Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shoulder Straps

One of the features of the traditional designs that intrigued me most when I first launched my Great Guernsey Adventure was the idea of shoulder straps: narrow patterned bands that run horizontally across the shoulders and often down the sleeves as well, taking the place of shoulder seams, because they are knitted to live stitches at the top edges of the front and back yokes by a technique very similar to the one used to attach an edging to a lace shawl. The resulting detail is not only visually striking but also ingenious in its construction, and appeals therefore on two levels, both technical and aesthetic.

At any rate, today's big news is that I have now finished the shoulder straps on my husband's Stornoway!! It took me a few minutes to puzzle out the left-right dynamics of casting on, although oddly enough on this occasion I had only to follow the pattern as written to get the correct results. The trick for once, in other words, was to do nothing special, despite knitting left-handed. And once I got started, the actual knitting went very fast. Each strap is just 20 stitches across, after all, using a simple cable motif that is also featured throughout the body of the sweater. So this step in the pattern was literally a matter of hours rather than days or weeks.

If truth be told, a *minor* challenge did arise when some gaps appeared in the fabric due to excessive looseness in the stitches of the final row across the top of the shoulders, just before the join. In the photo at left, start just below the spot where the stitches on the needle are farthest apart and work downwards to see the loops in question (and of course, as always, click on the thumbnail to take a closer look). The last step in the pattern for both the front and back yokes, in preparation for attaching the shoulder straps, calls for a row of k2tog decreases on the RS, and if I had it all to do over again, I would probably use a smaller needle size just for that decrease row. But as it was, I found that I could easily remove the gaps by gently pulling up the slack from the decrease stitches and invisibly securing the strands on the wrong side.

In the end, apart from that little bit of fussiness (which was efficiently handled), the shoulder straps came out BEAUTIFULLY. Here are several photos: first one completed strap and then the other, and then two different views of both together, seen in the context of the sweater as a whole. As always, click on any of these images to get a closer look.

And now on to the neckband and then the sleeves... I must say that this is a wonderfully pleasant and satisfying sweater to knit, especially without a deadline. I am truly savoring the process as well as the product. Hooray for the Great Guernsey Adventure!!

1 comment:

  1. love those shoulder straps! you must feel so satisfied. i especially love the color.