I’m in the middle of doing a lovely sweater designed by Wendy Bernard called Slinky Ribs. Clever, clever design, and I’m loving her approach of changing up a design if you want to tweek it. It’s not like I need permission, but helpful that a designer recognizes that we knitters will do it, and gives some advice along the way.
I’m most sticking to the pattern (raising a neckline, making 3/4 sleeves instead of short cap ones, options in her pattern already), but I did decide on a different cast-off for the sleeves.
I had 2×2 ribbing. The question was — how to bind off so that it looks good and has the proper stability. Here was my solution:
- I changed to one smaller needle size (from 4 to 3 in this case) and continued in pattern for one inch. This allowed me to continue to a smaller part of my arm in pattern without decreasing.
- I then did a min-twist kind of stitch to switch from 2×2 ribbing to 1×1 ribbing. Why did I want to do this? I wanted to do a tubular bind-off, which is easier to do with 1×1 ribbing. The mini-twist is this: (k1, drop next stitch off needle [it should come forward], purl the next stitch behind the dropped stitch, put dropped stitch back on the needle, knit that stitch, p1) repeat between the () until the end of the round.
- One round in the same 1×1 ribbing (this is optional).
- Then I switched to double-knitting (this part is expendable, but I think it gives more stability to the edge, and gives the option of putting in some elastic at the edge if you want to do so. (1st round – knit the knits, slip the purls wyif. 2nd round – slip the knits wyib, purl the purls.). Lot’s of places to find videos and descriptions of this, I know Lucy Neatby has a cool DVD on this technique.
- Finally, do a tubular bind-off — check the Google or You-tube for some good videos. This page looks pretty good, and it includes the double knitting technique. (Edited to add that The Nostalgic Knitter has now posted a video of my technique.)
Here’s the final result:
The orange stitch marker shows where I changed needle sizes for the smaller ribbing. You can’t really tell that I’ve switched from 2×2 ribbing to 1×1. This is a firm and elastic edge. Yay!
And I couldn’t help adding this one: