Musing on fusing

I’ve been asking for advice the past few weeks about how to finish the project I’ve been knitting for my daughter Leah.  To review for any new visitors, I have knit a rectangular panel, which measures about 13×41 inches, which has the inscription from the One Ring of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings knitted into it.  I used Quince & Co Chickadee wool, knit it in the round with stranded knitting and steeked it.  Here is a photo of the steeked and blocked piece:

12-20131228_134013My plan is to make this into the front of a pillow.  Its current shape is too long and narrow, so I would build it up on the top and the bottom and aim for a finished size of about 25×40 inches once sewn together.  I bought some beautiful silk fabric to make the back with (and also a border across top and bottom).  Since finishing the knitted portion I have been having second thoughts about whether using a silk fabric backing is a good idea, or whether I should knit the back.  I sought advice from various friends in Vancouver (where I spent my Christmas holiday) and I also asked for advice in my last post.

Both my friend Teresa (who was serendipitously also visiting Vancouver for the holidays) and my blogging friend Ann (who responded to the blog post) suggested using fusible interfacing to stiffen the fabric.  I believe this intervention was intended irregardless of whether I ended up using a knitted or silk cloth back.  Both of them felt that the knitted piece would be too flimsy to hold up in the pillow and should be reinforced.

Well, this has set me to musing about fusing, so to speak.  Here is my concern:  I knit this by stranding.  This means that there is always one strand of yarn being carried across the back of the work.  Because I intended this to be a pillow, and thus the back would not be seen, I was also not meticulous about the length of the floats, which I varied quite a bit, and are sometimes quite long.   I can’t take a photo of the back now, because I am ensconsed in business school for the weekend (I am writing this after a full day of micro-economic theory).  Here is a photo of me cutting the steek, however, in which a portion of the back is visible:

07-20131226162014I am wondering whether the fusing will fuse, not to the knitting itself but rather only to the floats that are stranded across the back.  Furthermore, as you can see in the top photo, there are two lines of text, and in between is about twelve rows or so of plain purple knitting in which I didn’t strand the yellow (there are also similar portions on the top and bottom of the panel).  These areas looked quite different from the stranded ones pre-blocking with a slightly different gauge, causing some puckering, and also a smoother texture, as you can see in the below photo which was taken pre-steeking.


In addition to wondering how the fusing will interact with the stranded fabric, I am worried that it will interact differently with the unstranded portions thus once again highlighting the distinctions between the stranded and unstranded portions that I managed to hide with a good blocking.

If anyone has experience using fusible facing on a stranded knitting project, I would love to hear from you.  Also, to Lora, thank you for your lovely comments on my last post.  I really do love the silk fabric I bought for the pillow back, and my main concern about using it is my lack of confidence and experience in sewing.  I will definitely take your advice and consult a professional seamstress before I make any decisions.

Well, I will stop musing about fusing now, and go back to musing about the Income Elasticity of Demand.  Sigh….