Monday, February 25, 2013

Change a Pullover into a Cardigan: Part One

Last week I saw a link to Susan B. Anderson's video about turning a pullover into a cardigan by steeking, and I could not get over how clever this is! 
I just had to try it, since I recently found out that you won't die from cutting your knitting when I knit the Bauhaus sweater.

This pullover was my first real top-down experiment, and while I love the yarn I used--a squishy farm yarn, Marr Haven 2-ply Aran weight Mule Spun--the construction of the sweater was not entirely comfy.
While we pardon the silly "staring at the sky" pose, notice how high the front of the neck sits. I definitely did not allow enough front drop on that neckline, and the sweater has never felt quite right as a result.

Thanks to Susan B, now I know just what to do.

First, as she suggests, I basted a line up the center to keep my place. 
As you can see more clearly from the wrong side, I used a regular smooth wool in a highly contrasting color.

On my first attempt, I used the same yarn to reinforce the edges, but it started to curl. I decided to find a smaller weight wool yarn in my stash and use a smaller crochet hook. 

I inserted the hook into the bound off edge stitch just below the line of ribbing stitches marked for the crochet reinforcement. Then I began by pulling up a loop and working a chain stitch through that loop. Then I inserted the hook into both sides of the first knit stitch, grabbed the yarn, and drew it through the stitch. Then I worked a single crochet stitch and worked the same in every knit stitch on up the body of the sweater, taking care to stay in a straight line. It helped to fold the fabric as I went to allow the line of knit stitches to be highly visible so I would stay on track.

And see how the back of the line of single crochet leaves a very clear line of stitches on the right side of the fabric so I can prepare for picking up stitches for the button and buttonhole bands.

I started at the neck for the corresponding second line of reinforced stitches at the same point out from the basted line, and worked them the same way.

Notice that because of the k3/p2 rib on the sweater, I placed the crochet reinforcement one stitch farther to each side than usual. I wanted to have a neat line of knit stitches all the way from the bottom edge to the top.

Then it was time to pull out that pink line, find the center, and cut!

Hurray! It looks great already. Thought I'd spare the weak-kneed the sight of the actual scissors this time. See how the crochet reinforcements naturally force the edge to turn in toward the wrong side so neatly?
Also, this yarn is so woolly and grabby that the cut edges are thus far behaving quite nicely and not going anywhere.

Now I'm going to go and work the button and buttonhole bands. 
I'll be back tomorrow to tell you about that.

See you then!


Cat said...

Your crochet looks amazing! Can't wait to see the next phase.

Jen Hagan said...

Thank you Cat! I'm so excited for National Crochet Month to start on Friday. I have a little something planned....Next phase of the sweater coming soon. Must find buttons!

knittingdragonflies said...

Well thank you very much for this! I'm ready to start a Lopi knit a long and want to switch the pullover to a cardigan. I found your articles, and it looks so easy peasy I'm going to give it a go!
Take care

Jen Hagan said...

Best of luck with that project, Vicki!