April 7, 2004

Button Bands

Are you as excited as I am about today's topic. You know you are. (Stop that complaining, don't we always have a good time? It's not as bad as you think)

Your local yarn harlot is knitting a cardigan. We have another boring picture of the boring raglan cardigan in boring navy blue. This sweater is so boring that I have included my cat for interest. (Yes I know I've mouthed off about the cat pictures before, but that was before I discovered that I was knitting something that had absolutely no blog-merit. I'm hard up for a way to hold your interest) It would be better if the cat would do something besides look bored, but you can't say I didn't try. (She can't even be bothered to look at the sweater. I'm alone in my efforts, I swear it)

boringsweater

This is an ordinary run of the mill cardigan. Stockinette stich, 1x1 ribbing, no cables, no stripes, no reason to live, very little to motivate the knitter. (The urge to knit a single row of yellow into it is nearly overwhelming.) Since clearly, I have very little to think about while knitting this cardie, I have decided to attack the simple button band.

Let's establish my bias. I hate button bands. I hate them with a purity and faithfulness that I have not felt since a girl named Cindy and her two pigtailed thugs chased me home from the 4th grade almost every day for a month. I hate the ones where you pick up stitches and knit the bands out. They always look like I'm investigating freeform knitting until I've frogged it twelve times. I even committed the rule to memory. Two stitches for every three rows. I'm not reckless, I knit it very carefully, and yet....each and every stinking time there is a band that is flared, concave or convex.

To avoid this test of skill, I have accepted that the vertical button band is my alternative. Sadly, there is nothing to love about the vertical band either. Simple instructions though: Cast on 6 (or 7, or 10 stitches, just enough to inspire you to learn to knit backwards to avoid turning for the 467th time at the end of the annoyingly short row) and knit until the band, "slightly stretched" is the right length. "Slightly stretched" is a particularly maddening instruction isn't it? Isn't that sort of subjective? What if you're kinda high strung? Relaxed? Drunk? It is this writers personal suspicion that the reason that they give this vague instruction is because the exact appropriate length of a button band is a complete mystery to them as well. After much experimentation I have determined my own personal system for determining band length. I knit until I feel like I'm going to scream. Then have a coffee and knit until I feel burning, bitter resentment. Then I measure, have a little cry and knit until I feel the apathy of the doomed. This is usually the right length.

So here's the thought. Why knit button bands? Really, especially vertical ones, why wouldn't you just include the stitches for the band when you knit the fronts? Really...why not? What is there to stop me from adding the 7 stitches for the band to the stitches for the front and keep them in rib while I knit it up? I'll do the front where the buttons go first (Aside: Am I completely alone in absolutely, completely not caring in the very least about the left side, right side, boy/girl button thing? Has there ever been anything that mattered less?) Then I'll mark the rows that should have buttonholes, and knit them as I go on the other side. Bob's yer uncle. In my head, this plan marks the sweet release from vertical button bands forever. I feel an odd lightness....oh wait....IT'S JOY!!!

If anyone has a compelling reason why I should not proceed with this plan, speak now or forever hold your peace. (I've always wanted to say that).

Kathy asked yesterday for a refresher on where to get the shawls. I like Kathy, so:
Get your shawl kits here or from the designer (and my charming lys owner) Margret Haas at the Yarn Boutique, 416-760-9129.
When I bought the green yesterday she was already sold out of the blue. I wonder who got the last one? Could we have a moment of silence for Blue Mexican Wave yarn? It shall not pass this way again.

Posted by Stephanie at April 7, 2004 10:30 AM