Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SSC: Starting the Bottom Ribbing

By Leigh

Ready for some Shetland Sampler Cardigan progress? Me too. :)

After I completed the body of the sweater, I was ready to start on the bottom ribbing. That meant cutting off the COWYAK and picking up the left behind stitches.

Remember the COWYAK? (cast on with waste yarn and knit) If not, click here. To remove it, I slipped the needle into each Shetland stitch and then cut off the COWYAK stitch. Like this ....

Picking up COWYAK stitches.Then I was ready to start on the bottom band. On a whim I decided to try a corrugated ribbing, which is a traditional Fair Isle technique. I chose black and gray, the two colors I have the most of. I had already calculated that I had enough black for all the bands, but I really wanted to try this anyway.

It didn't take long however, for me to realize that it was totally unsatisfactory. Here is a photo of what I mean, taken after I transferred it from the circular needles to some waste yarn....

An unsatisfactory bottom sweater band.The body of the sweater was puckering and the ribbing was flipping up. I was using a needle two sizes smaller than I used for the body, so I could understand the puckering, but not the flipping up. Isn't a smaller size needle supposed to prevent this? Pooh.

Now thinking that I should have done my homework on this before I started to knit, I figured "better late than never." In searching through my knitting books and the internet, I found the most useful information at Maggie's Rags. Under her "Knitting Tips" I found a whole page on Corrugated Ribbing: Problems and Solutions. Very helpful.

One thing I learned is that because corrugated ribbing is stranded, the end result is very tight. Consequently, a needle two sizes smaller isn't necessary and the same size needle as the body was knit with is recommended.

I also learned the curling is typical of this technique, but there are measures to prevent it. One solution is to use a very tight cast on. However, I'm picking up and knitting downward from the sweater body. Other solution is an off numbered rib pattern such as K1P2 or K2P3.

In thinking through these, I also saw that the two-color ribbing is a lot thicker than the body of the sweater. I'm not sure I like that. So, back to the mental drawing board. I'm going to have to make some decisions and I may end up with all black ribbing after all.

Posted 13 Jan. 2009 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com

Related Posts:
A Shetland COWYAK
Technically Not Fair Isle
Shetland Sampler Cardigan Complete!


Dorothy said...

It's good to know that other knitters also go through a development and re-think process to get the result they want.

It strikes me that, other than the thickness of this corrugated ribbing, another reason to re-think might be that the black and grey is very bold contrast and could dominate the finished jumper?

That waste cast on technique has served you well. If only I'd used it on my last jumper I wouldn't have been in the position of looking at the finished jumper and thinking the rib should have been slightly longer. I'll remember this technique for next time!

Mim said...

Good the shetland sweater again!

Sue said...

Corrugated ribbing....I've been trying to get it to behave this week also! Did you do K2P2? I didn't have the curling problem, but did get freaked out by ripply edges and that it didn't look like normal 1 color K2P2.

I just finished the cuff of a sleeve on a sweater I'm making and then re-did the neck. I've got a picture here: http://lifeloomslarge.blogspot.com/2009/01/sweet-sleeve-success.html

I'm not a strong enough knitter to offer you advice...I don't know how to do that knitting down thing that you're doing. I did scour ravelry.com for corrugated ribbing advice, and that helped me get past a stuck point.

Good luck!

Leigh said...

Dorothy, I'm glad you mentioned that about the 2 colors in the ribbing because I've been wondering the same thing. The more I think about it, the more it seems better to just do a single color for the cuffs and bands.

Mim, I'm always glad to please you Shetland shepherds!

Sue, thanks for the encouragement. Yes, it's a K2P2 ribbing. It never occurred to me to search Ravelry for some information and answers. Good idea.

Jewel said...

I can't wait to see how the ribbing looks when your done. I've been looking forward to seeing this sweater complete!

Leigh said...

Thank you Jewel! That's just the kind of encouragement I need.

Wool Enough said...

That's happened to me sooo many times. I have a mental image of how I think it will look, then I begin knitting and it doesn't look that way at all. If you were to go with a single color for the ribbing, I'd vote for grey instead of black. Seems a little softer (in the not-so-reliable mental image, of course).

Leigh said...

Wool Enough, I'm so glad you said gray because I've been thinking along the same lines. I'll give it a try, maybe one of the cuffs this time!

cyndy said...

The sweater is looking great!

Thanks for all the links, I've never tried the corrugated ribbing, so it's good of you point out the up's and down's.

ps I vote for gray also....