The perils of picking up stitches

I was very pleased when I finally finished the front and back piece for my Hélène. I still love the colour, the wool as been a treat to knit with and I was excited to see what it would look like when put together.

Rather than sewing up the front and back pieces the pattern calls for you to pick up stitches and on each side of the shoulder and side/underarms seams and then join them together with a 3 needle bind off. I like this approach as it should be nice and neat. Most of the joins are across purl stitches and, while I can get a lovely invisible edge with a knit stitch, I can never make a purl edged seam invisible.

Picking up the stitches on the first sleeve went fine mainly because I was able to start with cuff. The problem came with the second sleeve. It was the second piece I’d made and I totally forgot to mark the start of the neckline. I made a little guess when I noticed but it became apparent, when I started picking up the stitches from that point, that I’d guessed wrongly.

I tried to go back and work out exactly where the marker should have been. It’s very tricky given the pattern and the small stitches. In the end I gave up and started to pick up the stitches from the cuff. To do that I had to pick them up backwards (picking up stitches on the wrong side with the right side facing me). This seemed to go okay but because I had the wrong side facing me I couldn’t really see what I was doing. When I finished I realised that the previous attempt to pick up stitches had caused the stitches to stretch and left me with a huge ladder all along the seam. 😦

Rather than stopping and thinking of a different approach at that point I decided to press on and finish the 3 needle bind off. That was a bad idea. Despite my optimism it didn’t look better once I’d finished and I wasn’t able to sew it up and fix it. I also realised that if I undid the 3 needle bind off I wouldn’t be able to catch the picked up stitches on the side that would work and would end up with a ladder on that side too.

Uncharacteristically, I wasn’t massively annoyed by this minor stitch picking up disaster.  In a last ditch attempt to get rid of the massive ladder I have blocked the pieces out. This hasn’t quite worked. On the plus side the pattern has blocked out beautifully. I now have two options:

1. Try and create ladders on the other shoulder seam so that they match.
2. Pick up stitches from much further in and risk a bulky seam.

I am going to go for option 2. I am determined that I will make this project work as I want to wear it!



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