OK, OK, I admit that in the last post on this subject, I didn't spell out every little detail about exactly how I was going to finish this bad boy off… but then there would be no suspense left for the big surprise ending.
Good old "Feather & Fan" to the rescue!
F & F is an old, old Shetland stitch pattern that is sometimes called "Old Shale". If I were prone to using words such as "magical" to describe knitting techniques, I might use it here — because this stitch does in fact look good just about any way you do it, with the added bonuses of being easy to execute and easy to memorize, while looking much more complex than it is.
I'll call it "genius" instead of "magic". Those Shetland knitters knew a thing or two, you betcha.
Feather and Fan, or Old Shale stitch
Working flat, over a multiple of 18 sts:
Row 1: K
Row 2: P
Row 3: ** K2tog 3x; [YO, K1] 6x; K2tog 3x **
Row 4: K
When worked in the round, you would convert Row 2 to knit and Row 4 to purl. (Or, do as I did and don't convert anything — because the 2 rows sort of cancel each other out, and you'll still end up with one purl ridge on the RS per pattern repeat.)
Variation: for a smooth stockinette look, you may purl Row 4 too — but beware, this is the row that makes the fabric lie flat. I have also seen instructions for a variation that has Row 4 as a knit row on one repeat, and a purl row on the next. This has the effect of spacing the purl ridges out farther, but I'm not sure if that would be enough to keep the fabric from curling.
|multiple of X sts||# of k2tog||# of [YO, K1]||extra YO?|
The classic version is worked over 18 sts, but it can be used with a few different st multiples — for some you need to include an extra YO at the end of the [YO, K1] sequence. This table here gives you a handy-dandy summary of one "size" up and one "size" down. The greater the number of incs and decs, the greater the scallop effect.
Even just a single classic repeat's worth — 18 sts (with perhaps a couple of edge sts on either side) — makes a nice-looking scarf.
F & F also lends itself well to stripes — simply change color with every pattern repeat — which makes it useful for using up bits and pieces. You often saw it used this way years ago, in big ol' multicolor afghans and that sort of thing.
OK, you might be thinking of unnaturally colored acrylic nightmares, but guess what — Feather and Fan is the secret behind Colinette's classic "Absolutely Fabulous" afghans. See how yummy this stitch can look when it's done properly?
But on this tee, I did something even a little bit different than just stripes. The extremely clever bit here is that the pattern is a 4-row repeat, and I rotated three different yarns — so that each time through the pattern, the yarns used for the purl round and the pattern round are different.
I did a final 1-1/2 repeats in the shiny "Luna" ribbon at the bottom, so it would look like the whole thing was planned, and I bound off on a purl round so the ridge would be part of the bind-off.
I know, I know — in the picture up top there are still ends to weave in — but those are done now, and the sweater awaits wearing to my Garden Home class on Wednesday. I was just so excited to get this done and have it look this good, I couldn't wait to take the picture!
Finishing this particular UFO has been extra-gratifying: I really thought this project was doomed, and I was so disappointed about that because the top half was coming out so nicely, and I really REALLY didn't want to rip it all out.
I also thought my own view of the thing was going to be forever tainted: and I know you know exactly what I mean. You know how it is, when something comes out OK, and everyone else thinks it's fine, but for you — it's doomed to be, "Yeah, yeah, it looks fine now, but it was SUPPOSED to look like…"
Now I think the FO is probably even better than what I had originally planned. How often does THAT happen? I keep telling you, when I finish off all my UFO's, there's gonna be an apocalypse. Maybe this is just the first sign…
… at least I'll have something fabulous to wear for it!