ROGUE – ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK

This weekend saw some Rogue advances and retreats.

Advances

First, I knit up to the point where I had the same width of finished motif-bearing front as I had stockinette hem facing. Because of the needle size change, this happened on row 10 of the side panel motif chart – a few rows before I was to begin the front pocket, very conveniently – a row without cable crossings on the side panel motif chart. I decided that I wanted to fuse the hem to the body, rather than wait and sew it down later.

This isn’t part of the original pattern. Jenna suggests sewing down the facing in as part of finishing. It would be difficult to write up doing fusing. The "how" is easy (see below). The "when" is harder. When to do it depends on row gauge, which can vary enough to make the answer too subjective for hard and fast directions, especially considering that not everyone would be doing it on the same row, and that exact directions would vary depending on the row used. I can see why she didn’t include it.

Here’s why. For me, fusing the facing posed two potential challenges. The first is common to everyone making either the cardigan mod or the original pullover. The side motif chart includes increases. There are more stitches on Row #10 than there were on Row #1. 21 as opposed to the original 15. If I were to knit one facing stitch with one body stitch, I’d run out of facing stitches, and the hem would be bias skewed.

The second challenge is unique to cardigan mod makers. I’m doing a zip front. If I just work the facing in straight across I won’t be able to encapsulate the lower part of the zipper tape inside the doubled-over hem facing. Not a vital concern to be sure, but one of those finishing/neatness details that are nifty to do (if you remember in time).

So I went about my fusing step. I popped open my provisional cast-on’s crochet chain, and slipped the stitches it released onto my smaller circ, one by one. I folded the piece along my turning row with the purl side on the inside, and began working my body and facing together. Doing this is a lot like working a three-needle bind-off, but without the final bind-off step. Working in my established pattern, I either knit or purled one stitch of the body together with one stitch of the facing, uniting them into one unit. When I got to the side panels I fudged a bit. Because I had more side panel stitches than facing stitches, starting two stitches before each panel, and ending about two after – and trying to be more or less even in my spacing between – I worked one stitch of the panel without a companion stitch from the facing. I did this as many times as I had "leftovers."I am pleased to report that my facing was nicely fused into the main piece, and even in my non-stretchy cotton the facing relaxed nicely, avoiding any puckering or undue flaring out.

Now about leaving room for the zipper tape. I didn’t just begin fusing at the stitch. I left the first and last three stitches of the facing on safety pins, working the corresponding stitches of the body by themselves. I’ll go back later and either end them off with a crochet hook (possibly tacking them down with a couple of sewing stitches), or I’ll sew them down to the zipper tape when I do my final finishing. In either case, I’ve left a slot along the zipper edge to accommodate tape placement.

In other issues, as predicted the Little Dragon Skin pattern did scallop at the bottom edge. The facing accommodated the scallops with no problems, and in fact – I think the non-straight edge looks quite interesting. I like the effect and the treatment because the facing is keeping the scallops from cupping and turning in on themselves. I think I’ll have to play with this hem facing technique on other projects using deeply embossed or deformed edge patterns.

All in all, the fusing step was a rousing success.

Retreat

O.K. Having done all of this, I ripped back the entire thing and started again. I am now up to exactly the same point as I showed in Thursday’s post. I did this because of a size issue.

My gauge was spot on. The measurements were good. However, I forgot to include one vital thing in my ease calculations. Target Daughter is in the cocoon phase of early adolescence – the phase in which one wants to hide in overly large, baggy, anonymous garments. I seem to remember similar sentiments, and that the whole hiding thing ended up being a prelude to a later butterfly phase.

She "tried on" the piece on the pre-pocket row and was shocked that it wasn’t going to be as generously full a fit as her original concept. So being a good maternal-unit, I decided to subscribe to her comfort level, and start again.

This time it’s going to be harder, as the measurements of the garment she’s chosen as a size model combined with my smaller native gauge preclude use of the stitch counts of the largest size of the original Rogue pattern. I’m going to increase the width of the body panels a bit, but not tinker with altering the angles or numbers of the waistline decreases, nor mess with the armhole. The largest armhole should be adequate. If not, there’s always ripping back and trying again.

If anyone HAS done an up-sizing mod on Rogue and has met special concerns with which I am blissfully unaware, I’d greatly greatly appreciate a warning. Finally, this ripping back thing is good for followers of String. On this second go-around I hope to be able to provide photos of the fusing process.

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