When Small Details Make a Garment

I am not a happy knitter of miles and miles of stockinette.

I wish I was — I love to wear simple lines and if I muster enough gumption to knit through lots of stockinette, it usually becomes a staple in my wardrobe.


IMG_8728I’ve had my eye on Amy Christoffer’s Galvanized Cardigan since it was first published in the Winter 2010 issue of Interweave Knits. It’s a simple stockinette cardigan, with corrugated rib detail at the collar, cuffs and hem.

I don’t know what the impetus was for me to cast on. I’ve had the main yarn that I used for the sweater, Rowan Felted Tweed DK, in stash for…EVER (I think probably 10 years). The contrast yarn I used though, was not Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which was used with the Rowan Felted Tweed DK in the original pattern (surprising since my stash of this particular yarn is not insignificant,) but Fyberspates Faery wings. I had a skein of the Faery wings in a bronze and gold, which played well with the orange-y flecks in the tweed yarn.

Of course I couldn’t just let the pattern alone. I also decided to change the construction of the sweater pretty significantly, while keeping all the major design elements:

  1. knit the sweater in the round with a steek and cut that (more on that in a second);
  2. modified the sleeves to shape it a lot more than called for in the pattern;
  3. changed the yoke from straight raglan to a compound raglan, taking advantage of the class about top down yokes that I took from Ysolda Teague at Vogue Knitting Live.

IMG_8727This was the first time I used the crochet hook to stabilize the steek stitches before I cut it. I usually drag out my sewing machine, zig zagging my stitches down to make sure no rogue ply makes a run for the money. Because it was the first time I was going to use this method, I knit a big margin of error (steek of 7 stitches. That’s pretty big). Of course, a smarter knitter would have tried the technique on a swatch before trying it for the first time on a garment she spent many hours knitting, but I like to live on the edge. With Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen’s Two Color Knitting book by my side, I crocheted up and down the center of my HUGE steek and cut. Meanwhile, I was also looking at this handy dandy web tutorial by Kate Davies as well….the big difference being that Meg and Amy uses a chain stitch to stabilize the steek stiches and Kate uses a single crochet to stabilize the stitches.

IMG_8730Well? I ended up doing both. I stabilized the first steek using the chain stitch. “First?” you ask. The particular side of me took over. I used a red sock yarn for the first steek. There was nothing major wrong with it, except that the stitches were in RED and that the steek stitches folded over was a bit bulky. So — I single crotched my way up and down a lot closer to the edge of the garment, this time using orange silk lace yarn, and recut. And voila. I have to say I am sold on the crotched steek!!

As for the compound raglan, I have to say that I am a fan. It maintains the look of the raglan, which I love, with a more tailored fit in the underarm, for me. It has helped to create a very work-worthy cardigan (let’s face it, I spend more time wearing work clothes than casual clothes!)


  1. Beautiful sweater. The contrasting color gives it such a nice finish.

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