Sunday, 23 January 2011

Double Garter - The Devil's Stitch?!?

Right now, I'm trying to finish off my Kerrera cardi, which I started sometime in Nov/Dec last year. Kerrera is by Gudrun Johnson, whose designs I just adore. I've already knit the Shetland Shorty, which was by her, and I totally want to knit that again. I just love to go to her Ravelry designer page and drool over all her wonderful designs.

I love the Kerrera cardigan, the ones I've seen on other people. It seems to be quite flattering on a range of body shapes. I love the long length, and the way it hangs open at the bottom, and the hood. And the way the border looks is really nice. But it's a pain to knit :/ It's in double garter stitch, which involves wrapping the yarn round twice and then knitting the extra wrap with the next stitch. There's a tutorial with the pattern, and there's a youtube video on how to do it.

It's not hard to do in and of itself, but the extra wrapping seems to make the stitches tighter on the needle for some reason, and I keep having to push them past the join on my circular needle. I'm on the big side border now, the front and the neckband, all the way around in one go. I have no idea how many stitches it is, I didn't even bother trying to count as I picked them up, I just picked up as many as looked right. But it's a lot. It takes between 45 minutes and an hour to do each row, partly because of the many stitches, and partly because of the extra time involved in wrapping the yarn twice and pushing the stitches along. At least it's relatively mindless once you get the hang of it :/

I'm a bit worried about my version. It's looking very "homemade" just now, and not in a charming way. I used yarn that I ripped from my slobaround sweater that I never wore, but I didn't bother washing it first, so it's kinda crinkly just now. The "right" side of the stocking stitch looks ok, but when it gets to the reverse stocking stitch, it's very uneven. I'm placing a lot of faith in the blocking process... Actually, I think that'll sort out a lot of the problems I'm having with it, but it's a bit hard to have faith in it when the knitting is looking lumpy and uneven.

And why is it so difficult to pick up and knit stitches evenly on reverse stocking stitch??? I was picking up all these stitches for the border, and as soon as I hit that bit, it was just torture trying to pick them up and have it look good. I don't think it's just me, I was looking through project photos on ravelry last night, and I can see the same effect I was having on most of them. Nobody else seemed to mention it though, maybe I'm just being too perfectionist-y.

I'm being the same way about the sleeve pick-up stitches too. The sleeve is picked up from the sleeve cap and knit downwards, which is a very interesting construction to do, but mine just doesn't seem to look good.

See, massive gaps! And again, other people on ravelry have the same effect on their sweater, but they don't seem to mention if it bothers them. I did this picking up about five times, but that was the best I could get it to look. Again, placing a lot of faith in blocking! I hope it looks a lot better when it's actually on!

I figure if I still don't like it after blocking, I can crochet a ridge over it or something, but I don't think this technique is one I'll do again. If I make another Kerrera, I'll just change the pattern to knit the sleeves upwards and sew them in. And I might make another one, despite all my whining. I really like the sleeveless ones some people have done on ravelry, and that would cut out the whole problem altogether ;) I just had to come on a whinge a little about my misgivings before I went mad at the thing! :)


torirot said...

I have Kerrera in my queue too - looking forwards to seeing yours finished : -)

Anonymous said...

I think you're doing a fabulous job of picking up stitches, I often have gaps that are much worse. I also love the colour! It'll look really good on!