Saturday, January 12, 2008

Neck Hugger

Last year my sister Angela gave me a very generous gift certificate to String, my favorite yarn store -- at least before it moved. (Now it's up a flight of brownstone steps which are very hard for me to manouevre on all but my best days. ) Anyway, I treated myself to some qiviuk yarn. Lydia, the brilliant knitter at String, had created a wonderful pattern for a neck hugger I fell in love with. Rather than experimenting with the expensive qiviuk, I made a trial version with some KPPPM Koigu I had in my copious stash. [Color 435 dye lot 34; 100% merino wool, 50 g/ 175 yds.] KPPPM is a tightly plied 2ply and can make a stiff fabric.

This is double knitting at its best and I was eager to try Lydia's beautiful pattern. Because I believe this might be a proprietary pattern, despite it's not having any copyright on it, I will only tell you about the changes I made.

With the recommended #3 needles I used a provisional cast-on to start which made a very clean tubular beginning. The pattern promised a dimension of 5.5" x 27" but no gauge was mentioned. The dimensions after washing, which relaxed the yarn, are 4.75" x 29". This is better for me. Instead of 11 ridges noted in the pattern, to achieve almost the desired width I had to make 14 ridges. I decided not to use Lydia's cast off of * ssk, pass 1st st over* . I painstakingly divided the two sides of the tubular knitting onto two #1 needles and kitchener-stitched the entire 118 sts on each side -- yes a vast total of 236. I wanted to match the tubular cast-on edge. It worked out beautifully, actually. For the side borders, I picked up what worked, not the recommended 42 sts.

To finish I stitched the two layered button hole together.

Because I really like both sides and can't really decide which is the right and which is the wrong side, I decided to make it reversible and bought special buttons for each side. My favorite is the darker silver rounded one which reminds me of the buttons on loden felted coats, jackets and capes I'd had as a child.

The side border is thick so I made certain to buy buttons with posts and sewed them on firmly with a little extra height, wrapping the thread around the extra height. The button is probably supposed to be at the edge of the opposite side border but I didn't quite understand the directions. It works quite nicely with the button in the middle.

So, now I'm ready for the qiviuk.

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