Knitting dilemma

Here’s an interesting dilemma to ponder over the weekend:

I am embarrassed to say that this project dates back to August 2011, when I was home on maternity leave with my first child.  At that time, I cranked out a few knits from the wonderful 60 Quick Baby Knits (my review/preview here), including this sweater, called the Sweet Pea Cardigan.

I have no recollection whatsoever about why I was knitting this sweater, and to whom I planned to give it, but as you can see from the photo at the top, I basically finished it, even blocked it.  Recently, while organizing my stash and projects, I re-discovered the sweater, and decided that, hey, maybe I should do something about it now that I’m about to have a baby girl.

The reason this sweater has been in time out for 3 years is that I could not get the picot facing around the opening of the sweater and the hood to lay flat.  If I recall correctly, I re-knit it a good 5 times, each time picking up fewer and fewer stitches, but it continued to flip out, even with aggressive blocking.  Is it something about the way I tack down the back of the picot facing?

So, my knitting dilemma is: what should I do with this sweater?  Unpick the picot facing and try again?  Tack it down in a different way?  Re-knit the facings using a different stitch pattern?  I think garter and seed stitch would not look good, but maybe plain stockinette, or attached i-cord (like here) or something?

I’m also pondering exactly how I will attach those ribbons, now that I’m faced with having to do so.  I don’t think I can simply leave them off, as the pattern has a nice wide stretch of fabric for their placement.

What do you think???

26 thoughts on “Knitting dilemma

  1. Marisa

    Oh, I think i-cord for sure. The picot on the hem and cuffs match each other fine, and the i-cord around the button band/hood will echo the pea cable. Additionally, I can’t believe I’ve never seen this pattern before, it’s adorable!!

  2. Quinn

    VERY cute cardi! I think I’d take out the picot and make a simpler facing…but I also think seed stitch would look nice! Wouldn’t stockinette roll?

  3. kmkat

    If you could face knitting the picot edging one (half) more time, you could knit one less row on the inside. Then it COULDN’T flip out. The sweater is too adorable not to use.

  4. Melanie

    Looking at the ones on Ravelry, the ones that seem to have a non-rolling edge also seem to have a narrower band of picot than you have there. (Smaller needle for the edge?) Or they are just staging their photos better to hide it. (Not a judgement. I’ve done it myself. lol)

    This one here has no picot edge OR ribbon and it’s darling: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Michelka/sweet-pea

    It really is an adorable design. You must do something with it after all that work. :)

  5. Caitlin

    Maybe you could try a fake-out picot edge. A few plain stockinette rows, a row of yO k2tog, then a few more rows of stockinette. Then fold it over and sew it down.

  6. Joanna

    I knitted this sweater and I recall that i had trouble with the edging lying flat, but finally it did. I don’t even remember how I made it perform well, but perhaps I did a row or two less in the inside as suggested above. I do know that I did it at least three times. I did not put on the decorative ribbon, and I think it looks fine without it. The sweater was ultimately so cute that it was worth the frustrating with the edging. Yours is going to be super, and that up and coming little girl will love it.

  7. Alix

    Call Mary Scott Huff out there in the wilds of Oregon or maybe Washington. That’s one of her designs. She is going bananas and taking her family with her, since she just finished writing her latest knitting book and has no knitting going on. See her blog at (I believe) mary@maryscotthuff.com and maybe you’ll be able to put her out of her misery.
    Have a lovely baby!

  8. Kate

    Perhaps you could do a single crochet edging and sew the ribbon snugged up against it. Then you could do a button loop from the crochet edging, and attach the buttons to the ribbon-reinforced other side.

    A crochet ruffle around the hood would also add a girly flair to a gender-neutral cardi.

  9. Kate

    Oh, or maybe you could have a gutter row as your first when attaching the picot, kind of like the purl row at the fold of a knitted hem/border.

  10. picadrienne

    What about sewing a grosgrain ribbon inside the sweater to help prevent the edging from flipping?

    1. Katie Lynn

      This is what I was taught to do for any sort of turned hem, and I automatically make the adjustment whether the pattern tells you to or not. Works like a dream!

  11. Deb in PA

    You could take the picot out and try changing the needle size, probably going up a size or two so the stitches are a little more relaxed and “droopy”.

    Congrats on the addition to the family.

  12. Kathy

    I think if you put an I cord edging on you might be able to put in a zipper which would make the sweater super functional. I think maybe a simple duplicate stitch instead of ribbons might be cute. Or leave it plain and make a multicolor hat to contrast.

  13. Jenn

    Does it flatten out some when you put on the lace/ribbon?

    Smaller needles for the picot will help a lot- I have to go down at least a needle size, often 2.

    Is it just the bind off that is too loose and causing the flare out? If so, you might be able to tighten that- sewing it so the edge is tighter. I tend to seam my picot edge a bit tighter than I think I need to, which helps quite a bit.

  14. Laurie

    I agree with the i-corders. I LURVE i-cord edging and I think there’s no need for the mis-behaving picot. Also, leave off the ribbon. It’s too fiddly and the sweater will be lovely without it. Perhaps some adorable, interesting buttons? (Oh where oh where is Windsor Button when it is needed most?)

  15. Jessica Dion

    I *love* the picot edge. I think the ribbon in the photo is distracting, but it probably also helps keep the piece flat. I like the idea of putting a ribbon or something else (just woven fabric like a liner) on the back to help stabilize it. Also, on a child, it will flare out a bit a the belly and look fantastic, no matter what. If it flares a bit, that’s part of what makes picot edging sweet – it looks finished on the back side too.

  16. Shannon

    First of all, I have to say that I just re-finished a pair of fingerless gloves which sat in my yarn stash for a couple of years for the exact same reason! II’m glad I am not the only one who had this issue.

    I vote for i-cord. I think it will let the cable stand out.

  17. Ana

    I have no idea what the pattern tells you to do, but for a flat-lying picot edging, you need smaller needles and/or at least one fewer row on the inside before tacking it down. Your tacking method may also cause it to try to flip out – I typically do a 3-needle-ish bindoff for hems like that, picking up the body stitches where I want it to attach and knitting them with the edge as I bind it off.

    Based on your picture, I’d add back in the stitches you took out if you want to rekint the whole border and work two fewer rows on the backside. Or you could just rip back the last two rows and re-attach it for a quick finish. If you are binding off and then sewing on, that’s adding two more rows to the back compared to the front, causing it to flip out like it is.

  18. Mary K. in Rockport

    You’ve already picked up fewer stitches to do the facings. So besides that, doing fewer rows on the inside of the facing AND leaving more spaces between each picot bump should remove that flare around the edges.

  19. Carol

    A crab stitch in crochet is a nice edging. The trick is in the set up of picking up the right number of stitches per knit stitches so that your fronts lie flat.

  20. Susan

    Love this jacket! I may have to make one for my little girl too. I also vote for smaller needle size on the part of the picot to be turned in. I have done that before and it worked like a charm!

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