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

Perfect Sweater: Edge-Off

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:
perfectgarter.jpg
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.)
perfect1x16.jpg
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.)
perfect1x1666.jpg
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.”)
perfect2x2.jpg
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.)
perfecthem.jpg
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.
perfecthemback.jpg
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!

Love,
Ann
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 . . .

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66 Comments

66 Comments

  1. I protest the blatant attempts to influence the vote! True–American presidential candidates used to offer beer and cheese to those who sided with them, but we can be better than that. We are knitters, by glory, and we deserve a democratic selection process.

  2. So for a 37″ chest sweater that’s kinda short I need 5 skeins? What if I take Kay’s suggestion and do the whole thing seedstitch? 6 skeins? I’m picking my blue heathered Cascade out tomorrow pls advise.

  3. I voted seed because it grabs my baby fat (ok, just lazy belly fat) less. I can imagine it SKIMS over it (hahahahah, yeah, but a girl has go to have some time sailing on her favorite river in Egypt).
    I’d be happy with a hem too (belly skim!) but NO PICOT. I am over the age of 7; I have grown out of picot. I could not wear picot without extreme irony.

  4. I’m with Lorraine. Unemotional my ass. And did you have to use that color for the swatches? I’m predicting there won’t be any left when I go to buy it….
    Seed stitch. And I did change my mind. Apparently ribbing ISN’T for her pleasure. Who knew?

  5. (You mean you could tell which one I like?)
    FREE BEER AND CHEESE TO ANYBODY WHO VOTES HEMMED AND STOPS BY MY HOUSE WITHIN THE NEXT HOUR!

  6. No picot for me. Picking up stitches 10 or so rows in to the Perfect Sweater makes it un-perfect in my book.

  7. DAMN!!! I was so in for the Beer and Cheese, but these small hollerin’ boys are holding me back! Nashville in an hour from DC? UGH. In addition to truly waterproof mascara and diet vodka, I now to invent Teleportation! Thanks for one more hobby!
    And SEED STITCH ALL THE WAY BABY!!!!!
    GO SEED STITCH!! GO SEED STITCH!! GO SEED STITCH!! GO SEED STITCH!! GO SEED STITCH!! GO SEED STITCH!! GO SEED STITCH!! GO SEED STITCH!!

  8. Hey Ann, where do you live again? (I can’t pass up free beer AND cheese!)
    Oh, and I don’t care since I’m not knitting this anyway, so I voted for whichever the fancy one is. I’m apparently trying to punish those people that are brave enough to knit this by voting for the most complicated options, since I’m a sadist. Or a masochist. Or maybe both, not sure. :)

  9. Go hemmed go! I love that edge, it always looks so clean, and polished. It’s quick and drapes well. What more could you want? Beer and cheese? Yumm! I’ll bring the crackers.

  10. Well, if you put it that way….

  11. Wow Ann, I’m soooo glad you showed how the edge looks with all these options! I’ve never used seed stitch for an edge but now I’m definitely going to put it on my list. I love the hemmed look too….so can I split my vote?

  12. Caveat-ing my vote for ribbing: only if it’s tall and attractive…the pooch around the bottom of a short rib will be soooo unattractive…on me. I’m saying, ribbing that doesn’t look like edging but more like a design element. :-)

  13. Oh good, I have another chance to vote, because I goofed the first time. Honest. I reallly meant to vote for hemmed. NO, REALLY, I MEAN IT. The photo demo just bolsters my opinion. I like the little weight it adds–all the better to hang well. I’m with Suzanne, though–I passed the age of picot a while back. Now that I think about it, I can’t think of a phase of my life where I would have thought picot was appropriate. Except maybe at the top of a sock cuff. That’s cute. (And no one sees it.)

  14. Yeah, but what about a ribbed edge that isn’t 1×1, 2×2, or 3×3? What about (and I maybe going a little crazy here) 3×1? This kind of ribbed edge isn’t so clingy, but is still classic looking.
    If it were available, that would be the one I would vote for! ;o)

  15. Libby, if I can attempt this, certainly you can–I already got Ann and Kay to agree to feed me knitting water through the sleeve making process. I voted see, but haven’t started sipping yet, so anything can happen.
    Any word on cascade 220 discounts?? I’ll have to purchase before I change my mind.

  16. There is something so wrong with me. With my wool as my witness I thought I didn’t care about this. Renegade…you know?
    I was as independent as the New Hampshire license plate slogan.
    (Knit free or die. Equality for all knits.) Then, suddenly…because you know I’m still following it deeply…a question I really care about. Really a lot. Like maybe I’ll be upset if everybody doesn’t pick the right thing because the answer IS SO CLEAR. (And then I read that you can’t vote more than once, no matter how hard you try- not that I would …you know?)
    Hem. Please.

  17. I just want to let you know that this entire process has made me a much more altruistic individual. As the voting has gone on, I have found myself choosing options that are okay for me rather than my favorites, simply because I feel they may better flatter everyone else. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing, and probably the only way the perfect sweater can be constructed. The picot edging is lovely, by the way.

  18. The scurge of altruism has struck me as well… Although I generally prefer a nice ribbed edge (hellooo, you block it out and it doesn’t cling, and looks oh so lovely with a tubular cost on) I have changed my vote to hemmed so that those-who-fear-the-cling can rest easy. And it sounds like an interesting technique to try. So there.

  19. Definitely helps to see them all knitted up. Ribbed would definitely NOT be the way to go, to my mind. Just can’t figure out which option Ann likes…seed stitch, perhaps?
    GREAT price on the Cascade! Soothes my frugal soul to know I can do this for a little over $30 (aside from the alcohol needed for sustenance and solice when my design falls apart at one in the morning – not that this will in any way happen).

  20. I call conspiracy!
    By the way, am I the only person out here who likes to tuck the bottoms of her sweaters up under (necessitating the *ribbing* to pull it in so it stays up)? Seriously I can’t be the only one. Doing so solves all problems of “fat clinging” and “curve hiding,” as it then doesn’t cling and actually accentuates curves.

  21. another hemmed vote, here! Do I get a special prize since it’s what I voted for the first time around, as well? ;)

  22. May I also point out, although I am in the camp of the moss stitch edging followed by the moss stitch body of the entire moss stitch sweater, that if you do the rib as a ‘beaded’ rib (i.e., the ‘purl’ part of the ribbing is garter stitch instead of rev st st), it lies so perfectly flat you won’t believe it?
    Just to mess up your mind. xoxo Kay

  23. Wow — even the comments are edumicational here. Now I know three ways to make rib look good and that I’m dorky in picot. Say it with me: “dorky in picot.” Sounds like a dang furrin’ film.

  24. Am I the only one that noticed “Lookee Whatsa Comin”?!!!
    Buffy

  25. what an absolute peach you are to make the world some swatches, ann! picot is so sweet…. but then i think a wee too “girly”…. and then i think of “ah-nuld” and his “girly men” comment….and oh no! i’m sticking with seed/moss, just to be safe…..

  26. Hemmed edges RULE!!! They are certainly my favorite. Just made a hat with one today. Loverly!
    I do have a question tho. Why use a smaller needle for the back side of the hem and a larger for the turning row and the front?

  27. I am clearly NOT a nutcase. Also, I can clearly be persuaded to vote on something thru sheer peer pressure..LOL! This my friends is why I stick to pouring the drinks..LOL!

  28. I forgot to vote in the first poll – was going to vote hemmed, but got distracted. So, I vote for hemmed in this poll – however, I’d likely skip the picots as well.
    My second choice would be seed stitch. Ribbing reminds me of all those banded bottom shirts dept. stores sell, that make me think “old lady”… my grandma loves them. I hate them. (OK. The only reason I’d want ribbing on my sweater was IF it was cabled, and the cables grew out of the ribbing. That’s it.) (I’m tired… I typed “rubbing” and “rigging” before actually getting “ribbing” down….)
    Hemming Rules!

  29. So the prayer for ribbing goes like this:
    Dear God (read higher power for those so inclined), please help me to stop this constant innervoice that says “my butt looks waaaay too big in things that have ribbing around what at one time was my tiny waist – which has birthed numerous children who now ALL wear things that are tightly ribbed which hang off of them like a seed stitched edging does on me if I’m lucky and do short rows at the edges like the White Lies Shapely Tank lady taught me” and instead to be more loving of my BIG BONES and CURVY SELF.
    AMEN!
    PS and God please forgive the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church of which I am ordained – they have forgotten the beauty of knitting different yarns into a beautiful varigated piece of fabric.
    Have Mercy!

  30. Okee doke, here. How long are we making this sweater? Is it ending at our “waists” assuming that we have waists, or it is going to rest on our “hips” which I think we all have, or is it going to be short and cropped and shrug-like or long and tunic-y, though not, of course, a sweater-dress??? I think our edging might change, depending…. I like Kay’s not-really-ribbing idea, and have just made such an edging, K2 P2 on the wrong side and just plain knitting on the right side. Very nice, especially if you knit it longish. Can’t we just get out Nicky Epstein’s book and everyone pick a page?
    But I’ll vote for seed stitch, as the next best thing.

  31. OK, if you guys go for the hem I’ll be in the lounge. Any chance for any Irish Coffees over there?
    Now please everybody, go vote for seed stitch. :)

  32. Please tell me how the picot edge can be easy to make. I’ve done it 3 times so far, and have had trouble each and every time. It never works out like it’s supposed to… I always have to do something fiddly like turn and p2tog across, instead of k2tog (which is really so much harder) in order to get the side of the picot that looks neater to be on the outside. I’ve always had to do this in the round (they were all for socks), so maybe that’s part of the problem, I dunno.
    I love the look, but DOING it is driving me nuts.

  33. How about 4inches of say 2×2 ribbing, it can even be shaped. Debbie Bliss does that often on cabled stuff.
    (OH, I found a way to vote twice, shhh…
    opened up another browser shhh)
    Promise this is the only time I tried, honest.
    There are way too many colours, somebody help me choose, please!

  34. The seed stitch looked much cuter than I expected, but I’m still gonna have to say hem or die. I wasn’t expecting the picots, though. Interesting.

  35. Right. As UK Liasion, I shall be organised and offer to combine UK orders and only have one batch of post (but then there’s the customs duties…)
    However, not right now, I should have left five minutes ago and I’m still in pjs…
    ~x~

  36. So how does one join this party? I need to know, if I’m going to order yarn from Seattle. It has to hitch a ride across a border.

  37. sneaky, Kay, sneaky – but I don’t think anyone’s noticed the subversiveness of that comment, looks like they’re all off to hemland. With or without picots. Cocktail, anyone?

  38. Fine. I think I was unduly pressured, but I’ll live.
    Is that 803 a nice aubergine kind of color?

  39. I voted for hemmed, but I feel coerced somehow… :P

  40. When I first read this post, I was distracted by the hem-suasion. But I didn’t vote. I poured myself a drink. I browsed through The Fiber Gallery. (1000 cheers for the fabulous Jessica and her equally fab boss at TFG!! Hip hip hurray!) Then I finally faced the blog poll and cast my vote for my beloved seed stitch.

  41. Seed stitch. I hate seed stitch, but I just did a huge ribbed edging on a 3-skein-kludge (cousin to the OSW) and I’m tired of ribbing.
    And I’ve got margaritas, beer, chips, queso (yes, that would qualify as beer and cheese) and some killer homeade guac here in the lounge.

  42. *Looks up from refreshments long enough to notice the cheap wool*
    You guy just let me know when the knitting starts….

  43. Democracy, shemocracy … I’ve got rum and nachos and homemade bean dip (and my boyfriend makes killer bean dip) for all the moss stitch voters. The “perfect handknit” should be flattering to everyone … did someone say “moss stitch”?!

  44. I was originally leaning towards seed stitch but had to go with the hemmed in the end. NOT because of your counseling, but because, when imagining the sweater, it seemed a little too…plain and potentially anonymous. Why bother making a Perfect sweater if it’s going to blend into a crowd? Give it a little distinction, for goodness sakes.

  45. I LOVE SEED STITCH. it doesn’t roll. It doesn’t pull in. Its perfect. Perfect … DID YOU HEAR ME PEOPLE!!
    P
    E
    R
    F
    E
    C
    T
    PERFECT

  46. Hi Ann. I know this is a tad bit off topic but I need your help: I am trying to join the world of knit bloggers and I want to add the perfect handknit button to my page. Can you tell me how?

  47. I do not recall whether the length of the sweater has been discussed…
    But that will affect the amount of yarn needed. Top of the hips? Below hipline? And what size did you have in mind when estimating 6 – 8 skeins?
    And what size needles? Gauge?

  48. OOH I have always wanted to try that hemmed with the picot edge treatment. You made it sound so easy that I must swatch up asap.
    And order the Cascade. woowoo! Thanks so much for the inspiration,
    Mrsmel

  49. How about working up several ribbing options andletting each knitter decide? I just learned how to do a tubular cast on that would also look great! sigh…so many options, so little time! :-)

  50. Hemmed. Though I think I will knit a straight hemmed edge and leave the picot alone. Ann, the swatches are gorgeous and confirmed my earlier vote for hemming. Now the only difficult choice will be to choose the yarn color.

  51. Ya know? If I’d found the first poll before it closed (which I didn’t, except now that I know that it didn’t actually close, which is good because I found *this* poll after it supposedly closed, too), I would have voted “hemmed.” I had been contemplating knitting “Nothin’ But a T-Shirt” from Chicknits, in large part because I thought the hem was so cool.
    But then I saw the swatches, and I have to tell you… picots just don’t do it for me. And a hemmed edge done the way God intended (i.e., without picots) is just rather …. dull. Seed stitch, on the other hand. Well. Long live the seed stitch, is all I have to say.

  52. After proclaiming my love for the seed stitch edge and offering powerful arguments on its behalf, I read Kay’s ode to an all-one-noncurling-stitch sweater and thought yes! that’s the sweater I want. Seed stitch all over, not just on the edge. However, that didn’t really seem to be in the cards for this project, so I just sat in my seed-stitch-edge corner and meditated. Then I saw the picot hemmed edge photo and realized that in essence it’s the all-one-non-curling-stitch sweater. And so now I have betrayed the seed stitch edge and voted for hemmed, the end.

  53. Hooray Jessica. Amen.

  54. Not for nothing, but we might want to keep in mind stuff like “seeded ribs” and “tubular cast on for 1X1 or 2X2 ribbing”. Y’know, in case this vote lands us in the Margin of Error…

  55. You know, there are other ways to get a picot edge besides hems. Just sayin’. Like a picot cast on or a picot cast off, depending which way you swing.
    Seeds for me. There is just no lovelier or more flattering edge as far as I’m concerned.
    Raising a toast to the lovely Jessica and Fiber Gallery for the discount!

  56. Seed stitch for sure. The hem looks too much. And I’ve never done buttonholes in seed stitch. Now off to break my yarn diet and order me some of that yarn.

  57. Oh, hemmed edge. Ribbing is no longer the necessary evil after I’ve seen the hemmed edge. I’m converted. Oh yeah.

  58. Can I put in a plug for large sizes of this sweater (like up to a 60″ bust)? Please?? Us delicious gals need the perfect sweater too, and we are hurtin’ for good patterns.
    Just a suggestion/desperate plea.

  59. Um, if we get to pick our own necks when we get there, why can’t we pick our own hems? I invision a pattern with multipe options for cast-on as well.
    And seriously, Cascade 220 at a discount? Thank the lord my credit card has hardly any room on it at all. I might have to make myself a ton of “perfect sweaters” for that price a skein.

  60. oiy – cascade 220 on “sale” is scary to my credit card; while I’m over here chanting “I do not need any more yarn… I do not need anymore yarn… I do not NEED any more yarn” I’ll also be channeling knitterly thoughts for a hemmed edge. And I, for one, like the picot edge even though I am no longer 7 years old. I’ll draw the line at a peter pan collar.

  61. Edging! Smedging! Who cares! I want whatever color the swatch is! Everyone, put down your credit cards and no one will get hurt!
    I’m with Cordelia – I need a sweater in a delicious size. I’d even consider volunteering to do the additional shaping/math.
    Oh wait, that means I’ll have to be able to DO the math. Well, if I have enough to drink, maybe I can fake the numbers. If the cabana boy will just show me where to sign the tab. . .

  62. Thank you so much for working up the swatches. Both the hemmed version with the picot and the seed stitch appeal to me, so as long as no one freaks out and skews us towards ribbing, I’m feeling very satisfied. Ahhhhh. And Kudos to Jessica for getting that discount–how kind.

  63. Thanks Cordelia! I love being described as a “delicious” size. It doesn’t make sense that it’ as hard to get patterns in larger sizes as it is, does it? As my 10-year old says, “it’s just math.”

  64. I’d prefer hemmed withOUT the picot edge.
    just sayin’
    or… a cabled rib. They’re a bit flatter, but not as flat as the seed stitch….

  65. Hey, do I detect fraudulant voting practices here?
    On Sunday the hemmed edges were winning the vote by a bit of a margin and now (Wednesday) there is only a single vote separating the two. Are the seed-stitchers stooping to stuffing the ballot box after the polls close? Did they volunteer to help with the post poll cleanup? “here, let me take that heavy box off your hands. I’ll look after it for you.”

  66. I am so glad that Jessica talked her bosses into doing the discount, otherwise I would have never known about this shop. I live in the area and had never been there, until today . . .loved it!