Training for Mermaid

No, I’m not going to participate in the Knitting Olympics. But I am gearing up to start Mermaid. I hit a little snag in Zig Zag which means it needs some extra care in finishing and I have some long plane rides coming up soon, so Mermaid gets to go.

I made a spreadsheet listing the pattern instructions row-by-row. This means I don’t have to remember multiple things to get the shaping right. Tonight I used some spare yarn and tried out some of the techniques to see how they work.

The knitalong has been discussing using a provisional cast on and a later i-cord bind-off in place of the i-cord then pick-up-and-knit technique listed in the pattern. This appealed to me because I could tell from photos (and from what the pattern says) that the two edges in the front won’t match exactly. I wanted to see if I could do something that would.

So I tried it.

What you see in the photo above are two swatches (right-click and choose “view image” to see them larger). The one on the right side starts with the i-cord pick-up-and-knit that the pattern recommends (over the number “2″). You can see the white bumps showing through. This would be visible along the front of the jacket, but not on the collar where it folds over. Over the “3″ (almost) is the i-cord bind-off that the pattern calls for. As you can see, these don’t match. Disregard the stockinette bits in the middle, those are for a different project that I’ll show you later.

After the first swatch, I tried the method that Holly described, making a provisional cast on, knitting a few ridges, and then removing the provisional cast on and doing an i-cord bind-off (over the “1″). Starting my bind-off at the top of the swatch and moving toward the “bottom hem”, I was able to exactly duplicate the look of the bind-off at the end of the pattern. This is clearly what I’ll be doing for my Mermaid.

In case anyone is curious, here is what the back of the swatch looks like. The i-cord pick-up and i-cord bind-off look fairly identical.

Finally, I also wanted to see exactly what happens with all the slipped stitches called for. So I made a small swatch with the stripe pattern.

As you can see, the treatment of the stitches at the hem edge of the swatch make a nice, single color stockinette hem. The selvedge edge of the garment naturally tucks itself up underneath. At the top, there is a little ridge next to the selvedge edge (the reverse being stockinette). This is where you will put the shoulder seams. Clever touch.

I think I have a good understanding of the techniques involved, now. Time to start swatching for gauge!


  1. Maus:

    Wow, what a nice exercise in the edging you’ve done here. I do love to work the i_cord bindoff, it gets very neat. I found that with this bindoff I do not have to watch out for loose tension and can continue with my rather tighter tension. Regular bindoff will ask for looser tension, the i_cord seems to have enough give/width so don’t make it loose it may buckle a bit on your then.

  2. Ros:

    This looks great. I’m not sure how to do a provisional cast on and then to remove it. Can you explain?


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