I had a plan for the blog this weekend: I was going to show off my completed Tin Roof tee. All I needed was a few rows of ribbing and a bunch of ends to weave in, and a nice day in which to photograph it. The only problem was: I didn’t like it.
Remember that the Tin Roof pattern [Ravelry link] has two parts to it: the top part is knitted side-to-side with wide stripes made by alternating colours, and the bottom part is then picked up and knitted down. Crucially, in the pattern, this bottom portion is knitted in reverse stockinette stitch, so that the reverse side of the knitted fabric faces front. You can see it here in the pattern photo:
Yesterday, I tried on the nearly-finished top, wanting to see if the length was right before casting off, and found that I really didn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong: I love the top portion with the wide stripes in lovely shades of grey, blue, and green linen. However, I really hated what was happening with the bottom portion of the tee. Here is a photo:
There are two things I really don’t like. First, the reverse stockinette stitch does not look good in the linen. Instead of looking kind of funky and textural, it looks messy. Second, despite having very carefully picked up 3 out of every four rows, the bottom section balloons out a bit and looks even messier. You can see both problems in this close-up below:
What to do? Time to rip! Some people agonise over ripping, but I find this to be one of the miracles of knitting: everything can be ripped out and knitted over again. If only life were that forgiving and resilient!
Each of the wide stripes on the top portion of the top is 32 rows wide; so I initially picked up 288 stitches (12 blocks of colour x 24 stitches each). I ripped back to the pick-up row, and then, while knitting the first row of the bottom portion, I knitted two stitches together in the middle of each stripe, so that I now had a total of 276 stitches. I am hoping that this will be enough to get rid of the ballooning. And of course, I switched to stockinette – so the smooth knitted side is on the outside, instead of inside out. Like this:
Thank you for all of the kind comments on the blog last week; they are much appreciated. It is a Bank Holiday weekend, and miracle of miracles, the sun is shining and the day is warm. Time for a little sunshine therapy!
There are three things that I hate in knitted garments: zips, pockets and reverse stocking stitch. Well, a judicious bit of RSS can be fine e.g. as a backgrond to the motifs in Aran or Bavarian knitting, but I find expanses of it very ugly and it always does strange things to colours. I’m fine with zips and pockets in sewn garments, but find zips too stiff and inflexible in a hand knitted fabric, while pockets tend to become baggy and saggy.
I’m always happy to unravel and re-knit my mistakes. I made myself a jacket with ribs and cables in some Rowan Original Denim which I’d had stashed away for ages. It looked good but was heavy and uncomfortable to wear, especially when I hurt one of my shoulders, so it just lay in a drawer for a few months. I recently ripped it all out, washed the yarn in very hot water to shrink it thoroughly and I’ve now nearly finished a simpler but much more wearable jumper. I’m going to use the leftovers to knit a tote bag for my daughter’s birthday
The top part looks great! I agree about the original bottom section and you never would have been happy with it. It is looking much better in your last picture. Enjoy the sun. It is cold and raining here all weekend.
Totally agree about the benefit of knitting is getting to rip out and try again. One of the reasons I hate sewing. Uhh, you were right about the bottom section. Your plans to improve it sound much better.
The striped part looks awesome! And from a distance, the dark colored bottom part looks good as a part of it. But you are right about the problems. Good for you ripping and redoing – you will be much happier with it!
Better to rip out and have it perfect than finish it and never wear it because it bugs you that it isn’t quite right.
I agree with and applaud your decision. Yay for knitting’s forgiving and fixable nature.