Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Möbius Dicky

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 2:17 pm on Monday, January 22, 2007

Call me Stitchmael.

I have been sick this weekend. Gryphon was down the last half of last week with a nasty cold. I got it Saturday. And judging from the fact that he’s just starting to get over his now, I probably have a few more days to go.

I’m telling you this not to garner any sympathy or “get well” wishes. No, I offer the news of my illness as an excuse for my lack of knitting progress this weekend.

My Barefoot Diva socks and other projects on my list have been put on hold, while I work on an item I was commissioned to knit – a turtleneck dicky for a motorcycle rider. I’m designing this one myself – there seems to be a shortage of good patterns out there for dickies, at least free ones that fit the parameters of this request.

My basic concept is to knit a square from the outside in, stopping when I reach an appropriate neck size and converting to a ribbed tube for the turtleneck. Since the dicky should be longer in the front than in the back, I used provisional cast-on for the stitches at the front of the work. When I’ve finished the main dicky, I can then knit down to the desired length.

For my first attempt, I thought I’d do a garter stitch edging around three sides, leaving the provisional cast-on side as stockinette. After the edging, the main body of the dicky would be stockinette, up to the turtleneck which would be ribbed.

I was going along well, when I realized that I had decided to make the thing way too large. Attempt #1 was frogged, and I cast on for #2, which would be the same, but smaller.

I quickly realized that I would not be able to match the garter stitch edging when I worked the front straight down from the provisional edge, so I scrapped that idea. Frog #2, cast-on #3.

I was going to need some stitch that would make the whole thing lay flat, the reason I had the garter-stitch edging to begin with. “I know,” I thought, “I’ll make the whole thing in one-by-one ribbing!”

Knitting a K1P1 ribbing turned out to be a bad idea. Same yarn and needles as the stockinette version, but suddenly, my knitting looked like a fishnet. At the least, you could see light through it everywhere. The plan here is to keep the biker warm as he rides – I decided a fishnet dicky might be a little too breezy. Frog #3.

I browsed a couple of books of stitch patterns, looking for something with a balanced number of knits and purls that would provide texture, lay flat, and not stitch up like openwork. Settled on a pattern I liked, swatched it – it came out with a nice look and feel. Cast on – again – and started knitting.

This time, the results were beautiful. My decreases at the four corners were looking good. The overall stitch pattern was nice – textured, but in a manly, warm way. Here’s a look at the details of a corner:

WIP - Dicky, Corner Detail

A little hard to see, I know – black yarn on a white background. The white yarn at the bottom left is my provisional cast-on chain.

So, I’m breezing along yesterday, in spite of my nasty cold that makes it hard to focus. Or maybe it was the cold that was the reason for….but we’ll get to that in a minute.

I’d knit about 18 rows, and had just decided to work out some style details for the front of the dicky, to help distinguish it from the back. So I laid out the whole thing on the table in front of me, nice and flat.

WIP - Dicky: The Plot Twists

At least, I tried to. See that odd part at the back? It just about broke my heart…

Yes, I had twisted the knitting when I first joined the cast-on into a round. As carefully as I had arranged and re-arranged the cast-on stitches, they had still looped around the needle somewhere.

And I had knit 18 rows on my fourth, and what I thought was finally a perfect, attempt at this dicky before discovering it.


I blame my cold, if anything. Or maybe it’s just “one of those things” that happens to us, no matter how experienced we are as knitters, or how carefully we go about our craft. Take note, those of you who are beginners – these mistakes happen to all knitters! So don’t be upset and decide you “can’t do it” if you get something wrong – just accept it as a sign that you’re a part of the entire knitting community, because you make the same mistakes we all do.

After a brief time out, I frogged Attempt #4, and started again. At least this time, I had the assurance of knowing that I had found the pattern that works – so long as I didn’t twist it! I re-wound the yarn, cast on again, and got back to the knitting.

Believe me, I checked at least five times to make sure my work wasn’t twisted this time. I’m only two rows into it, but I keep laying it down now and then to see if it’s really flat. Once it has a little more substance I can probaby stop checking, but in the meantime, I’m being paranoid. Since this works from the outside in, these are, after all, the largest rows of the piece. I definitely don’t want to get to far before finding the mistake again!

And so, there has been lots of knitting. But I ended the weekend with far less progress than it began with. Unless you count the finalization of the design for this dicky as progress – in which case, I’m probably right on track!

Meanwhile, I’m hoping to be over the hump of this cold soon. But there’s a chance I’ll have to cancel on outside activities over the next couple of days. Those of you who would be affected by that, I’ll let you know!



Comment by Karen in Wichita

January 22, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

If it makes you feel any better, I have a zippered Santa Purse… with the zipper on inside out. It’s, um, a security feature. Yeah, that’s it.


Comment by Valerie in San Diego

January 22, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

oh, damn! Not much use for a Moebius dicky, huh… well, sympathies. And get well soon!


Comment by jen.

January 22, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

Aw, man. Sorry you’ve had to make so many iterations of this project. At least you got a clever blog title out of the deal. 🙂


Comment by Judith

January 23, 2007 @ 11:20 am

Sorry you’ve had such troubles with this project, but it’s looking real good …. and it’s STILL cold here where the mobius dicky will be used and I know just how appriciated it will be.


Comment by Carrie K

January 23, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

Don’t knit while sick! Bad things happen. Bummer! Poor baby. Now rest and recover.


Comment by Lucia

January 25, 2007 @ 6:34 pm

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the Frog Goddess isn’t out to get you. It looked great, anyway, and I’m sure it will again. Feel better. Brilliant post title.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.