Sunday, April 13, 2008

Selvedges!!! (and cleaning toilets and root canals!!!)

I know, most of you are just like I was. A riveting discussion of selvedges is right up there with ear hair removal in your list of Favorite Conversation Starters.

But really, this is pretty cool. And very easy. I promise.

The Yellow Halter Top pattern from Rebecca instructs to use a "seam selvedge" on one side, and a "chain selvedge" on the other. Kristy and I both did some research on this, because neither of us was raised with the natural-born German intuitive knowledge about selvedges (apparently for the Germans, Selvedge Knowledge is right up there with Breathing Knowledge and the Sucking Reflex). The best explanation that I found was from "Mary Thomas' Knitting Book" - click here to read it.

And since I'm sure 0.001% of you actually clicked that, and 0.00% of you actually read it, I'll give you this Cliff's Notes explanation. "Selvedge" just refers to the edge stitches - the first and last stitches in the row. If you're working stockinette, you normally make a "seam selvedge" without even realizing it, i.e. knit the edges stitches on a knit row, and purl 'em on a purl row.

To get the "chain selvedge," you still purl 'em on the purl rows, but SLIP them knitwise on a knit row. The result looks like you used a crochet hook to make a nice loose chain along the edge of the work. Like this (fuzzy picture alert):

So, what good is that?? you ask. And I'll tell you, I asked the same thing. Then, I finished my halter pieces and started seaming them together, and about halfway through I realized the benefit. I could make my seam by picking up half of each chain, and I got this really pretty decorative seam. See, at the top of the stockinette section, the little diagonal stitches?

Cool, huh? Too bad I realized this when my seam was already halfway complete (see where the cute decorative stitches give way to a plain seam, far right of photo above). Which means, halfway decorative it shall forever stay. And if you ever notice it, your eyes are better than mine or you are WAY TOO CLOSE.

- Shelley
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P.S. I'm going to wear my halter to the store tomorrow. (Don't get too close.) If I can get Kristy to come by wearing hers, I'll take pics and post them next time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two words: Oklahoma Weather.
Don't freeze your elbows off. Tee-hee.

April 13, 2008 at 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great info on selvedges. Obscure stuff that really makes a difference. I love how the finished seam looks so good. GH

April 13, 2008 at 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! That was a fast knit!

April 13, 2008 at 8:05 PM  

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