Briar Rose Vintage KAL: A couple of tips

Hey knit-alongers! How are you doing? It’s been really fun seeing progress photos in the Flickr group!

I admit, my Briar Rose is woefully still behind! That’s what I get for setting too many deadlines for myself before VLV. But I can just start to see the finish line with my current vintage knit (that I have to finish before we leave, or else I need to rethink two outfits, yikes), so that means I’ll be getting back to Briar Rose soon. And I’ve missed knitting on it!

I realized that while I planned out my pre-knitting posts for so long, I didn’t give as much thought to the posts while we’re all currently knitting because, well, we’re all knitting at different paces. So I thought I’d post a couple of small tips (tiplets, if you will) and then open it up for questions on things you might like me to go over!

Tiplet #1:  Mirrored increases

I know this tip comes too late for those of you who have already started, but I recently discovered something that I thought I’d share. For sometime now, I’ve been working mirrored increases when I need to increase on both sides of a row. This basically just means that the increases on each edge face in opposite directions. There are lots of techniques for working increases but the one I’ve grown accustomed to is M1 (make 1 stitch). Essentially you lift the bar between two stitches and knit into it, making a new stitch. Depending on the direction you knit into the stitch and the direct you orient the bar onto the needle, it changes the direction of the slant of the new stitch. This is a kind of a minor thing and you could really live your whole life happily knitting away without ever mirroring your increases, but it’s a little extra touch I like to do.

So here’s the deal. When I work in the round (my preferred method to knitting flat), I like to have my increases aiming away from the side seam marker. Up until quite recently, it actually dawned on me I wasn’t doing that. I was aiming them towards the marker. And while it works just as well and the difference visually is probably negligible to most, to me it looks much better when you aim them away from the marker. (Of course, I started Briar Rose doing it the other way and won’t be switching mid-project.)

So learn from my mistake. Here’s what I think is a better way to mirror your increases in the round:

If you’re working in the round, 2 stitches before you reach your side seam marker, work a M1R (make one that slants to the right). Watch the M1R video for both English and Continental knitters here (it’s halfway down the page on the left side). Knit across your next 2 stitches, slip your marker, knit across 2 more stitches, then work a M1L. Watch the M1L video here (same page, just on the right-hand side). If you’re working in the round you can opt to just knit to 1 stitch before and after the marker since there isn’t going to actually be a seam, but I usually go with 2.

Of course this is all subjective and might depend on your knitting style! So take it with a grain of salt, as always. 🙂

Tiplet #2:  neckline buttonhole bands

I’ve worked small neckline (front or back) button bands in two different ways recently. No matter how you do it, you will always want to have a flap behind the buttonholes. Because think of it this way: if you have two pieces of kntiting that were once one piece (i.e. the front of your sweater or the back of it), and then you smoosh over one side to button on top of the other side, you’re going to get an unsightly bulge at the base of the buttonhole band.

Our Briar Rose pattern does indeed have you knit this little extra flap, by casting on extra stitches and working them in garter stitch. You won’t see these stitches from the public side of your knitting as they’ll be behind the buttonhole band, and working it in garter stitch prevents it from curling. I personally find it easiest to cast on at the end of the row using the backward loop cast on, instead of casting on at the beginning of the next row like our pattern tells us to do.

For a cleaner edge on your buttonhole band, slip the first stitch of every RS (right side) row purlwise. Yes, that buttonhole band is knit in stockinette so it might have a bit of a tendency to curl, but it’s a small amount of fabric and once you block your sweater and put your buttons on, it shouldn’t matter in the slightest. If you’re worried however, you could always knit those first 6 or 8 stitches in (k1,p1) ribbing. Visually it will look pretty much like stockinette and will mean absolutely no curling. You can still slip the first stitch for a nice clean edge.

Any questions?

Any burning questions you’ve been wondering about as you’ve been knitting? I’m trying to be pretty casual with the actual ‘knit-along’ part (as evidenced by my own lack of progress, lol). I know Andrea of New Vintage Wardrobe and Katie of The Little Red Squirrel are just sailing away on theirs, knitting flat like the pattern. Barbara of Moxie Tonic is knitting along in the round like me (and we might get to have a mini Briar Rose KAL at VLV!), and Liz of will soon be joining us now that she’s recently finished up another vintage knit and used the info from my sleeve cap tutorial to help her with her sleeves!

How is yours going? And if you’re not knitting along with the KAL, what fun projects do you have on your needles this month?

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Golly, 5 Comments!

  • Ooo! Thanks for the tips about increases. I just finished my ribbing, literally, this morning on the train and I need to start the increases on my train ride home tonight. So, as always, your posts are perfectly timed for me.
    I’ve always done my increases/decreases mirrored but I can’t recall if I have them angling in or out.
    Thanks for the tips and shout-out. 🙂


  • V Slowly! But no hitches so far! (Unlike you two who are getting “hitched”…! Do you like what I did there?!)


  • I am actually quite surprised how close to being done I am. Normally I’m quite a slow knitter but I expect to be done by the end of the week! I am so glad I decided to participate in this knit-a-long. I never thought I would have the skills to knit a sweater but it looks really good so far 🙂


  • I have one increase row left! It’s been slow going for me too, I have a couple of other projects going on right now, and my usual evening knitting time has been hijacked by other things.
    I will be sure to bring it along to VLV! I love having a knitting project for the plane anyways, as flying (and airports particularly) are mind numbingly dull.


  • @zilredloh Great! So glad to have had good timing again for you. 😉

    @Miss P Ha ha, I noticed that, very slick!

    @Kate That’s fantastic! I’m so glad you’ve gained confidence. Once you knit your first sweater you really feel like you can knit anything!

    @Moxie Tonic I’m the same, I would cry without airplane/airport knitting! Sometimes I can be bad about not ever actually knitting much on trips, but I have to have at least one project with me or I feel weird. What if there’s downtime and I have nothing to do? LOL


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