The Land Rover Owners Wife

Sirdar Summer Stripes Cardigan: Finished

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Still needs blocking but I think it's turned out quite well.

Still needs blocking but I think it’s turned out quite well.

Setting sleeves is my least favourite job of all when it comes to making cardigans and jumpers and after the difficulty I’d had with the actual making of the sleeves, I was absolutely not looking forward to sewing them in but I’m ahead of myself.

As I mentioned in the last post about this particular project, the front and button bands were knitted up from stitches left on a safety pin during the making of the front sections. Personally, I prefer the’ pick and knit’ types of button band because using that method, you have to pick up and then knit into a specific number of loops along the front edge, neckline and neck which effectively means that the band(s) you are making are already fitted to the garment by the sheer act of knitting into the loops.

Sirdar Summer Stripes

Fixing the band in place half way down helps ensure an even spread during sewing up.

With the stitches left on a safety pin or stitch holder method, you have to keep on knitting rows until the band fits the length of the edge when slightly stretched. But the question is, just exactly how much stretch is ‘slightly’? Not enough stretch (or too many rows knitted) and the band will be too baggy: too much stretch (or not enough rows knitted) and the band will be too tight and ruin the look of the front.

Then with this pattern once I had decided that I had knitted sufficient rows to stretched the band just enough, I had to knit back across and pick up and knit the neck band!!! But this still left the front bands ‘flapping’, as only the bottom few rows and the top where the band had become part of the neckband, were actually attached to the front section.

Spot the seam: back and front side seam

Spot the seam: back and front side seam

Which neatly brings me to the next downside to this kind of band making. You see even if you get the amount of stretch correct, you still have to sew the band evenly in place, making sure that you don’t find yourself with either not enough or too much band left by the time you’ve sewn most of it onto the front edge and reached the top, as either of these scenarios would necessitate an unpicking session. Which is why I tie the bands to the front at the midway point for a childs cardigan, or at the quarter, half and three quarter points on an adults cardigan.

To do this, I first place a yarn needle threaded with a spare strand of yarn within easy reach and then I simply:

  • Pick-up the top of the front band where it has joined the top of the front section and forms part of the neck band and hold it firmly with my finger tips:
  • Then holding the bottom of the band with my other fingers, I gently pull the front out until the band and edge are straight;
  • Next  I look to find the mid point by eye;
  • Before, still holding the top of the band, I lay the front edge and band across my lap and gently let go off the bottom edge. I find that the material of my jeans helps prevent the front from completely slackening off and so the mid point is still easy to see; and then
  • I take the already threaded yarn needle and then carefully sew through the center point, tying the thread of yarn into a bow before finally checking that I have indeed marked the center point, by gently pulling the top and bottom of the front and band apart again to check the distribution of the band against the front edge.
Pretty button detail

Pretty button detail

With both bands sewn in place, I was able to complete the making up by sewing up the side seams and setting the sleeves which turned out to be surprisingly easy, all things considered. All that remained was for the button to be sewn in place and any remaining loose ends to be tidied up which is a job I usually do as I finish each section, so only a couple are left at the end.

And the back view

And the back view

So there you have it, a finished 3/4 sleeve top, knitted in Summer Stripes Gypsy. I really like the finished top and so does Little Mudlet.

Now for something much quicker, another baby jacket, for yet another of the teachers at school who is due to have a baby girl in a few weeks. I have another favourite little cardigan which is definitely one for the girls and so, as a break from the traditional pastel pink, I’ve chosen a mint coloured yarn for this new project: King Cole Babyglitz DK. Obviously I will be posting pictures in due course.

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