Sunday, May 30 / 10:34 a.m.

H'm... I think I've got it
Hey everybody, I've realized I want to be able to wear my sweater after graduation on the 8th if it gets cold, which means I need to FINISH it! So, armed with my new motivation, I set out to (naturally) research.

1. A knitter named Rachel kindly sent me an email telling me how she picked up stitches to create the button bands, but that she had heard others comment that the "Phildar approach" of sewing on a button band makes for a "more professional-looking result." Cheered with the knowledge that if I do fail miserably and have to pick up stitches, all will not be lost - yet firmly resolved to create a "professional-looking result," I press on.

2. For those of you who can read French, Phildar's "Fiches Tricot" ("Knitting Files") is a useful resource. It contains these instructions for attaching a button band. I translate them as follows:

The sewing of a ribbed band is used for:
-button bands
The band (button or neck) has already been knit according to instructions*. Iron [press] the portion in stocking stitch to flatten the stitches and ease unravelling. Put the band on the right side of the knitting, distributing the stitches and fixing them with a few pins. Un-knit** the rows of waste yarn leaving only one row which will be unravelled as the sewing progresses.

This sewing is done on the right side of the garment, stitch by stitch using backstitch in the following manner:
Bring the needle under the knitting and up through the second stitch of the ribbed band. Bring the needle down into the first stitch and, passing under the knitting, bring it up through the third stitch. Return the needle into the second stitch, bring it up through the fourth stitch, and continue in this way in each stitch.

* when finished knitting the band, instead of binding off, knit a few rows in stocking stitch with waste yarn
** 'd├ętricoter' sounds so much nicer!

3. My trusty copy of Vogue Knitting* has similar instructions to #2, and a better diagram.

*Its subtitle is The Ultimate Reference Book. It's good, but I wouldn't call it ultimate. I would like to say what Maggie Righetti says about button bands, but I can't find my copy of Knitting in Plain English - all my books are still in boxes in the garage, and I don't seem to have organized them as well as I would have liked.

3. Melinda at Purlwise (one of my favourite blogs) attached a collar to a Phildar sweater using this technique, and explains it here. Start reading at "Collar". If she can do it, so can I!

4. I check (I hate to say it, but every time I see "Fluffa!" I just think of "fluffer," which is terrible, I know, but there you go). Becky knits Phildar stuff all the time, and has pointed me to her commentary on backstitching collars. Her photographs of the technique, contrary to her assertions, make it look neither easy nor fun, but I think I am finally beginning to understand how this whole thing works. The only thing I'm worried about is that this is done on the FRONT of the garment. But I guess since you do it with live stitches it's sort of half sewing half grafting. Oh, and none of the diagrams show exactly where you're supposed to put the needle on the fabric to which you're sewing the button band - do I match stitch for stitch? I don't think that will work out proportionally....

I'll let you know how it goes.