Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm Steeked

Once upon a time, a year or so ago, I became enamoured with a sweater from Sally Melville, knit designer extrordinaire. It was in "The Purl Stitch" which I consider one of my favorite knitting books.

She uses a lot of clever tricks when she makes a pattern and they have all proved very useful going forward with other projects. SO, I made the sweater.

It is the equivalent of a blue sweatshirt with a kangaroo pouch pocket. I loved making it and the pocket with its reverse stockinette edges is an architectural delight. The edges look great with no hems.

HOWEVER (you knew that was coming, didn't you?) Flattering it was not particularly and HOT it was. It led me to a realization that Sally Melville hadn't had......

Women who tend to always be warmer than the general populace should not wear pullover sweaters made of DK weight yarn.

(That rule might even apply to lighter yarn, and has led me to steer clear of knitting pullover sweaters in general)

So there it sat, unworn, though the color is great on me and that pocket was perfect for dogwalking supplies.

I have been thinking about steeks for almost a year. I have pondered steeks, and talked about steeks and even read a little bit about them.

Gill and Blogless Nicki have both heard LOTS about me pondering steeks. Steeks -- for the unknitting readers -- are when you take a pair of scissors and cut your knitting apart.

Take a deep breath and THINK about that. You just spent 2 months knitting the sucker and now you are taking scissors to it. The thought alone makes me forget to breathe.

As a complicating factor, there was also that blasted Kangaroo pocket that I loved and that was knit into the fabric, not applied afterwards and therefore not removable. SIGH.

That meant that part of what was going to be cut apart was actually 2 pieces that had to be held together to make pockets out of the pouch after they were cut apart

But you know the drill... if you won't wear it you might as well do surgery on it, so I marked the middle of the front with yarn. I sewed a line down either side of the center stitch with a sewing machine and I CUT THE FRONT OF THE SWEATER IN HALF!!!!!!

What you see next is the bifurcated sweater front, just hanging around with its stitches exposed.

The next step, which I didn't document very well, (at all) was to pick up stitches from the cut edges and begin knitting a ribbing out from the edges.

I am sure that you are supposed to do things like count to make sure that there are the same number of stitches on each side.. Let's pretend that I did that.

I was WAY too over the top by that time to even think about counting, or measuring or anything but knitting to make sure it worked.

Someone more into process than product might also have thought about buttonholes, but you aren't reading about someone like that. I just wanted to get it done before it all fell apart in my hands.

I was knitting as though it was going to burst into flames.

There are a couple of other things you should know. I had very little yarn left. I wouldn't have had ANY but while I was making the sweater I had a minor nervous attack about the amount of yarn left and I put a stripe on the hood.

Have I mentioned the sides of the hood met at the neckline when the sweater was whole, so the hood was a complication of the dissection?

That stripe left me with a half ball of yarn to make the front bands.

Well.... Somehow it worked!

The former pullover sweater is now a cardigan. The button bands (though buttonless and buttonhole less) look pretty good, as you can probably see for yourself.

They are generally even and have a similar number of stitches.

No, not exactly the same number but if you are close enough to count to see if they match YOU ARE WAY TOO CLOSE!

I am left with the issue of how to fasten it when the winds up here get blustery, but I think toggles ....

I even have some nice red leather that I could make the (whatever you call the part that goes around the button on a toggle) with.

I think red will look interesting and will draw attention away from any small imprefections that will show up.

To be really sure that everything stays attached, I admit that I stitched the "facings" down on the inside with yarn so that they should never ravel. I don't think steek purists do that, they just trim close to the edge and let it go. I am not a purist.

I think it looks good, and the inspector general, who is in charge of everything knitting, though she has no thumbs, has approved it all.


Heather said...

I can't remember how I found you but am full of admiration for your bravery in taking scissors to all that beautiful knitting. It paid off too, and you have a great cardigan that you will now wear. It reminds of the time I bought a larger quantity of Aran yarn to make sweaters for myself, husband and four children. I then remembered that I had never knitted Aran type patterns, so had to learn quickly. Everyone looked really good in their sweaters but I looked like an Aran hippo! So I sat and unpicked it all and remade it in a smaller size and slightly different pattern. Yes, I did wear it after that. Happy knitting, Heather.

Gill said...

Good grief, no wonder you've been quiet!!

But you've done a great job. Are there any challenges left now?

blackbird said...

I think it *looks* lovely - and I only hope it gives you more pleasure. And that it is flattering.

jordiw said...

Well, it will probably never be "flattering" but it is a great dogwalking sweater ... which I needed, and the color is good. It was a great learning experience!

nadine said...

Bravo, Madame ! you are brave.
your "new" cardigan looks terrific. very impressive work.

Nicki said...

You finally bit the bullet. Hooray for you. It looks fabulous.

Nita Bruce said...

wow, jordi - you must have been taking the brave pills! Never tried it and am in awe that you did on that gorgeous purple jumper - looks good though! Kudos!