The second steeked doll sweater is finished and on the model.
If you're just joining us or have otherwise missed the last two weeks, this sweater can be worn as a cardigan or a "pullover," and we're using steeks so we can knit in the round. This has the advantage of allowing us to work always on the right (public) side and always work knit stitches, which makes the resulting fabric more even. (You still have to purl for the ribbing.) The main purpose of this doll sweater is to give people an opportunity to make a steeked sweater, with all the steps included, without the commitment of a full-size garment. Steeks can be intimidating until you've done the process a few times. The pattern will be available for free.
We knit the sweater body in a tube up to the armholes, then bound off for the underarm and cast armhole steek stitches on in the next round. Then we worked the slightly larger tube up to the shoulders and joined the shoulders, either by grafting or by binding off and sewing the bound off edges together. Then we machine-sewed on each side of each steek, two rows of vertical machine stitching on each side.
Here's what the inside of the doll sweater looks like after machine-sewing within the steek, but close to the pattern stitches that aren't part of the steek (see last week's blog for photos of the steps up to here). I already trimmed the loose tails down to a manageable length before sewing.
Then we cut. (Good light, sharp scissors and a glass of wine if needed, are key.) We cut right down the middle of the steek. It doesn't have to be very exact. After the ribbing is finished, we will trim the steek facing down to just a little past the stitching, so any irregularities will be trimmed off.
In this case the shoulders have been grafted using Kitchener stitch. The next step is to make the neck opening. There are ways of shaping the opening while knitting and filling in the space with steek stitches, but we have just knit the tube to the top. We then measure and baste with contrast yarn where we plan to cut.
Then we sew two rows of machine stitching about 1/8" apart, just outside the basting. After the neck is sewn, we can cut just outside the sewing. Then we pick up stitches with the ribbing yarn to knit the neck ribbing.
We work a few rows of ribbing and bind off. Then we pick up on one side of the steek for the button/buttonhole bands. Here you can see the center steek stitches. They show up as dark vertical rows of stitches. There are some breaks between the rows, because we had some rounds of knitting that were solid lighter color. Still, you can see the vertical rows pretty clearly. The arrow points to the leg of the stitch that's within the steek but right next to the pattern stitches of the motifs. We are going to pick up this left leg of the outermost vertical steek stitch row from bottom to top, and then a few stitches in the neck ribbing. (The stitch is shaped like a V.)
When all the stitches are picked up, it will look like this on the outside.
It will look like this on the inside.
You can pick up the whole stitch instead of just one leg if you like, but it adds a little thickness, something we want to avoid when making tiny garments like doll sweaters.
After knitting the buttonhole band (or button band, if your doll is a boy), we do the same thing on the other side, picking up the corresponding leg of the vertical row of steek stitches, this time the right leg.
After the button/buttonhole bands are done, it's time to pick up the stitches for the sleeves. Here's what the inside looks like before picking up for the sleeves.
Those flaps you see are the armhole steeks. We are going to pick up stitches on the outside from the bottom of the armhole to the shoulder and back down the other side, picking up the outermost leg of the vertical row of steek stitches, just as we did for the button/buttonhole bands.
The sleeves are then worked in the round, with decreases according to the pattern, ending with ribbing. When changing colors, I just tie a loose knot. Then when the sleeve is done, I turn it inside out and retie the knots securely, and then cut off the tails. If your motifs have very long floats, and your doll has fingers that stick out, you might want to line the sleeve with nylon net or some other thin fabric, especially if you're giving the sweater to a small child.
The next step is to clean up the inside. Trim the steeks to just a couple of vertical rows of stitching on each side of the button/buttonhole bands and the sleeve steeks. For the neck opening, trim to 1/4". Fasten down all the steeks to the inside of the sweater, using blanket stitch, overcast or cross-stitch, or cover the steek edges with decorative ribbon or stretch lace binding. If you're lining the sleeves, do it now.
Sew on the buttons and block. Then the lucky doll, like Gabi, above, is ready for a photo shoot. Next week I hope to be able to post a link to the pattern for this sweater.
After I finished Gabi's sweater, I started on the Hana pattern for Vroni. This will go to Hannah, who now lives with DGD2 in Wisconsin, for her birthday in May. I finished it on Saturday. It's a cute jumper/tunic with pockets for small items: crayons, tiny dolls, comb, hankie, rocks or shells.
In real life, we helped with a performance of fun music and poems Monday evening by taking the donations from the audience as people filed in. Felicia and Keith, who sing in our choir, donated their artistry for the cause.
The proceeds went to The Peace House, our local women's shelter. It was a fun evening with beautiful music from two talented singers, along with a lot of laughs. A friend we hadn't seen in years came to town for skiing, and we invited him and his wife (whom we had never met) to come along for the performance. We also had plans for snowshoeing and supper on Thursday.
We lucked out on the weather. Thursday was beautiful--for a change. The pups really enjoyed the outing, as did we all. The supper was good, although our guest had already had lasagne two nights in a row, and that's what we were having. The gentleman was an usher at our wedding 51 years ago, and his wife is a knitter (among other things), and we found we had a lot in common.
The snowshoeing wore out the pups. Dusty could hardly move after our walk around the block the next day. He crashed with Rat for a snooze on the padded bench.
Dusty is 10 months old now, close to 20 lbs. and 16+ inches tall at the shoulder, so technically a standard, like Rocky, although from miniature stock. We expect him to be smaller than Rocky, but he's getting close.
In the meantime, Rocky seems to have more energy since starting his thyroid medication.
In other cuteness, Portland and environs are having their annual Rose City Yarn Crawl. I really wanted to go, but it would have cut into preparations for The Messiah Project. Maybe next year. In the meantime, DDIL2 and DGS3 (the youngest) popped in to some of the participating yarn shops.
I wouldn't be surprised if he were the first grandchild to learn to knit.
What's on my needles: Just cast on for Vroni's Fair Isle sweater, a test knit of the variation of the steeking project for the slimmer Götz dolls, like Hannah and Vroni.
What's on my Featherweight: Ready to sew the steeks for the next doll sweater.
What's on my loom: I still haven’t started anything with the leftover warp.
What's on my wheel: I have thrown a towel over Stanzi. I got tired of feeling guilty for not spinning. She will need a major oiling before I spin again.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Still listening to D. E. Stevenson’s Vittoria Cottage. Also listening to the choruses for The Messiah for the performance on April 9th. On the Kindle app, I’m still reading Dying to Read, The Cate Kinkaid Files Book #1.
What's in my wine glass: "Two-buck Chuck," Trader Joe's Charles Shaw Shiraz 2008 vintage. We accidentally opened one we were aging. Oops! Yum!
What's my tip of the week: You've probably heard that you should let the water continue to run after you've turned off your garbage disposal, but did you know that allowing the water to run before you turn on the disposal will allow the mechanism to work more thoroughly?
Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.