Edges that keep curling up

My father had a dark green pullover with a color work that I liked very much. He told me that it was knitted by an elderly relative of his, named Amalia, who died before I was born. I never seen a photo of hers, but few family members told me that my eyes are the exact shade of blue like Amalia’s, that’s why I remember her name and the fact that she made that pullover. Fortunately I had copied the color work motif with the intention of using it one day. Two weeks ago I bought a nude yarn for a hat, than had a second thought and went back to the store to buy one more skein of nude and one of a peachy orange color so that I could knit a cowl and a hat with a color work motif of the above mentioned pullover. That’s the story of the Amalia cowl.
Because I don’t have 3.5 mm dpns and my other cable needle is occupied, since I’m not a big fan of the magic loop technique decided to work flat. The color work part was a bit harder this way, but I still would have enjoyed it if the bottom edge (knitted in garter stitch) wouldn’t kept curling up and annoying me. I couldn’t believe my eyes, the garter stitch is supposed to prevent this problem. First I thought that blocking will correct it, than as I kept knitting and the bottom kept curling up I became very skeptical about the possibility of solving this problem with blocking. At that point I thought that when I finish the cowl I could rip just the garter stitch part and pick up the sts the same way when unzipping a provisional cast on and re-knit the bottom in 2/2 rib. Imagine the unpleasant surprise when I was binding off and I found out that the 2/2 rib curls back too. I was shocked, I still can’t believe it’s possible. The cowl is in so bad shape right now that I wont even bother with describing it, better see it for yourselves:

I posted a question on Ravelry hoping to find out what went wrong and how can I fix it, but only one person left an answer saying that probably the 100% wool yarn is to blame and that blocking will help but I will have to re-block it after every washing.
What do you think, what went wrong, what should I do?




Filed under Knitting

4 responses to “Edges that keep curling up

  1. Don’t blame the garter stitch/ribbing. It’s the colorwork that’s curling. I have the same problem… I noticed it last night when I was taking a picture of my fair isle pattern, and it’s knitted in the round. I think it has to do with running the strand on the back side and taking up more room than on the front, but regular stockinette has a similar tendency. You don’t notice it if you put it on (after you sew it together. If the cowl fits tightly to your throat, and I don’t mean tight, but just snug, it will be fine. Otherwise, if it bothers you, sew the top and bottom together and make a beautiful tube. That pattern is beautiful, Amalia II. Good luck!

    • I haven’t thought about that because I rarely do color work, thanks for answering my question (it really bugged me). I believe that is the reason. I have blocked it and its flat now, but if it curles back I will make a tube, thanks for the idea.

  2. Could it be a gauge problem? I haven’t done a lot of colorwork but everytime I did I used 2 different needle sizes for the plain (smaller) and colorwork (larger) parts. In my case it avoided having the colorwork being too tight.

    Also the garter stitch border seems to have a much bigger curling problem, which I suspect is probably due to the fact that garter stitch tends to be wider than jersey. Just guessing there, I can’t say I’m a colorwork/gauge problem expert.

    And your ribbing is curling a bit but it’s really not that bad, it really looks like blocking should fix it easily. I made a cardigan that was mainly jersey with a little ribbing on the edges and it looked very much like the edge of your cowl before blocking. It is now all nice and flat and looks like it should stay that way.

    I hope you’ll find a way to fix this!

    • Blocking fixed the problem, we’ll see will it stay that way.
      I used the same needle size. The next time I knit with this yarn I will definitely make a few different gauges with different types of edgings and try to see if a wider garter st does the trick. Thanks for answering my question!

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