In 2017 I wanted to try to knit some different garments such as socks and cardigans and I had my mind set on trying a few new techniques such as a tubular cast on (I love it) and possibly steeking.
Here enters the Galloway Cardigan release in the lead up to winter knitting by Brooklyn Tweed. I fell in love immediately and knew I had to have a version if not two. But the pattern was advanced and after buying and reading it I got a bit worried if I could actually accomplish this. My local yarn shop came to the rescue with their perfectly timed “Christmas Jumper Along”. You get to knit in a group with a teacher of a period of time and it’s a great safe environment to try new things.
I started the project with some Stone Wool Cormo that I got in a sale from Loop in London. The yardage should have been perfect and even though more sticky yarn is recommended for steeking, I learned that using a sewn reinforced steek you could technically steek most if not all yarns. So off I go.
Now as I mentioned above this pattern is classed as Advanced and it really was, in terms of how it was layed out. You need to read and re-read the pattern ahead of time, to make sure you do not miss any decreases or increases that are meant to happen at the same time as something else. I completely misread part of the body section and my rows did not match up. After doing the maths several times, I contacted the Brooklyn tweed team on Ravelry and they helped me discover my mistake. Now all it really did was make the body about 36 rows longer and being tall I wanted to add some lengths anyways and had done so unknowingly. Win!
However this win had an annoying side effect. I would run out of grey yarn before reaching the yoke and also would not have any yarn for the button band. I tried to buy some more but there was none left unless I ordered it from the US which for 1 skein did not seem worth it. So into the stash I went and found some Brooklyn tweed shelter in a marled grey called Narwhal. It actually went quite well with the cardigan and I love the outcome. It truly is mine now.
The scariest part for me was picking up the button band after steeking the cardigan. I had done neither technique before and did loads of research and found some great tips for steeking.
- If you have lose ends then tape them to one side with normal cellophane before sewing your lines of stitching
- Place a piece of cardboard or thin wood between your cardigan layers to avoid cutting the other side.
- Use sharp small scissors
- Go slow.
I am so glad I saw the tip about the lose ends. They so would have gotten in the way in my sewing machine when I reinforced the steek.
Steeking itself was actually fine and mesmerising. I want to do it again, as soon as I can. But picking up the stitches, was really difficult and I maybe should have waited for some help. I will definitely get some more advise on this topic. I think I need to improve how to read my knitting.
Here are my few modifications/ maker’s marks on this project:
- I did not size down for the lice pattern but used a 5mm needle throughout the main body which added volume and more positive ease.
- I made a slight colour-work error in the yoke.
- Substituted background yarn near the yoke.
- The button band was doubled in length and then folded to create a thicker edging more in line with the Stone Wool thickness.
- I whip stitched the folded button band down to cover the steeked edge.
And because we all love lists, my thumbs up on this pattern:
- Attention to detail – tubular cast on finishes the edges beautifully (there is a tubular cast off included but I did not try it).
- The chart included a dominant colour guide.
- Notes on different types of steeks are included. This was really helpful.
- The unusual shape makes for a one of a kind item.
In terms of criticism, I only have a couple of things:
- The layout of the pattern. It used way more pages than you needed to and it was hard to find your place sometimes.
- I found the decreases that had to happen at the same time a bit overwhelming and I recommend spending the time to chart this out or make a list or whatever works for you.
- And the other part that was new to me was that the section where the underarms join was bound off instead of kept live. I think next time I would keep those stitches live as I like doing the effect of grafting live stitched together mere.
Overall I am super happy with this project and my yarn choices worked well and were a dream to knit with.