Time for the final finishing touches: Edging the Neckline and blocking! I see that some have jumped on ahead and either finished their project or edged the neck before finishing their bodice and this makes me happy because it means the 6 pages and video link that I dedicated to explaining the Neckline edging must be working well!
Our last recap on sourcing the pattern and previous blog links (because it’s never too late to join - the blogs will stay on my site):
The Ever-Change Sweater pattern is available from either Ravelry or Etsy. All the essential instructions and video links are in the pattern documents, the MAL blogs are offered with tips to add clarity to the Pattern info or share construction concepts, and Pepper-Gaggle is where you can source specific help/advice and share your project!
The Pattern Launch Blog with details about the Ever-Change Sweater, the MAL and photos of finished tester samples can be found here.
The Prep Blog with details about how to choose size, check for adjustments to finalise required yardage and swatch to achieve gauge can be found here.
Week 1 Blog (Fdc to V-point tips) is here.
Week 2 Blog (V-point to U/arm rounds) is here.
Weeks 3-4 Blog (Lower Bodice and Hemline) is here.
Weeks 5-6 Blog (Sleeves, Embroidery and Cuffs) is here.
Please note that my blog is written using UK crochet terminology.
The End Goal this week for the Ever-Change Sweater :
…is to work the Neckline edging, sew the tails and block so it’s ready to wear & show it off with pride!
This last blog covers some functional concepts & tips about the Neckline, blocking, and a little discussion around Sweater variant options.
Edging the Neckline
By the time you reach this last stage of edging the Neckline you may have noticed how the Neckline seemed to “grow” along with the sweater. The weight of added rounds and ongoing handling of the sweater fabric contributes to this phenomenon, as does the diagonal nature of the edge. The diagonal edge is not stable and can stretch quite a bit if you let it. When you reached the V-point at end Week 1 you might have thought - is this neck hole big enough? …And now it’s like “totally, yes!”
I had to come up with a crochet edge technique that counteracted this stretch and smoothed off any bumps or gapey bits. The canvas stitch fabric provides a good anchor for edging stitches because the spike htrs provide strength and allow the fabric to keep its shape. Given that, I could keep the edging of the diagonal front V-neck simpler by inserting the hook into the holes of the woven fabric rather than bodies of stitches. Working the first leg of each dc2tog into the same place as the previous one here avoids reducing stitch count and adds bulk to suit the weight of the canvas stitch fabric.
Aside from the diagonal V shape of the Front Section, the rest of Round 1 is worked to allow the edging stitches to blend in with the canvas stitch of the sweater and add a little extra height. The idea is to work a dc3tog over the spaces at the top of every Raglan Line and make the adjacent stitches spike htr sts to maintain the alternating pattern of dc and spike htr sts.
Fudging over errors next to the Raglan Line:
Maybe you made an error way back the beginning of the project in the outermost sts of one/some Sections in the first few rows? The Sleeve Sections were straight, and the Back Section increased in the first few rows but at that point it was all a bit foreign until you got the hang of it, right?
No need to panic if you find you have just worked a dc at the end of one Section and now you are supposed to work a dc3tog over a Raglan Line. This means something isn’t quite right because the spike htr and dc sts need to alternate as per canvas stitch.
To fix it just squeeze in an extra spike htr somewhere in the body of, or hole at the base of, an adjacent stitch in the row below. Something similar to what is shown in the photos at top of page 42. If fudging makes your stitch count a few stitches out it won’t be a significant problem (nothing to see here folks…) but any fudging that creates a gap or a pucker may keep drawing attention to itself.
Rounds 1-4 serve to blend in with the canvas stitch fabric of the sweater and stabilise the neck edge, maintain a V-point at the front and finally convert all stitches to dc sts. Blending in is best achieved with the same colour yarn as the fdc at the very beginning, particularly so if there is any fudging required!
Remaining Rounds 5-14 serve to stabilise, add suitable chunk/bulk to the neck edge to match that of the sweater as a whole and to provide an opportunity for colour CONTRAST (yay, but it’s also best to be neat!)
Those “stretched” slip stitches:
It’s just a slip stitch, but not as you know it! If you have already dived into my Stitch Anatomy tutorials, you’ll know that I am all about manipulating any given stitch to make it behave the way you want it to. You want the chain face on RS of fabric to sit well, stitch length be consistent and stretched to a length to match the space between holes in the fabric, so stitch tension doesn’t pucker or cinch the Neckline. This is probably the most challenging part of the Neckline and if you need to redo it a couple of times until you are happy with it, no biggie, it’s all good practice.
Some tips that might help:
-Use the back of the hook shaft to stretch the active loop a bit for each stitch and keep the shaft and handle fairly perpendicular to the fabric when you insert it through the fabric and bring a loop to the front. This helps it to match the distance between the holes - an angled insertion and loop retrieval makes it harder to match length.
-Split the slip stitch into 2 motions instead of one - pull up loop to front and then reposition to draw that loop through the active loop on your hook - this pause or repositioning mid-stitch can slow you down to be more conscious about not accidentally pulling the active loop tighter in the draw through.
Sewing tails and Blocking
The Ever-Change Sweater fabric (canvas stitch) makes it easy to sew in tails. If you are near the Neckline or any ribbing, weave/sew the tail to the dense ribbing or neck edging sts and bury it there. Its best to hide a tail in a garment area of the same colour.
If you are in the middle of a canvas stitch ocean, you can thread the tail on to a tapestry needle and sew it in the bulk created when the spike htr traps the dc of the row before it. Changing directions a few times as you sew through a few different stitch bodies, then doubling back so the last bit of the tail thread locks back into itself (hidden within the fabric) works well. If you are working in the Woolly Whirl/Woolly Whirlette the fibres grip each other more securely than the smoother cotton acrylic of the Whirl/Whirlette, so makers using the latter yarns may sew a longer piece of tail in before doubling back for increased security.
Quite some time ago I wrote a blog all about why and how to do this and you can find it here. I include the photos on page 46 to show you how blocking makes a difference to the finished size. Note that schematic measurements are taken from the sample as shown in the second (after blocking) photo, so it’s at this point that you would compare your own to the measures for your size (assuming you did not customise). The fabric is smoother, the bodice and sleeves are a little bit longer and narrower than pre-blocking and the ribbing reduces elasticity. The Neckline has also smoothed and opened a little.
The two yarn options differ a little in sweater performance. After blocking, the two come out about the same size. The Woolly version is definitely extra warm and the Woolly Whirl/Woolly Whirlette version has a bit more spring in the worked yarn which (for the same number of rows) makes the ribbing a bit shorter than that of the cotton acrylic Whirl/Whirlette as seen in this image below.
By colour placement:
Here are photos of my size M (2 x Yarn A, 2 x Yarn B) alongside Annemie’s size XL (3 x Yarn A, 2 x Yarn B) in the same green colourway (Scheepjes Woolly Whirl in Melting Mint Centre 475 and Woolly Whirlette in Spearmint 574). The change in colours is still gradual and blended but Annemie has chosen to place colours in a slightly different way. The Lower Bodice began with 1 yarn cake of A then switched to the matching colour of Yarn B Woolly Whirlette. Each Sleeve ease used another Yarn A cake, with the darker green for the Neckline edging. It’s good to see how dark or light colour placement can affect the overall look of a project so I included these pics to help you choose.
...And that’s a wrap!
I am loving seeing your developing and finished sweaters in Pepper-Gaggle! I am also VERY much enjoying the look of happiness and pride makers wear along with their new jumper!! Thank you so much if you also share your finished sweater pics in other groups citing the Ever-Change Sweater pattern name and my name as word of mouth in sharing your project is a beautiful way to support any designer!
As to what’s next…? Every creation triggers more ideas I want to explore with crochet, and the eternal problem is not enough time to do them all! Day job/home life sometimes takes priority, but I always have something in the pipeline. Right now I am fixated on both my new canvas stitch and top-down possibilities …so stay tuned!!
Ciao for now!
Thank you to Scheepjes for contributing some of the yarn that I used in developing my first prototype of this design.