The Yarnologue

Pansies Bolero Neck Shaping

I have been zipping along on my Pansies Bolero without any other problems.

I’m using Ella Rae Pansies yarn in color #8.

Although it’s a simple pattern that is good for auto-pilot knitting while watching TV or chatting with friends, I did decide to make a little change at the armhole shaping.

After working the cast offs to start the shaping the pattern calls for working k2tog at both ends of the needles. It also has you work them in the first and last stitches of the row.

That’s all fine, and it will get me where I need to be, but it’s not the method I prefer.

Instead of working the decreases right at the edge I worked them one stitch in. Instead of starting the row K2tog I worked K1, K2tog. I feel having that one plain stitch will make seaming easier down the line.

I also decided to work mirrored decreases.

You know how certain decreases (and increases) make the stitches slant in one direction or the other? Well, when you pair them so they slant either toward or away from each other it’s called a mirrored decrease.

When there is extensive shaping involved so that the decreases and increases become a design element it is called  “full fashioned.”

In the case of the Bolero there are just a few rows of decreases so my change will probably be hardly noticeable.

Instead of working k2tog on both end, I worked SSK at the start of the row and k2tog at the end of the row.

Then it was smooth sailing to the shoulders.

When I started working the shoulder shaping I found the wording a little confusing.

The pattern is correct, it’s just not presented the way I expected. I’ve noticed that European knitting patterns often assume the knitter knows how to do the basic, simple steps and will often give them only a passing mention. American patterns tend to give detailed descriptions for every step of the process.

It’s sort of the difference between a cooking recipe from a friend that says to “saute onions” and a recipe in a cook book that spells out heating the oil, chopping the onion, and how long to cook them to get the same results.

Anyway, back to knitting.

I’m working the smallest size. The pattern says to “Cast off 6 sts, K20 sts , turn, leaving remaining sts on holder.”

I knit 20 sts and realized I had 21 sts on the right hand needle. That just didn’t sound right. I suspected the stitch left on the right hand needle counted as one of the 20.

To verify, I talked my way through the remaining rows without knitting them. As I counted off the stitches to cast off I kept my finger in place to indicate the shortening rows. Sure enough, I had one stitch left at the end.

I realized the directions wanted me to work 19 more sts for a total of 20 sts. Happily, I only had to pick out one stitch to get to the correct count.

On the smallest size, the stitches for the shoulder and neck shaping are in sets of 26/14/26. If you are working one of the larger sizes you’ll want to do a quick count to determine your stitch distribution before you start working the shaping.

Another spot where the breezy European style showed up was when it was time to work the second shoulder. The pattern just says to leave the center 14 sts on a holder and knit to end.

It skips the important step of reattaching the yarn. But, on the other hand, it’s not like I would have been able to continue knitting if I hadn’t reattached the yarn. Obviously, I was going to do that whether the pattern told me to or not!

It just goes to show you have to stay alert even for auto-pilot knitting.

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