Guest Post by Elizabeth DeHority
I'm sorry it's been so long since we've posted another installment of "how to do the stressful rows of a BSJ the easy way"…
Many people have gotten through the part where you knit back and forth on the center 90 stitches, for 10 ridges… 20 rows. I always like that part, because it's fast and easy and it means that we're almost ready to turn this oddly shaped piece of knitting into a real sweater.
If you are making your sweater longer, perhaps you added extra rows here. If that's the case, you also need to pick up extra stitches. You will need to pick up one extra stitch for every two rows, AND when we talk about stitch counts later, you need to remember to add that same number to your counts. For example, if you wanted an extra two inches and you were knitting in bulky yarn, you might have knit an extra ten rows, or five ridges. When we tell you in a minute to pick up ten stitches, you will need to pick up 15. AND you will have five extra stitches before your first increase and after your second increase. Don't worry, you'll see in a minute what I mean.
Many people worry about picking up stitches… they see examples on ravelry that look quite sloppy, or they've tried and aren't pleased with the results. I pick up stitches with my work flat on a table, so that I can see right where to go. I made a video of my failure-proof method,
but you'll need to forgive the george noise in the background and my pneumonia voice…
You can, of course, pick up your stitches any way you want. With my method, you'll need an extra end of yarn, which may mean extra ends to weave in at the end, but since it's otherwise so easy, I think it's worth it.
Here we go:
Knit your last row of the 90's, which should be a right side row. Then lay your work down on the table and pick up ten stitches from the side of the flap of 90s that you just knit. Now you're to the 34 stitches that you put on a piece of yarn or a spare needle a long time ago. Put those onto any spare needle you have around, and knit those stitches onto your working needle… so now your working needle has the 90 from the flap, the ten you picked up, and the 34 from before.
Take a breath and turn your work around to knit the next row. Knit the 34 that you just knit, then the ten that you picked up, then the 90 across the bottom. Now you need to pick up ten stitches (or however many rows of the flap you made) on the other side of the flap. Then you can guess what comes next… take the 34 stitches from the other yarn or holder, put them on a needle, and knit those onto your working needle.
You did it! If you made it regulation size, you should have about 178 stitches on your needles.
One common question: what if my longest circular needle isn't working around all those stiches and around the corners? Answer: You can squish the stitches together and just struggle around the corners for a bit, and it will get easier, or you can put your work on two circular needles, one for each half, and transfer it to one needle later when it's easier.
Next you need to plan your next rows. See your pattern for where to put your markers for increases. Basically they go in the corners where you turned from the bottom of the flap to the edges of the flap. If you are making regulation size, your first marker would be after 44 stitches (34 from the stitches on waste yarn, ten from the picked up stitches…) but your number will be higher if you added rows to the flap. You'll be working only a few rows until you do buttonholes, and then we're almost done.
If you're making a big sweater with bulky yarn, you're not going to want to follow the pattern exactly for the buttonholes, because they will be too far away from the edges. I would work them after four or five ridges, and then only do one or two more ridges before casting off.
Do you tend to cast off tightly? That would pucker in the edges of this sweater… so you can either cast off loosely or you can use a needle several sizes bigger when you cast off.
We will have one more post, on sewing up and weaving in ends… and then the post about the prizes… perhaps I'll have time this weekend to get my two halves to meet and then I can post pictures of my sweater. maybe even on george