Friday, September 25, 2009

Azteca: the Finish Line

When we last saw Azteca, the body was mostly done, it had no sleeves, and none of the finishing work was done.

Azteca was designed to use up dribs and drabs of Amazon cotton. As I finished the body, I was running out of green and blue yarn, so I decided to complete the sleeves and then decide how to finish the sleeves, body, and neck.

I'd wanted 3/4 length sleeves, but You Can't Always Get What You Want. There wasn't enough yarn for 3/4 length sleeves in pattern. I contemplated doing the sleeves in simple stripes of purple and variegated yarn, and decided to go for short sleeves instead.

The longer I knit, the more I think about finishing, and the more time I spend actually doing it. With the right finishing, a sweater looks beautiful, perfecto, impressive. Without it, it's just a fancy stitch pattern made into a garment.

I wanted an edge finish that flowed from the lovely syncopated stripes of Azteca but ended crisply. I wanted something that flattered my curves and sat easily on my body.

As I got to the end of the sleeves, however, I was fretting. Stockinette tends to curl up, and, occasionally, it stubbornly flips up the border pattern. The long slip stitches in Syncopated Tweed worsened the curling and would need a strong edge to tame them.

To counteract the curling on the sleeves, I knit 4 rows of 1x1 ribbing, added a picot row, and then worked 8 more rows of ribbing on the underside. The extra length on the underside should help to tame the edge, and the picots would give a nice crisp finish to the sleeves.

The body required more care. I wanted a longer border, because the extra width in the body would give the curling slip-stitch pattern more prancing room. I also wanted the body border to accommodate some short rows, because I think a shirttail edge is more flattering on a woman than a straight edge.

There's no rule that says that the sleeves and body need to have the same kind of trim, but it's nice when there's harmony between them.

I was also running out of purple yarn, so the variegated yarn was the only possible choice for finishing the body. Besides, with a longer border, the variegated yarn would make a softer transition.

So, 1x1 rib again, with 6 short rows to add a gentle curve, and the same picot border as before.

There remained a little crocheting around the neck (a row of single crochet and a row of crab stitch, a nice match for a picot edge) and, voila!



Finis, finis, finis.

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