Week 6: The Neck Ruffle

This week is an easy week. Your task is to work the collar and neck ruffle. If the live chat audience is a good cross section of the entire Ella audience, then some of you are holding off making a decision about what sort of ruffle you want to use for the entire coat. This is fine . . . I have to confess that I save most of my ruffles for last. . .

1. Two Ellas: Minimalist, Ruffled? Super-ruffled?: The Collar

The original Ella neck/collar was worked in stockinette stitch and had a conventional ruffle. As you will notice in the picture below, the collar is soft and unstructured and no amount of blocking would persuade it otherwise. As it is, it falls open and reads like a soft v-neck collar. You might notice that the collar goes all the way to the placket. This is because I worked the collar after I worked both front plackets as written in the pattern. . .

My new Ella collars are worked in a 1×1 rib and end with the super picot ruffle introduced in last week’s post. But they are worked before the plackets on the front of the coat. You can see in the picture below (when compared to that above) that the plackets on the front are picked up on the side of the neck ruffle rather than the neck ruffle extending all the way to the end of the placket. The feeling is quite different for several reasons:  The 1 x 1 rib gives the collar greater structure. It also makes it stretcher and looks the same on either the “inside” or the “outside.” AND the extension of the front plackets up the edges of the neck ruffle (and another secret tweak I will divulge when we get to the front plackets & ruffles) also adds structure and gives the neckline more of a V-shape look with the weight of the ruffle pulling the collar open. I like both but they are different. If you are going to follow the pattern with the front plackets done before the neckline, you will not have much to do this week, I’m afraid. . . except make your gauntlets (look for information about that pattern link in Wednesday’s post) and make Bling or Cactus Flowers to decorate your coat (look for these patterns in your local yarn store. You can see what they look like on Ravelry).

The Ella out of the Red Barn Yarn Hand-dyed in Mushroom is a more structured coat all around so the collar itself is more structured and likely to stand up. As you see it behaving here is almost how the collar behaves when you are wearing it.

Here you can see the collar is not as tall as the Mushroom Ella and has more drape. As do the others, the collar stays open when I wear the coat.

2. What You Need to Know & How to Do What You Need to Do:

For this week, the only official assignment is to work the neck and any ruffle at its edge. The unofficial assignment is to catch up if that has been at all an issue–I know we have some late-comers joining us, so this gives some a chance to get closer to where we all are knitting (I, personally, am starting 2 new Ella coats–one for me and one for Melissa!. . . pics of them as soon as there is anything fun to show!). So, finish whatever might be remaining on the sleeves, finish those cuffs and cuff ruffles. . .

For the collar treatment pictured in the pattern, you will have to wait.

For a stockinette or 1 x 1 rib collar worked as my new Ellas are, here is how you will pick up stitches (on the right side): 20 (21, 22, 23, 23, 23) sts along right front neck edge, 26 (26, 30, 32, 32, 32) sts across back neck, 20 (21, 22, 23, 23, 23) sts along left front neck edge. Tweak slightly if necessary so that your total number of stitches is divisible by 2 + 1 extra stitch.

Purl the first row.

Begin your 1 x 1 rib with a knit stitch, *p1, k1; repeat from * across, ending with k1 for a lovely symmetry.

Or, to say this another way if you are like me and don’t want to count stitches particularly: Pick up stitch for stitch at the neck bind off, 3 sts for every 4 rows for the side neck, pick up stitch for stitch across the back neck, 3 sts for every 4 rows down other side neck, stitch for stitch at neck bind and make sure the total stitch count is divisible by 2 +1 extra stitch.  Purl the first row (now WS)
Next row (RS): Starting with k1, work a 1 x 1 rib across and end with k1.

Work in established stitch pattern until the collar reaches the desired length. I check this two ways: 1. Were a strong breeze to come up and coax me to pull my collar up around my neck, does it do the job? And, 2. When the collar lies down, as it will most of the time, do I like it? When the answer to both of these questions is yes, I’m finished. Time to ruffle.

3. My Innovations & Tweaks:

You may, of course, choose to use the more relaxed ruffle style in the original pattern. It takes less time, yarn, and is more understated. If you are smitten with my favorite ruffle, here it is again just I introduced it in last week’s post. I employed this same ruffle at the end of the collar as well as the sleeve cuffs, plackets, and skirt hem.

RS: Kfb across the row.

WS: Purl.

RS: *Kfb, k1; repeat from * across row.

WS: Execute a picot bind off as follows: *Using a cable cast on, CO 2 stitches, BO 3, placing the stitch that remains on the right needle back onto the left needle; repeat from * until all stitches are bound off.

4. What to Check As-You-Knit:

Truth be told, not much to check on this week . . .  except the length of the collar, as I mentioned above. You may want to try on your Ella bodice as you are working to see how long (tall) you want the collar to be. I made my Ella collars between 3 and 4 inches long. Please your own eyes and sensibilities!

5. Fun Stuff!

As you may know, we are working on the Poppy Cowl mini knit-a-long. This week I will discuss grafting a rib pattern as well as introduce my matching gauntlets pattern. I will have the gauntlets uploaded onto Ravelry on Wednesday. Shops, I’ve got paper patterns you can order! Just write to orders@nonipatterns.com.

If you’d like, you may want to start making some Bling or other flat profile flowers for decoration. . .You can see a couple of little flowers I have pinned to my Ocean Stripes ella (above). . . Usually I have more but I probably took some off to wear in my hair. I used the flower clips I distribute for this purpose. Easy to sew flowers to the clips and then clip to anything. See more about these in previous postings on flowers.

Come to the live chat Wednesday, February 22 between 9 and 10 for a special announcement!

Whatever you decide to work on, please post your pictures for everyone to see!

Happy Ella Knitting!

4 thoughts on “Week 6: The Neck Ruffle

  1. It looks like you have used some beaded yarn in the collar/ruffle. Is it just the ruffle itself? Do you find this bothersome around your face/neck at all? I I have some Tilli Thomas disco lights that I was thinking about using for my ruffle but I am just wondering if this will make it itchy around my face or wrists? And of course I am lovin’ another catch up week. I think I may finally be able to catch up!! This is so much fun!

    • Hi Jill,
      I’m so glad you are enjoying the knit-a-long! To answer your question: I have some sequined merino (a little bit) in the collar and I don’t find that it bothers me. . . but I’m not super sensitive that way. If you are a very sensitive person when it comes to itchy wool. If you are, maybe stick with the beaded yarns because the sequins can be irritating.

  2. When the ruffle gets added to the rib collar, do we continue all the way down the front of the bodice? Any chance you can write out how many rows you worked in stockinette before you did the ruffle rows and picot edge? Thanks.

    • I will be giving instructions for the front plackets when we get to that point in the project and my tweak addresses the desire that you have that the edges of the ruffles meet–you just have to wait because this can’t be accomplished now.

      Rather than tell how many rows I worked (because I did different things for each coat) it makes more sense to work until the collar is the number of inches that suits you and your style on your body.

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