Those of you who have been reading WendyKnits for a while know that I often stray from the front steek technique as written in Dale patterns.
The pattern usually instructs you to implement a four-stitch steek for the front of a cardigan. Once the body is done, to create the front bands, you machine stitch the steek (same technique as for armhole steeks) and cut. Then, pick up stitches for the front band using a crochet hook.
I followed the instructions for a couple of Dale cardis, but was always concerned about picking up stitches with so little “real estate” in the steeks. The stitch and cut works great for the armholes, because you don’t pick up stitches around the armholes — you sew in sleeves. No strain on the steeks there.
So I worked out my own steek technique for the front.
At the beginning of the first round where you need to start steeking (on Ingeborg that’s after you complete the facing and bottom band), cast on five stitches, place a marker, knit the first round, place a marker, cast on five stitches. On the next round you join and start knitting in the round. On Ingeborg, this first round is done in one color, different from the color of the bottom band, so it’s easy to simply cast on stitches on the left hand needle, then continue on knitting the stitches already there. If there were two colors used in this round, I would cast on the stitches in alternate colors.
Of those ten stitches, the middle eight are worked in alternate colors on the two-color rounds, and the two stitches on the outer edges are always worked in the background color.
Here is my front steek in progress.
Note that I’ve done my steek in stripes. You could also do it in a checkerboard pattern, which I used to do. But I find it easier to cut down the center if I’ve knitted stripes. My eyes try to play tricks on me with a checkerboard!
Once you’ve machine-stitched, cut, picked up stitches, and knit your front bands, you can trim your steeks to a two- or three-stitch width.
This method of course uses more yarn, but I’ve got extra to spare. I originally planned to make Ingeborg in size medium, but decided to make the size small (it’s that old self-image thing again — I’m not really as huge as I think I am). And I bought enough yarn to make one size up from medium, as it’s my experience that Dale patterns often underestimate the amount of yarn required.
So yeah. I’m covered for yarn!
I have been known in the past to employ a neck steek for Dales instead of casting off and knitting back and forth. I’m thinking about that now. What to do . . . I can do the neck steek and fudge the decreases, or I could simply knit up a tube and machine stitch the neck shaping and cut away the excess.
Or I could actually follow the pattern and cast off the stitches as directed and knit back and forth. It wouldn’t kill me.
I’ll decide later. And you’ll be the first to know when I do.
The moral of all this is:
Just because they wrote the pattern doesn’t mean that they know what will work best for you. Be wild! Be crazy! Be a rebel!
Over at the Ingeborg Group, one of the knit-alongers has done her bottom band in Koigu that coordinates with the colors of the body pattern. And it looks fabulous. Thinking outside the box at its finest!
By the way, Kitty Lucy was modelling Ingeborg yesterday. Her cafe au lait fur makes the purrfect backdrop, I think!
Today she was too busy sitting under the sun lamp at the kitty day spa to bother with my knitting.
Lucy Sweater and Cotton Cashmere
Some questions in the comments yesterday about both.
The Lucy sweater will have short sleeves with the same lace around the bottom as the bottom of the sweater. The body of the sweater is regular ol’ stockinette.
Here it is:
And a lace close-up:
Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere. Mmmmmmmm . . . yummy. And this from a “I Hate To Knit With Cotton” kinda gal. Just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks, eh?
L-B turned me on to this yarn — she’s knitting with it right now and has been waxing lyrical about it. Impressionable gal that I am, I had to buy some up to try it out.
It’s very soft, but with nice stitch definition. I wouldn’t say that you can really feel the cashmere, but it doesn’t feel like knitting with twine, like some cottons I’ve knit with recently that shall remain nameless (cough::Kolibri::cough). All in all, a very pleasant yarn to knit.
WendyKnits gives it two thumbs up!