The Last Stitch

I have finally worked the last stitch in the Oriel lace scarf. Really, it should have been done hours before it was, but I’ve learned that I can’t take anything for granted with this project.

I clicked right along, knitting the last repeat and then the final eight rows of garter stitch, and began binding it off. The instructions called for it to be “bound off loosely,” which I did. As I was working, I thought the outcome was going to be awfully tight. I kept plugging away nevertheless (yet another manifestation of knitter’s denial), and, despite my misgivings about the tension, cut the yarn so as to weave it in. With the deed done, I gave the scarf end a bit of a tug. Much to my dismay, the tension was definitely too tight — it would never block out gracefully to the width I’d intended. I’d have to take out the bound-off stitches. Taking out the bind-off was bad enough — the slippery silk laceweight yarn does not hold stitches off the needle for longer than a millisecond — but I also had to worry about having enough yarn to complete a different bind-off.

I grumpily went off to fetch a tiny crochet hook and painstakingly undid the bind-off, using the crochet hook to fish out the inevitable dropped stitches. Next up, I had to decide on a stretchier bind-off. Should I use Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off, or the knit lace bind-off? I know from experience that EZ’s bind-off is super-stretchy, but it’s also a bit tedious, so I went with the knit lace bind-off, figuring that if it wasn’t stretchy enough, I’d re-do using EZ’s method.

Fortunately for my sanity, the knit lace bind-off worked just fine, but as I was finishing up, I realized that there was no way, no how, that I’d have enough yarn to finish the bind-off without doing a join. Crap! I had maybe 25 stitches left, and not quite enough yarn to do the job. If I hadn’t cut the yarn after the first bind-off attempt, I wouldn’t have to scramble, but now I was stuck. What was the most elegant way to join yarn here at the very end of the project?

Although the yarn was only two-ply, I decided on a Russian join, which isn’t easy to do on laceweight, but turned out reasonably well. Of course, I had more tricky, slippery ends to weave in, but I finally finished. I’ll plan to block it this weekend, and will post pictures as soon as I can.

While I’m waiting for my yarn for the Rosebud Shawl, I’ll turn my attention to the St. Brigid sweater for a bit.

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