Four Col­lars, Three Ways

Creative Knitting - - CONTENTS - BY BETH WHITE­SIDE

By Beth White­side

Bot­tom Up

Want to learn some new tech­niques that will leave you with more than a swatch in the end? The fol­low­ing tu­to­rial not only teaches new skills but leaves you with wear­able art!

Cir­cu­lar col­lars are small projects, good for learn­ing new tech­niques while adding a lit­tle piz­zazz to your wardrobe. We can con­struct them by work­ing from the bot­tom up, the neck down, or from side to side, tak­ing ad­van­tage of each method to add in­ter­est. For ex­am­ple, pick­ing up stitches in an eyelet or pi­cot chain can em­bel­lish the top, bot­tom or side edges of a piece, depend­ing on which way the col­lar is knit. Let’s look at the con­straints of each method with some ex­am­ples.

A col­lar is ba­si­cally two con­cen­tric cir­cles: an in­ner cir­cle, which sits close to the neck, and an outer cir­cle, some­where closer to the shoul­ders. As such, the in­ner cir­cle has to have fewer stitches (or rows) than the outer cir­cle. If we be­gin at the outer edge and work in­ward, we must de­crease stitches; if we be­gin at the in­ner edge and work out­ward, we must add stitches; and if we work side­ways, the outer edge must have more rows than the in­ner edge. Col­lars worked from the bot­tom up il­lus­trate the effect of two op­tions for de­creas­ing stitches. In the Un­der­stated Sim­plic­ity col­lar (page 100), the pairs of de­creases worked ev­ery other row are stacked on ei­ther side of the shoul­der. Stack­ing the de­creases keeps them from af­fect­ing the stitch pat­tern while also cre­at­ing the squared-off shape of this col­lar.

The stitch pat­tern alone adds a nice scal­loped edge to the col­lar. Stacked yarn overs are worked on ei­ther side of a knit stitch, and a com­pen­sat­ing dou­ble de­crease a few stitches away keeps the stitch count con­stant. Wrong-side rows con­tain only knits and purls; the shap­ing de­creases of the col­lar are worked on these rows, via p2­tog and ssp (slip, slip, purl). The p2­tog is the k2­tog’s com­ple­ment, and is just as sim­ple. The ssp re­quires a lit­tle more jug­gling, sim­i­lar to that of an ssk.

The baby ca­ble in the Pretty in Pi­cot col­lar (page 102) takes a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to de­creas­ing away stitches. In­stead of de­creas­ing two stitches in the same four places ev­ery other row, 22 evenly spaced stitches are de­creased ev­ery six rows. These de­creases are tucked be­hind the ca­ble cross­ings to dis­guise their pres­ence. Dis­tribut­ing the de­creases in this man­ner keeps the col­lar cir­cu­lar.

This col­lar also fea­tures a pi­cot chain edg­ing along the bot­tom and sides. Live stitches picked up along the edg­ing are joined via de­creases to the sel­vage stitches as the rows of the col­lar are worked. This gives a nice curve to the col­lar fronts; a pi­cot bind-off com­pletes the look of the edg­ing.

Top Down

The She’s So Edgy top-down col­lar (on page 104) is shaped by adding eight stitches via KOK dou­ble in­creases (knit 1, yarn over, k1 into the same stitch) ev­ery few rows. Once four new stitches have been added, they are in­cor­po­rated into the four-stitch pat­tern re­peat. Ad­di­tional cir­cum­fer­ence is cre­ated by chang­ing to larger nee­dles ev­ery few rows.

Like the Pretty in Pi­cot baby ca­ble col­lar, this col­lar be­gins with picked-up stitches in a dec­o­ra­tive chain. The eye­lets pro­vide a pretty edge at the top of this col­lar; the same tech­nique gives the side-to-side col­lar loops for its but­tons.

When pick­ing up stitches in pi­cots or eye­lets, first count the num­ber of pi­cots/ eye­lets and de­ter­mine how many “ex­tra” stitches you need. Spac­ing them evenly, work yarn overs be­tween picked-up stitches to add your ex­tras; work yarn overs through the back loops on the fol­low­ing row to pre­vent holes.

Like many shawls, the top-down col­lar has an ap­plied lace edg­ing worked per­pen­dic­u­larly to the col­lar body. The tech­nique is sim­i­lar to that used on the Pretty in Pi­cot col­lar: as the rows of edg­ing are be­ing worked, the edge stitch is worked to­gether with a live col­lar stitch to join the two pieces. Joins are worked ev­ery other row; the joined stitch is slipped to be­gin the next row.

Side to Side

Work­ing side to side re­quires one edge of the col­lar to be much longer than the other. Short rows on the longer side are the means to this end. Sev­eral garter short rows have been in­serted into the ba­sic lace pat­tern to add this length. The lace pat­tern it­self adds to the outer cir­cum­fer­ence, the crossed elon­gated stitches adding length to one side of the work.

Elon­gated stitches are cre­ated in two steps: first, by wrap­ping the yarn mul­ti­ple times around the right-hand nee­dle, ei­ther be­tween or within a stitch; and se­cond, by work­ing those stitches on the fol­low­ing row. The lace pat­tern wraps are worked be­tween stitches, with the ex­tra length dis­trib­uted to the stitches by slip­ping them back and forth be­fore work­ing them.

Once the elon­gated stitches are back on the left-hand nee­dle, a group of four stitches are over the other set of four stitches, chang­ing the or­der of stitches be­fore they are knit. Work­ing the stitches on this row can be a bit of a chal­lenge; the ex­tra length and re­order­ing make it feel awk­ward. How­ever, the net effect is worth the time it takes to fig­ure it out!

When work­ing col­lars side to side, an­other con­sid­er­a­tion must be stitch pat­tern di­rec­tion­al­ity, i.e, does it look dif­fer­ent bot­tom up from top down? While the lace pat­tern is not strongly di­rec­tional, adding the eyelet chain edg­ing makes the col­lar it­self di­rec­tional. With that in mind, the two fronts are worked separately as mir­ror im­ages, and grafted to­gether at the back neck.

The ex­am­ples above il­lus­trate the con­straints and op­por­tu­ni­ties of ba­sic col­lar con­struc­tion meth­ods, as well as, hope­fully, add some new tools to your knit­ting tool­box. Make them as is, or use them as jump­ing off points for your own col­lars!

For the pi­cot chain, *work a knit stitch, but don’t slide off; put a new stitch back on the left-hand nee­dle by tak­ing it un­der the stitch; re­peat from * once. Bind off two stitches; slip the re­main­ing stitch back to the left-hand nee­dle. Re­peat to...

To work an ssp: Slip 2 kwise, con­sec­u­tively to turn them; slip them back to the left-hand nee­dle. In­sert the right-hand nee­dle from left to right through the stitches, and purl them to­gether through both loops.

Picked-up stitches along the pi­cot-point chain are worked to­gether with edge stitches: ssp on right-side rows, k2­tog on wrong-side rows.

No­tice the yarn overs on ei­ther side of the knit stitch; the k3­tog cre­ates the scal­lop by draw­ing three stitches to­gether on right-side rows.

Pick up stitches by work­ing through re­v­erse yarn overs (or bind-offs on pi­cot). Add nec­es­sary stitches by work­ing yarn overs in be­tween picked-up stitches.

Wrap yarn three times around the nee­dle be­tween stitches. On the fol­low­ing row, slip stitches al­low­ing ex­tra length to un­ravel. Slip back to left-hand nee­dle and pull to straighten.

Be­gin with two stitches. Work a re­v­erse yarn over, then k2­tog through both loops, wrap­ping yarn back­ward. Wrap­ping back­ward while work­ing through the back loop keeps stitches open.

Slip edg­ing stitch and col­lar stitch knit­wise and join them to­gether with an ssk. Turn; slip the joined stitch purl­wise to be­gin next edg­ing row.

Lift stitches 5–8 over 1–4; hold stitches in or­der with left in­dex finger, knit across all eight sts.

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