I am very happy: my black Brioche stitch neckwarmer is -finally- finished!
I need to go back a bit to explain the 'finally' part of it. I started knitting about 30 or so years ago, give or take. Then about a good dozen years ago, I stopped. I know why: I got stuck when I knit my first self-designed (literally off the top of my head) top-down garment: the Black and White "Piano Key" top because I didn't know how to do the underarm area. (I later learnt that you need to cast on about two inches of new stitches, knit into the sleeves on one side of it, and into the body on the other)
My hiatus from knitting found an end with this project: a simple scarf. At the time I had aimlessly searched for the word 'spiral' on Google images. Up came this photo on Red Threads blog, well eventually. I really liked those buttons and then I looked at the neckwarmer too: nice!
For some reason that was enough to inspire me. I had seen the yarn shop All the Fun of the Fair on the Internet and thought the name was fun. Now I had a reason to go check it out.
I got some Patons Smoothie DK yarn in black. It is gorgeous and glossy, I love black (I know: a very un-knitterly thing), it wasn't too expensive so I thought: I might as well.
That's how I began to knit again after that long time. I just didn't understand the instructions for Brioche stitch in the pattern. Not being used to reading pattern instructions in English (it is not my mother tongue) I got stuck at 'slip a stitch'. Hunh? How does that work? Slip a stitch, in what direction? From what needle, and where to? Surely it can't mean to slip a stitch off the needle and drop it, can it?
Back onto the Internet, trying to find a clever site that would tell me. Un-unh, nothing doing. But I found the website for a London-based knitting group that teaches. Aha! Sounds like a good idea. So off I went to my first knitting group meeting at Leon's with Stitch London (still called Stitch & Bitch at the time) - back in September 2009.
I found out that there was no dropping of stitches of the needle involved, slipping meant just that: slip off the left needle onto the right needle, without knitting the stitch. Oh! Is that all?
Brioche further involves a yarnover laid actually over that slipped stitch. Same thing if you just purl it off and, in the next row, knit into the row below. I prefer placing the yarn as if to purl (resulting in the yarnover) and slipping the stitch off. That just makes more sense to me.
In January 2010 I finally attached the loops for the buttons. Only I stuck them onto the wrong bit of the scarf, silly me. I picked the project back up, finally (see what I mean?) in October. ...and managed to pull a thread about two inches from the end across the entire width of the scarf because I couldn't find the loose end I'd already woven in. Oh, woe me!
I had to unravel those two inches and re-knit them (that really pissed me off, this project was beginning to grate!). Then I -finally- attached the button loops in the right place (yay!) and as of the Sunday just gone I -only- had to find some suitable buttons and actually sew them on. Then I would be done. Phew...
But my mother's eldest daughter ain't dim (err, some of the time...) - that fiasco with the wrong loop placement has taught me a thing or two (give someone enough time and they actually learn!) - I wasn't about to sew those buttons on in the wrong place. But I had a feeling that the scarf might win again... so I didn't. Sew them on I mean.
Instead, and here's where the clever bit comes in: instead, I sewed a smaller button under the button itself, but not too close: connected by a bit of thread. Do you call this connecting link thing a shank? I'm not sure. (PS: crikey, I think shank is even right!)
Here's what it looks like:
Advantage: I can slip those smaller buttons into the scarf fabric anywhere I like. If the first placement doesn't suit, then I can move it. Success!