August 22, 2006


I received many comments and e-mails about the experimentation I did in picking up for the armholes on my vest. Because there is so much interest, I thought I should add the following notes:

When picking up between stitches the Feitelson way, you are picking up underneath both a running thread and a float. In the case of my vest, the running thread is always Lilac because I knitted the edge stitches in Lilac, and the float is White. If you were to fold back the ribbings and look at the pickup, here and there the white float is noticeable. Just a tiny fraction of White shows, less than a purl blip (if you are familiar with that term), if you go to the trouble of looking really closely; this won't show at all when the garment is worn. I don't think it looks bad.

However, if you were to pick up in one leg of the edge stitch, as Starmore would have you do, you are always picking up in the main color. (In the case of my vest, always picking up in Lilac.) Never ever would any of the float color show. For this reason, the Starmore pickup is prettier.

My conclusion was that picking up between the stitches adds stability to ribbing. (Because you are picking up under both a running thread and a float, rather than in just half a stitch, the ribbing is more strongly secured to the garment.) And, as I mentioned before, picking up between the stitches results in a ribbing that lies flatter and was much less prone to gap. And, for me, those factors far outweighed the prettiness of the Starmore pickup.

There's probably someone out there who is smart enough to work the new yarn for the ribbing under only the running threads, avoiding the floats. That person is smarter than I.

While experimenting with these different pickups, I kept remembering Catherine Lowe and the workshop I took with her in April. You'll recall that we picked up stitches morning, noon, and night in that workshop. Two things Catherine Lowe said kept coming back to me:

First, I kept hearing, in my mind's ear, her saying the word 'stability.' In four days of workshop, Catherine Lowe probably used the word 'stability' a hundred and fifty times. Stability was obviously something she values.

And second, she told this little story about how you'll be going along, merrily picking up three stitches out of every four, and you'll come to a place where you should pick up, but that spot is a little gappy or stretched out. And you'll think to yourself, I'll pick up in there, and by putting this new yarn in that little hole, it will help to fill it in. Actually, it will have the opposite effect. It's counter-intuitive, but true: Pick up in that little hole, and you'll stretch out that hole even more, and make it even more noticeable. Catherine Lowe said that you are better off picking up on either side of that stretched-out spot -- even if that means that you have to cheat on your pick-up ratio -- and that will help to close it up. So that's exactly what I did on my vest -- and it worked most excellently well.

Vest, front view. Mugsy wasn't so sure about getting his picture taken. The fence is in need of paint -- a project that we've been working on, this summer.

Vest, side view. One of the things I'm most proud of about this project is the jogless jog at the left side, where the rounds started and ended, and which you can see in this photo, under my left arm. Notice how the stars and diamonds are all continuous; you cannot tell where the rounds started or ended.

Yarn: Jamieson's Double Knitting, colors Lilac, White, Hyacinth.
Needles: Sizes US 4, US 8.
Pattern: My own design, using a stitch pattern from The Complete Book of Traditional Fair Isle Knitting.

Posted by Karen at August 22, 2006 12:54 PM

That may be the prettiest vest I have ever seen, but you cheated, by putting it on such a beautiful model!

Posted by: Anne at August 22, 2006 06:37 PM

Your vest is absolute perfection! I really like how you modeled with Mugsy. I think it looks great on you.

Posted by: Jewel at August 22, 2006 06:57 PM

Aha! The pictures I've been waiting for!

Lovely, Karen! Thank you so much for sharing all your hard work on this vest with us!

Posted by: Ryan at August 23, 2006 08:52 AM

I've really enjoyed watching you work on this project, Karen. The finished product is beautiful (and it fits you perfectly)!

Posted by: Denise at August 24, 2006 08:24 PM

Beautiful! You should be very proud of this design. Fantastic. I'm gushing.

Posted by: terri at August 24, 2006 11:02 PM