Dear Kay, and Perfect Knitters,
Get a load of this, willya?
The edging for the Perfect Sweater is
hemmed 46.2% 346
seed stitch 46.1% 345
ribbing (either 1×1, 2×2, or 3×3) 7.7% 58
total votes: 749
And yes, in the only moment I ever hope to resemble Senate tie-breaking-vote-caster Dick Cheney, I cast a tie-breaking vote. I never dreamed we would have a genuwine, even-steven split between seed stitch and hemmed edging for the Perfect Sweater. A perfect tie.
In the spirit of bipartisan cooperation, and because I figure that some late-voting seed stitchers may tip the scales, and because we want to avoid a filibuster no matter WHAT, we’ll include instructions for both edgings. If the will of the group is split so perfectly, then by jinky the sweater will have two perfect edgings.
Now. I continue to be awed by the wealth of knowledge among the Future Searchers. It’s a regular Cal Tech of wisdom you guys bring to the table. Thank you, everybody, for chiming in.
Amid the folks who adore hemmed edges, a couple of folks raise serious hem issues. I think we of the Insanely Fond of Hems Club better caveat our emptor, or whatever:
All the way from Finland, we hear the plaintive voice of Kristel, who warns: “Please, please, please do not vote for hemming. The knitted hems never stay put but turn to the right side of the garment in a very ugly fashion. Trust me on this one, I’ve attempted this technique several times. (Last time I had to rip out a nearly finished piece that was knit on 2.5 mm needles because the hem started driving me crazy.)”
Jennifer too has a warning: “I vote against hemmed–twice the work, picking up stitches, blargh. My one experience-disaster. It was also very bulky and uneven . . . or maybe I can’t follow directions?”
Consider us forewarned.
Paula has a great hem tip: “If you use one size bigger needle to cast on, this makes it much easier to pick up the cast-on edge loops when you do the hem-folding-up part.” (Paula just started her blog, so please take her a casserole of welcome.)
Jessica (yes, that Jessica, the Cascade-discountin’ Jessica), writes: “I liked a hemmed edge. Meg Swansen/Elizabeth Zimmermann offer another way to make one for a less bulky hem. Cast on using the long-tail method. Knit your sweater. Then pick up along the purl bumps of the long tail using a smaller needle and a finer yarn. Knit the hem then tack down the live stitches to the inside of the sweater. This makes a stretchy hem.” Cool, especially if you take (tragically blogless) Alice’s advice and use a contrasting color for the interfacing.
Nothin’ but Knit Ashley suggests something completely different, Annie Modesitt’s slip stitch edging which does look cool.
In the Comments for the Nov. 4 entry, there is a ton of rib chat about alternative choices for ribbing. This makes for rich and rewarding reading for those who simply cannot stand the thought of a hem or seed stitch.
What I Am Doing Right This Minute
Coughing. Coughing all the damn time like some pathetic consumptive. I am beginning to enjoy this invalid lifestyle, which involves house slippers, the making but not necessarily the drinking of tea, perhaps the wearing of a shawl that I made back in the day when I was able do things like knit shawls.
But even famous invalids have days when they get stuff done. I’m happy to report that I’ve cooked up a first draft, a beta version if you will, of The Perfect Sweater: Jewel Neck Pullover Edition.
The Secret Truth of the Perfect Handknit, Revealed at Last
Try to remember the kind of September when we started this whole thing. It seemed impossible to narrow any of this down. The Perfect Handknit? An impossible dream. Foolish. Unlikely. Ridiculous.
Uh, good point. But here we are, with the beginnings of a pattern and no end of conversation about what we like and what we loathe about yarns, patterns, styles, beverages, and the touchy issue of our midsections. I think the single most obvious lesson of all this (other than the fact that it’s a crying shame that we can’t all get together to hang out), is that we each have a perfect sweater in our heads. And the elements of that sweater are within the reach of every one of us. We don’t need to dig through a bunch of patterns, hoping that magic combination of elements somehow shows up. We really don’t. If we look at this Perfect Sweater pattern as a beginning, not an end, the whole picture becomes very clear.
Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.
We can make this sweater, this cotton/wool/mohair/merino-which-is-superior-to-ordinary-wool/wool-and-cotton/alpaca/cashmere, cabled/seed-stitch/lace/Fair Isle/striped pullover/cardigan with the set-in/drop/sort-of-drop shoulders and the seed stitch/hemmed/ribbed/lace edging and buttons/zipper. With a crewneck/jewelneck/shawl/square/boatneck/scoopneck/turtleneck/two-point/V-neck collar.
So. I’m test-knitting this basic pattern, and I’ll be contacting all you neckline designers shortly. In the meantime, I hope everybody will think about how they will make this sweater their own Perfect Handknit. My guess: there won’t be a single repeat in the entire batch.