In last week's column I talked about a nifty, easy-to-knit sweater I like to call Joseph's coat of many colors. It's a simple kimono-wrap design, made in -- obviously -- rainbow colors.
These instructions are for completing it, but the techniques can be used for all other sweaters as well.
Before you assemble any sweater, the completed pieces must be blocked on a soft but firm surface. I like to use the felt back of my dining-table pads.
Making sure the knitted pieces conform to the size and shape of your pattern, lay them out on the table pad. Then, using non-rusting pins, pin the pieces down at inch intervals.
Next, lay a damp cloth on top of one of the knitted pieces. Turn your steam iron to full steam ahead and hold it about an inch above the wet cloth and let the steam thoroughly penetrate the knit.
Do not rest the iron against the knitted piece. Keep it at least an inch above or you'll smash the texture of the knit. Keep moving the cloth and steaming until all pieces are done. Then leave it alone to air-dry.
When fully blocked and thoroughly dry, remove the pins and assemble the pieces. Put the right sides of the garmet together, being sure to match up the stripes and, using a loose overcast stitch, sew it together.
I suggest picking a yarn color that coordinates with most of the stripes, and using small stitches. Otherwise, when there is a great contrast, the stitches will show.
Or, alternately, you might try using one of the "invisible" sewing threads. It's basically a fine, monofilament fishline and since it's clear nylon, it picks up whatever color it's near. However, it has very little give, so be careful with it and keep your stitches very loose.
Since this is a kimono-wrap sweater, it definitely needs a belt. You may choose to buy one, or knit one in the desired length and in any width, using a single color or matching the stripes.
Another idea is to make a twisted cord belt, using two strands of each color used in the sweater. Cut these strands twice as long as the finished product should be, and knot each end. Fasten one end around a doorknob and insert a pencil through the knot at the other end.
Using the pencil like a key on a can of sardines, keep twisting around and around until the strands begin to kink up on themselves. Once this happens, hold the yarn taut, fold the length in half and allow the cord to automatically twist back on itself.
And it'll stay that way, thanks to some obscure rule of physics I don't quite understand. To finish, simply knot the ends and tie around the completed sweater as a belt.
There are other kinds of cords that can be made of a single color or a combination of colors. One can be woven with your fingers, using strands four times longer than your finished length as shown here. This kind of cord is excellent for edging needlepoint pillows as well as a decorative belt for your knitted or crocheted creations.