When we left off at the last post, I had chosen the stitch pattern that I was going to modify to use for the new neck band. On the right, you can see the bands after a little steam blocking - they look so good! After having quite a long conversation with them trying to decide how to attractively attach them to the front of the sweater, I decided to add a row of single crochet along the sweater edge of each neckband. This gave me a sturdy and cleaner looking edge to work with, as you can see in the photo below.
My next task was to pin the borders to the sweater, and I used my awesome bamboo pins. I have to say, if you ever do work that requires pinning piecework together, you should really own a set of these pins. They are long and thin, so they can grip lots of sweater and still allow it to lie flat. Since they are bamboo, they don't slip out, and the tips are rounded so that they go in easily, but can't snag or split the work. I guess you can tell they are one of my favorite tools! You may notice that I haven't cut the old neckline out yet. That's mostly because having it there gave the piece more stability while I worked on it, but also partly because I was still too chicken to do the cutting!
I sewed the bands to the front of the sweater using regular thread and needle, backstitching right along the clean crocheted edge so that the stitches are completely invisible. The back of the neck is a different story. When I frogged the old neckband, I found that I had left the back neck stitches live at the top. This shouldn't have suprised me - I'm prone to do this whenever I can to avoid having seems when I assemble sweaters. I always choose grafting over seaming when I get a choice. So, in the back, I grafted the neckband to the sweater, and also grafted the left and right sides of the neckband together in the center of the back so that it looks smooth all the way around.
Once I had the band on, I cut! It was a little scary at first, but I could tell immediately that the stitching I had put in was very secure. Steeking success!
The last step was to clean up the inside of the garment. As you can imagine, the raw cut edge of the front neckline was not very pretty looking on the inside, and I'm the kind of person who likes to fix that sort of thing. I decided that hem tape of some sort would be the best thing to use, so I wear-tested my new neckline to the fabric store (had to have the sweater with me to match the color - ha!) and perused the different styles of hem tape available. It's easily been 25 years since I purchased hem tape, but it doesn't seem to have changed a bit! I chose the lace variety since it wouldn't add any bulk to the neckline, and they just happened to have the right shade of pink for me. To install it, I just hand stitched it over the raw seam area, and I think it did a pretty good job of covering up the ugly, and it's virtually unnoticeable from the right side.
So here's the finished neckline - my apologies for the mirror assisted self-photo! I am very pleased with the results and already like this sweater 1000% better.
Since I still have about 40g of yarn, I'm going to revise the sleeves a bit, too, as I still think they are a bit short. I showed this project to my knitting buddies the other night, and one of them suggested that I could carry the
drawstring theme up into the sleeves to help reign in the poofiness. She reads my blogs, so let me just say, "Shelly, you are brilliant!" Stay tuned for Part 3, where we will see how the sleeves turn out!