Monday, September 26, 2011

The Final Saga of the Saga

I cannot believe it's done!
Turns out all I needed was a bit of help:
What BobCat can do with a needle and thread is unreal.  The boy's got talent, he really does. 
Orange cat = orange racing stripe inside the cardigan.  The boy even inspired me.

So here's the synopsis of what I did to lay this project to rest.

Originally, I had wanted to knit an attached i-cord up each steeked side, or crochet on a button band.  I was concerned about how I would hide the steeked edge, because I wanted it enclosed in something, as well as accommodate the width of my clasps.  I didn't want to end up with a super-fat i-cord, but with something flat instead.  All that to say, I knew what I wanted, I just wasn't sure how to go about doing it.

In a stroke of genius, I found inspiration in one of my favorite knitting reference books, the Big Book of Knitting by Katharina Buss.  I crocheted a slip-stitch chain up the front of each steek, between 2 rows, picking up one chain for each row of knitting.  I ended up with 127 stitches on each side, which is important, because the bands need to meet up at the top and the bottom for symmetry, right?  It helps if you pay close attention to where you start and finish.  Just sayin'.
Here I am crocheting the slip-stitch chain up the front of each steek using a 4mm crochet hook.  It is important to get the tension right, because you don't want to distort the edge - it needs to lay flat without being wavy or pulled together.

The purpose of the crocheted slip-stitch chain was to give me a nice, straight edge from which to pick up the stitches to knit the button band.  My sweater was knit with a 5mm needle, but I knit the button band with a 4mm needle, which gave me perfect tension.  (Individual results may vary, well, because that's what individual results do).

My first attempt was knit with a 5 mm needle, reasoning that's what I knit the sweater with, but the button band ended up a bit floppy, so I frogged it and started over with a smaller needle.  When I went down to a 4mm needle size, the result was right - not too tight, and not too big.

But back to the crocheted slip-stitch chain, where I picked up one knit stitch per crocheted slip-stitch:
Jumping ahead, here's a look at the inside:
 
Looking at the reverse side, the crocheted chain leaves a nice, obvious stitch onto which I will whip-stitch the button band.  Note the double-sewn seam beside the steek.  This will get nicely hidden when I fold back the button band and whip-stitch everything closed.

I tailored the width of the button band to the metal clasps I found at Fabricville.  They had a huge selection, and I had a hard time choosing the perfect clasp, but I think I got it right:
I am really happy with the end result.  The clasps aren't too fussy, and I find they accent the cardigan very well.  To accommodate the width of the clasps, I think I knit 6 rows, purled the row where I turned the fabric over, and continued knitting until the edges joined the back of the crocheted slip-stitch row.

Once the button band was cast-off, I tucked the edge over, and whip-stitched it to the reverse of my crocheted chain using blue sock yarn.  Sewing up items with Lopi isn't recommended; the more you pull Lopi through a seam, the weaker it gets.  I used sock wool and it blended in nicely.  Just remember to line everything up perfectly so there isn't any puckering.   For the retentive among you, you might even want to baste with waste thread for added ease.  For the reverse of every crocheted chain, I had a matching cast-off stitch I sewed in to.

My orange crocheted racing stripe was for looks only; it serves no purpose but to make me and the cat happy.
Here's a look at the whip-stitched edge.  The devil is in the details, like most things:
I loved making this sweater.  I'm also happy I took it out of hibernation this summer and gave it some lovin'.  It turned out much nicer than I had anticipated, which is always a happy bonus when knitting clothing.

Next time, I'm putting BobCat in charge.

11 comments:

Shepherd's Loft said...

Gorgeous!

Shim Farm said...

Thanks Linda - it was a great knit! I'm really proud of the end result.

tofugirl said...

That is a really beautiful cardigan! I'm always impressed to see people who can actually see their bigger projects through because my own pile of UFOs grows ever larger. Which is why I mostly knit socks now... :)

(As an aside, I stumbled on your blog randomly and have really been enjoying reading all about the farm!)

Shim Farm said...

Thanks for stopping by, tofugirl! I appreciate the compliments. Trust me, the UFO's in this house would impress NASA, LOL! I am trying to mend my deviant ways, and am currently forcing myself through my pile of UFO's. This project really helped motivate me though.

Robin said...

Beautiful! I am amazed at all the details you put into it.

Shim Farm said...

Thanks Robin. I ended up ordering a ton of wool from Iceland, so I'm going to make another like it, but in the neutral tones. My mom fell in love with it - so I gave it to her. She was very happy!

goutdeterroir said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing the saga, very helpful and informative. Hum, I think my WIP will be just fine as a pullover :)

Shim Farm said...

Hello goutdeterroir, thanks for commenting! The steeking part was actually quite fun. I have another 2 sweaters completed that I just need to steek. Let's hope the Saga wasn't a case of beginner's luck LOL!

Ineke said...

Hello, I am very impressed about how you did everything with the steeking of this gardigan! Amazing and beautiful!
I knitted the Saga ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/tricotant/2524111835/ )also and it was my first steeking project and I was afraid for it but now I see how you did it .. I can learn from you.

Ineke said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shim Farm said...

Bonjour Ineke, merci pour vos compliments! C'était vraiment un projet qui démandait tous mes connaissances, mais je suis comblé par le résultat. Fallait se pousser un peu pour le finir, un fois terminé, je me suis démandé pourquoi je hésitais autant! Je suis allé voir vos tricots sur Flickr - mon dieu - impressionant! Merci de votre visite virtuelle, et bonne journée!

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