Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

August 11, 2014

IMG_3713Freshly finished…a cardigan for an eight year old friend of ours.  It is my own design that I have named Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside. Ravelled here.

Knitting for children as they get older is a tricky thing.  Some don’t like things around their neck. Some don’t like the heaviness of wool. And then there is the minefield of colour.

This cardigan was designed to be something that could be left at the beach house for rugging up on a windy walk by the sea or as a warm thing over your bathers as evening comes in. I used a variegated yarn to introduce a range of colours that a child could attach themselves to, a nautical stripe and purple marbled buttons that will hopefully seal the deal.

IMG_3730I am proud to say that this all came out of the stash, which is my favourite place for putting together a project. The blue is Heirloom Easy Care 8ply.  I had three balls and needed to buy one extra to finish the button band.  The white is of unknown origin as it came from an oppy with no ball bands but it is a commercial cabled jobbie that is probably machine washable. The variegated yarn is very special and was the nucleus of the whole cardigan.

IMG_3206It is a Jillybean yarn called Tweed Sock in a colourway called Sunrise Tweed.  I bought it on our UK adventure a couple of years ago and had been saving it for something special.  There was 400 m in the skein and I reckon I have got about a third left still. It is a machine washable merino sock yarn in a light sportsweight.  It has combined with the DK in a lovely way, the different yarn weights creating a slight corrugated effect which accentuates the stripes.

IMG_3724Variegated yarns often pool when they have been dyed in short repeats. Whilst I love the colours in variegated yarns, I don’t really like a pooling effect. I reckon striping with contrasting yarns is a way to both highlight the variegation but break up any pooling.

IMG_3718This cardigan was knit in the round with raglan sleeves and steeked fronts.  Steeking is when you cut up the middle of your knitting and bind off the cut stitches securely. Machine washable yarn in not usually recommended for a steeked garment.  The additional processing undergone by the yarn, removes the barbs along the fibre shafts to prevent the fibres from mashing together and felting.  Steeking normally requires fibres that are good at sticking together to provide a secure edge.

I could have just knit back and forth but knitting in the round is so quick and I don’t really have much available knitting time so I really needed a steeking solution that would work for machine washable yarns.

After much thought, I used Tom of Holland’s knotted steek method.  In this method, you unravel the steek stitches…

IMG_3428Then cut them in half, knotting the yarn ends in pairs…

IMG_3433And weave in the ends.

IMG_3430I should have picked up the stitches for the button band prior to weaving in but I forgot and it was a tough job to find the stitches to pick up.

IMG_3714The result is strong and secure but the stripes have been a little distorted by the weaving in of the steek ends.  This wouldn’t be a problem if this was just plain knitting. It is a little bit of an experiment to see if the steek stays secure over time and wearing. I shall have to let you know how it goes.

Fingers crossed our friend likes her cardigan or that their beach house is so cold, she will have to wear it!


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  1. the stripes are very pretty! and I love the raglan construction – it looks so smooth and neat – so satisfying. All those ends must have been time consuming to sew in – oy! Hope it lasts well 🙂 and is well worn. It certainly deserves to be.

  2. Oh I really love the effect that you achieved here. I also don’t love pooling with a variegated yarn but the stripes work a treat. Very nice…and the colours are so pretty!

    When I was a kid my mom would knit matching sweaters for me and my brother, which I loved and my brother loathed. She couldn’t get him to wear sweaters after about age 5, which was such a shame because the items she made were so thoughtful and attractive. I hope your recipient enjoys wearing this on summer evenings at the beach.

  3. Beautiful use of your special variegated 🙂 it’s knitted up delightfully with the blue and white.

    That steeking method looks very effective. I wouldn’t have considered it an option with machine-washable wool, good to know! Knitting back and forward with stripes is so tedious!!

  4. What a wonderful cardigan! Those colors are delightful. I’ve never tried the knotted steek method but look forward to trying it in the future.

  5. Great colour combinations! And yes, children and had knits…argh
    Given up on the Grands in Germany, totally given up!! You really need the little/big ones right up close and personal. re the stripes you think are wonky…that is oNLY because you are right on top of them and with all the activity a child does, no one but you would ever notice…of course, now that you have told all of us 🙂

  6. Great pattern. I was brought here looking for some advice on the knotted steek, since I’m considering using it on a sweater I’m knitting with an alpaca yarn, with which you’re supposdely not to use any other steeking method than the sewing machine. Did you find that your steek held up securely over time?

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