Some time ago, in the post incorrect-knitting-instructions/ , I described the process of replicating a machine knit sweater for a friend. It has been two years in process, but today I finished it. That being the case, I thought I would post some of my “lessons learned” working with the Brioche stitch.
First of all the, TADA!!!!! Here it is-
Remember, I had no pattern, just the sweater, so my original task was to draw the pieces, make them, then put them together. Praise God, it fits her perfectly!!!!
But, I digress! First lesson–
The Brioche stitch is very stretchy, and is even more so if you are using a stretchy yarn. I selected Knitpicks Comfy cotton because it was the closest yarn to the original. However, since cotton gets softer and more pliable with washing and wearing, I found I had to stabilize the collar, and the bottom and cuff edges.
To stabilize the bottom edge, I began by running a waste yarn through the stitches close to the bottom edge. After adjusting the size as desired, I secured the waste yarn with T-pins. Next, using the working yarn, I used a crochet chain, looped horizontally across to hold the edge in place.
The above photo is of the bottom edge of the sweater.
Here is a photo of the finished product. You can see it makes a beautiful decorative edge for both bottom and cuff.
Stabilizing the cowl collar– To make the collar stand up above the neck edge as it is suppose to, I ended up running several strands of yarn through the underside of the last inch of the collar closest to the neckline. That is what they did on the original sweater-now I know why. It was the only thing that worked. My only other option was to run a horizontal crochet chain along the same route, but I opted for the single strand as it added less bulk.
Lesson 2 – The best cast on, at least for this project, was the Italian invisible cast on. The only change I made was to use one size larger needle to make the original cast on. Then I switched to my #2, to do my set up row for the Brioche stitch.
One note I must add. Be careful to make sure your stitches are in the proper position when you turn to start row two.
Make sure to straighten them out by rolling them away from you. They should look like this, before you start your second row, or your full Brioche stitch row. You will note that all the YO’s are leaning to the left.
Lesson 3- I tried several different seam closures before I settled on crocheting them together, stitch for stitch. Yes, I tried the mattress stitch. In fact it was my closure of choice, but it didn’t do the job on this sweater. I also opted for two ply of the four ply yarn, to do my crocheting with. It worked well- less bulk. The sweater was heavy enough, no since to add more weight.
Lesson 4– Instead of using single decreases, I used double decreases on each side to establish the shape of the cowl collar.
This made another attractive addition to the sweater.
Lesson 5 – I washed my sweater pieces before I put the sweater together. It was kind of scary, but since I had knitted a swatch of the pattern and had washed and dried it, I thought I might as well give it a try.
I actually cheered when they all came out as I had planned. Whewwwwwww!!!! I almost couldn’t stand the excitement.
Although I never thought this moment would come, I am glad I made the attempt to take on this project. My friend is happy. I’m happy. And….. I learned a lot.
Just thought I would share-
PS- It also made me finish my dress form. It is made by putting on a tight T-shirt, and having some one cover you with blue masking tape. Be sure to wear the under garments that you would wear under your clothes.
Once done. you cut down the back. Tape it back together, put a large plastic bag in the inside and start filling it with Fiber Fill, until you have a solid form. Mount the bottom on a heavy cardboard cut to shape. Cut a hold in the center to fit on your choice of Tripod or holder. My sits on a Tripod light holder. The rod runs up the middle and has a piece of board the width of my shoulders, screwed on the top. This board hold the body up on the Tripod. This form is the REAL YOU, whether you like YOU or not. 🙂