Friends, we have arrived at Jerry’s fine and fiddly finishing details.
There are four stages to the finishing on this sweater, in addition to the usual blocking and weaving bits:
- Knitting the back of the shawl collar and attaching it to the back neck
- Binding off the buttonholes
- Stitching down the collar and buttonband facing
- Setting in the sleeve caps and sewing the side seams
Let’s start with Task #1.
Finishing the shawl collar
I designed the collar and buttonbands as a single seamless piece. I also designed the shawl collar to be big and plush, because there is nothing quite so disappointing to as an otherwise cozy sweater with a skimpy shawl collar. I want to snuggle that thing around my neck while I step outside to smoke my pipe after Christmas dinner because my grand-niece Brenda won’t let me smoke it in the house. (I don’t smoke a pipe, celebrate Christmas, or have a grand-niece, but sweaters like this are aspirational, right?)
So anyway, the collar is seamless, and the construction is pretty cool. You return to the collar stitches you've set aside on the two front pieces, work some short rows to give the collar the depth it needs to lay nicely at the shoulders, and then continue to work across the back neck, SIMULTANEOUSLY joining the collar to the back neck as you go.
Here’s each step in photos:
After you work the short rows on the Left Front piece, you’ll get to Row 10. This is where you start joining the shawl collar perpendicularly to the back neck.
You’ll purl to the last stitch, slip that stitch, THEN knit the first picked-up back neck stitch, and pass the slipped stitch over.
You’ve now bound off one of the back neck stitches that you picked up, AND you’ve attached the two pieces.
You are brilliant!
Here’s what the pieces look like after you’ve worked your way across the left half of the picked-up back neck stitches ...
Binding off the buttonholes
This buttonhole method is fussy af, but worth it. I experimented with lots of different ways to finish these — 3-needle bind-off, whip stitch, sewn bind-off — and this method achieves the best balance between getting a good result and not being a massive pain in the ass.
It’s difficult to describe this process in writing, so I’ve made a couple of video tutorials.
The first tutorial just runs through each step quickly.
If you find that you need more help than that, I've also made an awkward and very long tutorial that takes you through every. single. step. with much more explanation.
I hope these help you get the job done! If they don't, please earburn me in the Handsome Ravelry group, and I’ll do my best to come to your rescue.
I decided to do my buttonhole finishing inside out this time. So the loops of the bindoff appear on the back side of the buttonhole band, and the sleeker flat bars are on the front. If you'd like to do this too, the process is the same — you just work with the WS of the sweater body facing you instead of the RS.
Stitching down the facing
Next you'll sew the cast-on edge of the buttonbands and facings together with an invisible horizontal seam. The cast-on edges will get hidden inside the buttonband, like so.
I like to weave in my ends inside the buttonband before forging ahead.
And then you'll stitch down the facing — it's fast and easy once you get the rhythm.
And then you'll work another invisible horizontal seam on the opposite end. Done!
Setting in the sleeve caps
There are loads of helpful tutorials out there for seaming set-in sleeve caps. Here's a particularly good one, from Staci at Very Pink Knits.
On the Jerry sweater, this part of the assembly process is a little different from most handknit set-in sleeve caps, because our shoulder seam is not directly at the top of the armhole — it sits slightly toward the back. So there's just an extra step when you set your sleeve in: you mark the center top of the armhole.
From there, you just set in the sleeve as you would for any other sweater.
Then sew the side and sleeve seams using mattress stitch, steam block the collar, seams, and buttonbands, and sew on your buttons.