Monday, April 14, 2008

Zip it, lady!

I finished the Drop-Stitch Cardigan from IK Fall 2005! It took all of 11 days. It's blocking right now, but I'll show you pictures in a few days when it dries. The cardi was very easy to knit, and the pattern worked well. It's clearly the best-fitting sweater I've made yet. I knit the 43.5" version and hit gauge (well, I did use the suggested yarn, which always helps). Over my clothes, this is about .5" of negative ease over the bust.

But I've never put in a zipper before. It took me almost a full afternoon to do this! Well, partly because I'm not really well, but still. It was hard work.

I had instructions from the IK issue and from KnitPicks, who have some nice tutorials on their new community site. The KnitPicks tutorial is more nicely written and has some excellent tips, but the IK instructions actually seemed like they'd give a more finished result, so I basically followed IK but used some of the KP ideas. And I added a dollop of my own — with mixed results.

My first idea: sew the front i-cord bands shut so that I could place the closed zipper. This turned out not to work out well, because it didn't account for the fact that a negative-ease sweater is going to pull at the opening a bit.

Then I turned it over and placed the zipper on the WS. I pinned it in place, matching every 10 stitches on each side with a pin, then basted with thick white thread:

Then I pulled out the yarn holding the front shut, unzipped the zipper and tried it on. It looked fine (even and all that), but it gapped (showed the zipper) more than I wanted. So in the end, I barely used all that pinning and basting, as you'll see.

First I stitched down the edge of the zipper to a column of knit stitches on the WS. Because I wanted the zipper to be set in more, I tugged at it a little and stitched to the far side of the column of which I'd previously lined the zipper up with the near side. Er, I'm not sure the grammar is right in that sentence, but basically I originally had lined the edge of the zipper up with the outside left edge of the column. Now I stitched to the middle of the right edge, instead, to drag the zipper to the right. I took out the pins as I went; the basting allowed me to tug the zipper a little (it had enough give) while keeping it in place vertically.

Next I took out the basting, pushed the teeth of the zipper a bit more to the right, and sewed the zipper in place with a running stitch that went all the way through to the front. I sewed close to the teeth and with relatively small stitches, though I could have done better.

I was worried at this point — would it gap? pucker? lie all bumpy? show the zipper after all?

But no. It was ... just right. Goldilocks style:

This was just the look I wanted.
I was so happy I almost did a little jig, but instead I just sat down and had a nice rest before blocking. Rob wondered at my wearing my new sweater in 90+ degree weather. :-)

1 comment:

Earin Marybird said...

Someday I will attempt steeks and zippers. It looks so wonderful! Grumperina has/had a wonderful, detailed blog entry about how to get a zipper in. I liked it a lot and her body is built similar to mine. Congratulations! You are really zooming along these days with your knitting.