Congrats KAL'ers; you're about half done with your sweaters! By now, you should have something that sort of resembles a garment. If you like cap-sleeved crop tops, you could just stop now, but winter is coming and that urge to show off your six-pack abs will surely wane with the dropping temperatures. Just sayin'
Your mission for Part 4: Finish the body by Friday, Oct 24th. There are probably more stitches to be knitted in Part 4 than any other part, but it should go quickly because it's all plain stockinette with only a bit of shaping every once in a while.
The lower edge of the sweater is finished with a little 1x1 rib. To keep the sweater wearable, I recommend using a very elastic bind-off when you finish this off. You could very loosely bind-off in rib stitch, which honestly works great for a lower edging, OR you try something a little more advanced.
A popular bind-off for 1x1 rib is called the Tubular Bind-off. It's very pretty, but for some reason it think it's a little tricky to work. It seems to work great sometimes, but if the stitches are too tight on the needle or the yarn is too nubby or brittle, the tubular bind-off can be almost impossible to work. This is really frustrating to me.
After MUCH research, I found the Kitchener Bind-of. Now, I know people hate doing the Kitchener Stitch, but in my opinion, people need to stop being babies (sorry if you're a baby, but come on!). Sure there are lots of steps, sure you have to pay attention to what you're doing, but there is no substitute for the beautiful result. You need to learn it, or at least get comfortable with following the directions for it, if you ever want to advance beyond the beginner level. If you need help, Laura Nelkin has a wonderful post about it here, complete with a printable cheat sheet that you can glue to an index card and put in your knitting bag.
Anyway, back to the Kitchener BO. The results of this technique look identical to the tubular bind-off, which is to say it looks beautiful. I wrote all the steps out in my Graphic Knits book on page 123, but I'll quickly explain it here too. Basically, with a spare circular needle, slip all the purl stitches onto one needle, and all the knit stitches onto the other needle, and then preform the Kitchener stitch over these stitches.
I think the Kitchener bind-off wins over the Tubular bind-off because it works with any kind of yarn at any gauge. Plus, I already knew the Kitchener Stitch, so I avoid following the finicky directions for tubular bind-off.
Do you have a favorite bind-off for ribbing? Maybe you want to defend the honor of the Tubular BO? Please fee free to let it all out in the comments section below.
As always, if you want to join in on the KAL fun, visit the Ravelry thread and say hi! Even if you're just starting, I would still love to see your progress pictures. One of our participants already finished her sweater (in an astonishing two weeks), so it's still possible to catch up!
Check back next Friday, October 25 for the fifth installment: Sleeve #1.