Hello knitters, and welcome to the penultimate week of our Winter of Colorwork KAL. Today we are talking about finishing tips and tricks for colorwork cardigans to ensure that each aspect of your knitted garment will wear well over time.
After steeking a cardigan you will need to add some much needed structure to the freshly cut edge by picking up and knitting the collar and button band. Your pattern will indicate how many stitches to pick up for each section of your cardigan, typically along the right front edge, right front neck, top of sleeves & back neck, left front neck, and left front edge.
If you struggle with picking up the correct amount of stitches for a button band and collar, here is a trick you may find helpful; say your size in the pattern calls for you to pick up 67 stitches over 13 inches on your front edges, or about 5.1 stitches per inch (67 divided by 13). If your front edges measure 14.5 inches instead, for example, multiply your measurement times the stitches per inch (5.1) for a total of 74 stitches (rounded up) to pick up along each front edge.
TIP: Lay your sweater out flat and measure the front edges. If your front edges measure shorter or longer than the pattern schematic, adjust the number of stitches you are picking up in those sections. If your measurement matches the schematic for a different size, you can pick up the number of front edge stitches indicated for that size.
Once your button band and collar are completed, you’ll next need to fasten down the edge of your steek stitches. This can be accomplished by either by tacking them down with a length of yarn and a darning needle to the inside of the cardigan, or by hand-sewing a length of Petersham or Grosgrain ribbon down each inside front edge after you’ve washed & blocked your sweater. We prefer to use Petersham ribbon, which can be found at most local yarn or fabric stores, as it resembles grosgrain ribbon but has a scalloped, flexible edge that allows it to lay smoothly around curves.
Finally, soak your cardigan and block it to the measurements outlined in the pattern schematic. A bath and a rest will let your yarn bloom, even out your colorwork, and let your sweater show off its true beauty. If you need a quick review of blocking, check out our Foundations: Blocking 101 post in our Resource Library.
When your sweater is nice and dry, sew on your buttons and wear with pride!
TIP: If using a flat button with holes instead of a toggle, sew your buttons on with a thread shank to allow room for the layer of fabric that you are buttoning through to fit comfortably under the button. Use a toothpick or darning needle as a spacer on top of your button as you sew. There are lots of great videos online to guide you!
Next week we will be wrapping up the Winter of Colorwork KAL and hope to see your finished garments! Be sure to share your work online with the hashtags below, and leave a comment here to let us know how your project went.