I’m almost done with my Daytripper Cardigan by Mary Jane Mucklestone from Field Guide No. 17: Lopi. Highest recommendation. I love this thing.
Last week, I hacked open my Daytripper (Ravelry link) to transform it from a tube into the beginnings of a cardigan. The cardiganing!
Cutting a steek to create an open front is good fun. And this design in particular is a great project for a first-time steek.
The steek behaved beautifully as I chopped away, and it was not hard at all, and I did in front of a Zoom crowd!
Such a 2021 moment.
How I Did It
My strategy on this steek was to try something new. I’ve done steeks in a number of ways, but I’d never done one using thread rather than yarn. It seemed exotic, this mixing of thread and yarn. It also seemed like a bulk-reducing maneuver, which was desirable in this case of this steek because . . .
I knitted the steek totally and completely wrong.
The pattern clearly sets up a 6-stitch steek. I, on the other hand, made it only 3 stitches wide. And I didn’t discover this discrepancy until I’d finished the whole thing. God only knows what I did to make the stitch count come out right: reckless and wanton decreases? I have no idea.
It wasn’t a disaster, though, because a) Léttlopi is a steek-friendly, woolly yarn. It wants to hang together. And b) 3 stitches is plenty of steek width when working at this large gauge.
I threaded up my sewing needle with buttonhole thread, black for easy viewing. (I don’t have a sewing machine, but I’m handy with a sewing needle.)
I stitched this while looking at the front, but I’m showing you the back side because the stitching sinks into the stitch on the front side. You can see it better here.
Backstitch in this case goes really fast.
Up one side of the steek, down the other. This shows only one of the two lines of backstitching. All those ends you’re seeing land in the middle of the steek, to be trimmed away after cutting the steek.
The Needle Felting
I wanted to make sure my too-skinny steek would hold up, so I decided to do a bit of needle felting to really glue that sucker together.
Here’s my QVC moment demonstrating how the Needle Felting Gizmo works with the Felting Brush Pad Thingie. Missing from this photo is the actual piece of knitting being needle felted. It goes on top of the Felting Brush Pad Thingie, and you do it flat on a tabletop, and it really is quite amazing.
Once you’ve stabbed it 30 times or so per inch, the back of your work looks like a furry mess. Which is the goal: the fibers are all felted together in a way that keeps the stitches from unraveling. Here’s the needle-felted steek, back view, before I cut it.
Here’s what it looks like after you cut the steek. This is the front side of the steek flap. (The steek flap folds back when you pick up stitches for the button band. It’s a cool bit of engineering.)
Here’s the back side of the steek flap, gratifyingly dense and chewy:
It’s interesting how the back of the steek flap is all furry yet the front is not. I mean: it’s mildly interesting. Not fascinating or stunning or anything.
The Button Band
This finishing moment took a grand total of 1.5 episodes of The Great Pottery Throwdown. Fastest button band ever!
These buttonholes are nothing more than a yarnover/knit 2 together. I like the simplicity of them.
And here’s the full view of this, still a little damp after I gave it a nice long soak. The Léttlopi blossomed. It’s fluffier.
Now I’m off to find 8 buttons. It’s my favorite part of finishing a cardigan.