Aug 4, 2013

D135&136: Construction & notes - A Shawl Collar Sweater

Yup.  I'm not particularly experienced in knitted garment construction, so was a bit lost on the skeletal instructions provided in the book.  Here are some notes on the different parts about what I did and the results.  For tl;dr go the blue text.

Since this gift should be being delivered right now (brain is calling you Hub - give the gift! Give the gift!)  I can reveal all and use proper pictures.

Pattern: Shawl Collar Sweater
Source: Debbie Bliss Essential Baby
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Chashmerino Aran in charcoal (decorated with leftover DB Baby Cashmerino in Light Blue)

Body neck edge

I was worried about the neatness of this area.  I used a slip-stitch edging to create a smooth edge on the neckline of the body front.  You can see in the images below that one of the edges is a smooth knit-style pattern, which is the slip-stitch edging. 

For a slip-stitch edge, knit the last stitch of the row and slip the first stitch of the next row.  It will create one 'knit' stitch for every two rows and does not affect the row tension.

I left long tails when casting on or off near the shoulders.  I used one of these to sew the neck on the right side as well as back & forth across the neck front.

Shawl collar - Side seam

Below are two angles of the same work - sewing the right-side neck edge to the shawl collar.  To manage the ease, I pinned and held the shawl collar and neck edge and stretched them while I worked.

I used a whip stitch and picked up two 'beads' of the slipped stitch from the neck and whichever shawl collar stitch matched it best, while under tension.

Picking up the slip-stitch from the neck edge to whip-stitch it to the shawl collar.
Same again from another angle

My goal was to ensure a neat and pleasing line on the front, which was a little tricky with the decreased rows.

The inside of the shawl collar side seam - whip stitching.
The outside of the shawl collar side seam.

Shawl Collar - Front seam

The pattern says to place the right collar in front of the left.  I chose to attach them one at a time rather than sew through three thicknesses.

On the body front edge, there's a little purl bump behind each bound-off stitch.  They sit at the back of the work and I used this purl row of stitches when attaching the left collar edge.

Picking up the purl bump behind the cast off edge.

To attach the left (rear) edge, I pinned the point of the collar of the opposite corner and stretched them gently to match the lengths.   I began at the pinned end and whip-stitched towards the left side.

The left collar edge whip-stitched to the body front.  Note the row of cast-off stitches in front.

To attach the right edge, I pinned its corner to the opposite side stretching the lengths even and I whip-stitched the collar edge to the upper 'bead' of each cast-off stitch. I did this for two reasons:
  1. I felt this way would create the least bulk and was most likely to provide a flat seam. 
  2. I liked the idea of the lower bead creating a border that was consistent and neat. 

Whip stitching the right collar edge to the front using the upper bead of the bind-off row.
Note the lower bead is exposed. I like how that pattern leads from a rib in the front all the way to the right.
The completed shawl collar

Shoulder seams

The book's directions describe how to join bound-off and selvage edges (p.33), which is what's required when joining the bound off sleeve to the shoulder's selvage.

The length of the sleeve that's joined to the body goes a few stitches beyond the bound-off edge on both sides.  I aimed to get the corners of the sleeves into the corners of the bound off rows.

To manage the ease into the shoulder, I skipped every fourth stitch (a purl) from the sleeve. The skipped stitch was always a purl stitch because it tucked into the seam better than a knit stitch.

Sewing the sleeve to the body.

Sleeve and side seams

The side seams were the easiest to sew because they matched and have no increasing or decreasing.  Conversely, the sleeves were hardest because of their irregular edges.  I have no advice here - just do your best to match up the changes on each side! :)

Cuff seams

The cuffs on this garment are turned out.  I've written before about being aware of this during knitting.  When sewing the cuff seams, you must work on the opposite side for any seam that will be turned out.

I recommend giving yourself a long tail when casting on the cuffs.  This can be used to neatly join the seam and you can easily hide the end near the elbow, or wherever if goes.

So there are my tips for constructing this garment!  I hope they have been helpful.  :D

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