It has taken me three nights to accomplish this:
But from here on, at least for the right front, I think it will be smooth sailing until I’m done with the collar shaping and up to the shoulder seam.
Why did it take so long for such a seemingly simple thing? Well, here is where the Katharine Buss book becomes fuzzy. The directions for the shawl collar in that book are given for specific stitch counts (a buttonband of 11 stitches—one selvage and ten in 1x1 ribbing). I could tell right away that her yarn is different, because a buttonband in Mountain Mohair of 11 stitches would be huge. But how different? I still have no idea what thickness yarn or needle size she is using because the book doesn’t tell you that.
So I picked a buttonband that works for me—seven stitches plus one selvage. Notice, though, that my buttonband leaves me with a knit stitch at the point where the band meets the sweater body, and Katharine’s leaves you with a purl. This difference is not insignificant.
To widen the collar, you need to add a stitch and then convert the one of the body stitches to ribbing. This means that you have to make one at the end of the ribbing:
And then you convert the next stitch to ribbing, which for me is to knit it.
I’m left with the awkward process of purling into this make one. The only way to fix this would be to rip and start over—and there is no way that is happening. I like the way my ribbing looks when it ends with a knit, so I’m living with the awkwardness of purling the make one, but it is slow.
Now Katharine’s yarn being thinner allows her to space the increases every six rows. This clearly isn’t going to work for me. And to figure out how often I needed to increase, I took my charts and pasted three of them to mock up the front:
Notice how many tries I have just on the pencil-and-paper chart. The solid red circles are a different try from the open red circles. I made an equivalent number of tries in the actual knitting--also complicated by some screw ups in the armhole shaping. To shape the collar, I have to increase every row, and I was concerned that this would make an angle that is too sharp. Even though I’m not at the end of the increases for the collar, I think it will be fine. I’m also pleased with the way the cable travels along the collar shaping—this was serendipitous.
The next major challenge, after I finish the left front, is to figure out how big the collar should be. And I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. The book fails me again because it gives no measurements at all. The neck has to be eased into the collar, and so I think I’ll have to do at least one collar swatch just for guidance. I can’t bear to think about that now. I want to finish the front tonight, chart the left front over the weekend, and knit it next week. Then I’ll worry about the collar itself.