Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Third polo neck

I believe my last attempt at making a polo-neck sweater was the most successful. I went through with my initial plan and knit everything separately seaming all parts together at the end. The process took as much time as with my previous polo-necks. And it was less cumbersome afterall.

Many years ago in Edinburgh I bought four balls of Artesano 100% Alpaca 4 ply in a bright heathery green to make a shawl. Yet, by that time I made so many shawls already for myself and other people that this particular shawl was never even started. There were 205 yards in a ball, but what can be made with 820 yards of bright green?

While I was knitting Salix Alba there was a chance that I wouldn't have enough Rowan Fine Lace in Vintage to finish. So I ordered three more balls just in case. By the time I got my yarn, the sweater was completed and sent to its recipient. What was I supposed to make out of 3 balls of dark lilac Fine Lace?

One day, looking at the flowers during my walk, I got the idea to use these yarns together: they were both lace, alpacas, fine and soft, and should get a similar gauge.
I picked a striped sweater from an old Phildar to use with these colors. The original pattern has a crew neck but from the beginning I was planning on changing it into a polo-neck.
I also decided to get rid of the decorative breast pocket (why bother if it is not useful?). I wanted a slightly oversized style which is why I picked 4th out of 5 sizes explained in the magazine. My sleeves had to be longer than in the patterns and narrower, which is why I used the numbers for the second size: picked up even less stitches for ribbing and gradually increased till the requirements of the second size at the largest part. The most important was to get the same amount of decreases for the raglans as for the back and front.

Making the back and sleeves was easy and boring. It could be done while watching TV or during Zoom meetings.

Till the end I wasn't sure how I was going to make the polo-neck. There was a big temptation to just repeat what I did for the previous sweater. Also, I was running out of yarn, both yarns actually. Eventually, I decided to go with the green till the end. I used up almost every inch of it.

Here is the process step by step:

1. While knitting the front, cast off center 8 sts. Finish both sides separately using directions for the crewneck collar (minus center 8 sts). Wash and block each part.

2. Make two button bands - tubular cast on, 47 sts, start and finish with 2 knit st. 9 rows, one row of stockinette, leave on a length of yarn. The second band is identical, with 3 buttonholes in the 4th row.

3. Sew the button bands to the front.

4. Sew all the parts together.

5. Pick up 150 sts for the collar, tubular cast on, start and finish the first row with 3 knit sts, knit in 1x1 ribs for 20 rows, 2 rows of stockinette, leave sts on a length of yarn.

6. Make a crochet chain around the neck opening. I used a contrasting yarn - it was easier to pick up sts afterwards and it disappears completely at the end under the border, so the color doesn't matter.

7. Sew in the collar from the inside of the neck opening, along the crochet chain.

8. Pick up sts in every loop of the crochet chain from the outside of the neck opening. Knit in stockinette for 2 rows, leave sts on a length of yarn.

9. Sew the outside sts to the collar so they'd create a neat border.

10. Sew in your buttons.

The best part of this method is that the collar is exceptionally steady. Alpaca knits must be seamed otherwise they get easily stretched. All the additional seams help with keeping the shape and form, making the sweater less flimsy and fragile.

This sweater, when finished, turned out exactly as I wanted. Yet, I believe, for a while I'll stay away from polo-necks. There are so many other interesting constructions that I want to try. Two of them I already made, but that will be my next story...

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