has been a nail biter. Every time I checked, the lead changed. Early on, hemmed edging was a surprising leader, with ribbing lagging a bit, and seed stitch limping even further. Forget about I-cord and garter stitch. But then ribbing somehow jumped ahead for a while, and then–in a comeback worthy of William Shatner–seed stitch nosed ahead.
I don’t ever actually close the polls, mostly because I don’t know how and don’t frankly worry too much about it. Every vote counts, until I finally get around to posting the results. At at the moment, the three lead options are five votes apart (and it may change even as I write this):
The edging for the Perfect Sweater is
ribbed 26.6% 130
seed stitch (aka moss stitch) 26.4% 129
hemmed 25.4% 124
I-cord 8.8% 43
rolled 8.8% 43
garter stitch 4.1% 20
total votes: 489
Just so everybody knows (and despite the fact that nobody cares), there’s no way for me or anybody to vote more than once. Strictly one knitter, one vote. So democratic. However, could the Seed Stitchers of America have paid their friends a buck to vote for seed stitch? We all know that the SSOA aren’t that organized. But is it possible that the Ribbing for a Better America folks used their mighty power to slant the vote? I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.
At any rate, we clearly need an Edge-Off. This morning, as I sat and knat with galpals from my local house of worship, I cranked a few swatches to illustrate exactly what happens when we make edgings with Cascade 220. This was extremely interesting to me, and the perfect little something to work on while we all dissected Maureen Dowd’s piece in the Sunday NY Times about men and women. There we sat on the patio, loving global warming, the petunias which have not yet had a frost, and the fact that small acorns occasionally pelted us and landed in our coffee.
As you ponder your next vote, please consider the following swatches. I will share my experience of these edgings, which I hesitate to do for fear of manipulating the vote. But I see this as field research which might prove helpful. I will try to be as unemotional as possible.
In the order of votes received, I bring you:
Seed stitch edging. Made with a size 6 (4 mm) needle. Very simple to do. (REMINISCENT OF EVERY SINGLE KIM HARGREAVES SWEATER EVER MADE, NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT BECAUSE KIM HARGREAVES IS A GODDESS.)
1 x 1 ribbing. Done on size 5 (3.75mm) needles, changing to size 6 (4 mm) needles for the stockinette. Using smaller needles for the ribbing results in a more pulled edge. (ACH! CLINGY AND PINCHED AND UNDRAPEY-LOOKING. REV. LINDA PLEASE PROVIDE A PRAYER FOR ANYBODY WHO VOTES FOR THIS OPTION.)
1 x 1 ribbing. Done on size 6 (4mm) needles for ribbing and stockinette. Wanted to see if doing the ribbing on a larger needle made a significant difference. It makes a bit looser edge, but not dramatically so. (THE PHRASE “POOCHY AROUND THE MIDSECTION” COMES TO MIND AS I ENVISION THIS AT THE BOTTOM OF OUR SWEATER. I WOULD LIKE LESS “POOCHY AROUND THE MIDSECTION” THAN I CURRENTLY HAVE BUT OF COURSE THAT’S JUST ME AND MAYBE OTHERS CRAVE A BIT MORE “POOCHY AROUND THE MIDSECTION.”)
2 x 2 ribbing. Done on size 6 (4mm) needles for ribbing and stockinette. A bit looser than the 1 x 1 ribbing, but still a noticeable pull along the edge. (STILL REMINDING ME OF SWEATSHIRTS I HAVE KNOWN.)
I would have done 3 x 3 but I ran out of coffee and time, but you can extrapolate how 3 x 3 would look. (MY WILL TO LIVE WAS AT THIS POINT SHATTERED.)
Hemmed edge with picot edging. Interfacing (the part on the backside you can’t see) was knitted on size 5 (3.75mm) needles for five rows. Then I switched to size 6 (4mm) needles for one k2tog/yo edge row and then stockinette. On the sixth row, I folded back and caught the cast-on edge of the interfacing as I knitted the row. An alternative would be to do the picot edge as a simple purl row, which would make this edging totally plain. The bulk of Cascade 220 means that this hemmed edge is a bit bulkier than the seed stitch. It definitely has weight to it.
Here’s the back side, so you can see how the hem works.
(HOLY SMOLEY THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY COOL BECAUSE IT IS NOT HARD AND SUCH A CLEVER WAY TO MAKE AN EDGE. THE PICOT EDGE IS SO EASY TO MAKE YET CLEVER-LOOKING, AND EVEN WITH A PLAIN EDGE IT’S SUCH A LOVELY DETAIL AND YOU ARE ALL CLEARLY NUTCASES IF YOU DON’T CHOOSE THIS OPTION.)
So. Please vote by Saturday, November 5, 10:43 pm CST. Go democracy!
PS LATE-BREAKING NEWS!!!!! The brilliant Jessica has persuaded her boss at The Fiber Gallery in Seattle, WA, to give a 25% discount on Cascade 220 to knitters of the Perfect Sweater. That means their usual $6.50 price is $4.88/skein! Get this: because Seattle is the headquarters of Cascade Yarns, The Fiber Gallery keeps a large inventory of the zillions of shades of this yarn. No online ordering, but they’ll happily take your call at 206-706-4197.
Here’s the Cascade 220 shade card. Remember that it comes in tweed, heather, solid, and superwash. BTW, the shade I used for the swatches is 9451.
I estimate we’ll need 6-8 skeins to make this sweater. If you buy 8, you’ll likely have leftovers. And please try to be reasonable and truly order what you’ll be using for the Perfect Handknit. I realize the urge to order 10,000 skeins of Cascade is powerful, but please leave some for the rest of us . . .