Saturday, May 4, 2013

At a total loss

I was going to write a post today about all of the projects that have required re-dos in the last week or so, with the good news that things generally seem to be back on track. But my mental composition came too soon, apparently.

I have been struggling with the finishing work on the Northmavine Hoody, which requires, let me tell you, a LOT of finishing work. Mostly, I have been doing it with good cheer. There was the hood, which required unkitchenering and further knitting (because it was too small), but I did that. And then there were the endless ends to be woven in (four for every eight rows of knitting for the entire sweater, arms, and hood), but last weekend I put many hours into that job and got it done. I kitchenered the underarms. I knitted the pockets. And then it was time to pick up stitches to knit the facing around the fronts and hood edges. I did that. All 500+ stitches, then six rows of knitting. So far so good.

Then it was time to turn to the wrong side and pick up stitches in the purl bumps left by the first round of pick-up-stitch. That was not easy. It was so not-easy, in fact, that I resorted to another option: I turned to the right side, picked up one leg of every knit stitch in the original pick-up row, and then turned everything back around and worked from there. That seemed to work, but knitting the five rows for the inside facing was fiddly, fiddly, fiddly. Partly because it's just long row after long row, and partly because each of those long rows had to be completed while working around the needle that was holding the front facing stitches. And (it must be admitted), partly because I was working with stitches squeezed tightly onto several shorter-than-optimal needles, because I just cannot see buying yet another pair of needles for this project, just to do this one thing (believe me when I say I have, one way or another, already bought an unconscionable number of needles for this project).

But I persevered. Through knitting the two facings, and then through the endless three-needle bind-off to attach them, leaving live stitches that now, in the almost-final stage of finishing, should be available for an i-cord bind-off. Except not.

Because something just is not right, and I haven't a clue why not, and I could really use some help here.

If you look at that first picture, you might be able to see what I'm talking about. See how the stitches look all lovely and straight on the left, and then start biasing increasingly as you go right? The biasing continues about halfway around, and then the stitches mysteriously line up neatly again.

The second photo shows the neatly lined up stitches. And the third, the neatly lined up inside facing stitches. But then, presto chango: bias.

And I don't know why. All the stitches were picked up the same way. And they line up, no biasing at all, along both fronts, biasing increasingly along the tops of the fronts and the hood. If I'd misaligned the stitches, I'd expect the biasing to continue all the way around once it starts, but it doesn't. At this point, the only option I can see is to rip this all out (a week of work!), and start again, but I hate to do that when I don't know what I did wrong in the first place - because how will I avoid doing it again? Any thoughts? I could use some advice here...









12 comments:

Gwen said...

Put it on waste string instead of all the needles and maybe you can see better. Weird that it comes and goes. I'd think there are different numbers of stitches each side of the facing. But that back to normal is strange. Is it happening more at curves?

Might be worth going back and doing a folded over facing and sewing down to the inside. One way or another, you've got more work ahead.

It looks like it's going to be an awesome sweater! If it can be pummeled into behaving long enough to finish.

Mary Lou said...

That is just wired. I second the notion of pulling off the needles to see if you can tell more. If you have to take it out and do over (horrors) I have used a technique from Katharina Buss that is complicated to explain. If you have her book or can find it in the library. I think it's called the Big book of knitting. It is loads of good stuff. Translated from the German.

Anonymous said...

Most facings are knit to hide the edge where you weave in stitches or have a cut steek - it also reinforces the steeked edge.by providing more area for the yarn to felt agains so the ends dont come undone. It looks like you picked up your stitches between the front of the facing and the edge of your sweater. This might be some of the cause.
One other thing I wander, did you use asmaller gauge needle for the inside facing? If you used the same size needle thighht might be a reason for bias. Think of store bought T Shits that are knit inna tube - they tend to bias. Your gacing is essentially a tube of sorts and if knit on the same size needle the energy in the twist of the plies are going to have some effect...
try going down 1-2 needle sizes on the inside facing that will let the outside fascing lay more flt and keep the inside from pushing it out or fighting it in any other way.
The last thing to consider is where it is biasing. Is it doing so along straight areas or curved areas? What is the pick up rate that you used? If the bias is happening on a concave curve, maybe decrease your pick up rate - almost like clipping the curve in a sewn seam, or a mitered edge on a 90 degree corner.
Or. Maybe it might all block out?
I would reccomend you swatch anything before ripping it all out. That way you can compare your swatches to what you have now and be able to learn what happened. Take pictures and share with us please. Also, it would suck to rip it out an nothing work and have to re knit all those stitches a zillion times...

M-H said...

I second the last comment. It looks like you have picked up way too many stitches in that section. 2 out of three, or even 1 out of 2, can be right for some curves.

Stella Lange said...

Argh, I feel your pain and frustration, I have had something similar happen in this sort of sandwiched facing, and it was that I was knitting the two into one row with a stitch together with one two or more stitches away on the other side. Easy way to check that theory is to track the joined stitches down to their bases ... And see if they are in the same place ...only opposite sides of the knitting. The good news is the fix might not involve frogging back past the joining row, if you get to the row before that, which is a lot of fiddly work but better than a complete redo of the whole pick up and knit both sides, then work the joining 'three-needle bind off but leave the stitches live row' (again), every ten or so stitches check that the two you are joining come from the same base point. If there is a stitch or two different it won't show at this gauge if you knit a single stitch instead of the bind of pair, just to even things up. I know - I've done this before.

Willow said...

I just saw this and tend to agree that unfortunately you will need to frog back some. Either you have mismatched the stitches in the 3 needles bind off or they're on too large sized needles. Other than that, I don't have any thoughts. I'd have to see it and feel it to figure out if there's anything else going on. What does your local mavin at the lys say?

Carrie K said...

Not a clue but possibly a conspiracy to force you to buy another knitting needle. (Huh. I have had to retype that four or five times because my inner grammarian requires knitting needleS to be plural but my mind is insisting that it's a single long circ. With needles at both ends? Ah, now we are both happy. Except for you and everyone else who has been subjected to the crazy.)

josie said...

Your Northmavine Hoodie is going to be just gorgeous--I hope to make it myself one day (that is to say, I have not yet seen the pattern.) But I suspect the bias problem is somehow related to how the stitches for both facings were picked up. You did the front facing and “Then it was time to turn to the wrong side and pick up stitches in the purl bumps left by the first round of pick-up-stitch.” Although it is not the way I usually pick up stitches for a button band, I saw on Kate Davies’ blog a year or so ago that the needle should go all the way through the fabric to catch the yarn, and then pull the stitch back through. (It seemed to me that her way would produce a very strong join of the band to the sweater, which is why I remarked upon it. But since you’re making a continuous band around the front opening and hood, it might be important because it wouldn’t put any twist into the base of the front facing. I think.) Also, it’s not clear to me whether you tried to pick up the inner facing stitches from the purl bumps resulting from the pickup round itself (which should be OK as that through-the-fabric pickup should be a very stable foundation for the inner facing too), or from the first round that you worked (which could also have been trouble).

And then came the line in your post that totally mystified me: “It was so not-easy, in fact, that … I turned to the right side, picked up one leg of every knit stitch in the original pick-up row, and then turned everything back around and worked from there.” I just can’t picture how you turned everything around, but perhaps your method—which involved making the inside facing stitches from only one side of each picked-up stitch rather than from the base of the pick-up row itself, and then somehow turning that row to the inside—introduced torque into the whole facing, which is being released by the biasing every so often around the edging.

One last thought: did you knit the same number of rows for the front facing as for the back? Since you didn’t notice anything wrong until you joined the facings, maybe it was the three-needle bindoff row that introduced the twist. Somehow it seems that one facing should end with a knit row and one with purl row before they are joined, but I can’t come up with a logical reason why.

Best of luck with this—it will be interesting to see how you solve the puzzle (and with luck won't involve ripping the bands out entirely). I enjoy reading your blog and am astonished at both your beautiful knitting, and the rate at which you produce it!

Lynne said...

I haven't got a clue but I sincerely hope you find a solution soon!

Dr. Cynthia said...

Check out Anne Hanson's Craftsy class on Buttonbands and Button holes- she explains how to calculate the correst ratio of stitches to pick up to avoid this sort of thing. The class is well worth it, and I think on sale right now.

twinsetellen said...

After closely examining the pictures, I'm going with the idea shared by others that you may have picked up too many stitches and then because they are still on the needle, the already slightly too full fabric is being pulled one way in part of the sweater by the needle. I also agree that a way to check would be to trace back on each side from one live stitch and see if they both end at the same place. If so, you probably just have too much fabric.

But persevere - the sweater is fabulous and will be a go to garment once it is done!

EGunn said...

I am also stumped, but it looks like there are plenty of good ideas here already! My first thought was uneven numbers of stitches, but if I'm reading your description right, that shouldn't be a problem. Dunno, but I still think it's going to be beautiful!