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Gigi Modifications :: Button Bands & Buttons

Hi, Knitters,

So to continue on with the Gigi Cardigan modifications today I am going to talk about the button bands, collar, and pockets. The pattern is a design from the wonderful Devin Ventre. You can find Devin on Instagram as @knittymcpurly

We still have the Gigi Cardigan Kit available in the shop in lots of colors, and including the gorgeous custom Black Walnut buttons. Click here to find out more! 

 I put together a few Instagram Stories for you that I shot during the making of the Gigi!

Buttons and Buttonhole Placement

I used the pattern as is for the button band instructions as far as picking up the stitches along the front edges. And for the buttons, if you are using three buttons just follow Devin's pattern for placing the buttonholes. You will be all set!

I wanted to have the cardigan button all the way down so I made more button holes and I used six buttons instead of three. 

To figure out the buttonhole placement I first picked up knit the button band. Using plastic detachable stitch markers I marked the placement for each button. I tried on the cardigan to envision the button placement better. 

If you have a concern about pulling or gaping at the largest part of the bust be sure to start by first placing a button right at that point to keep it closed. Then work out from there evenly spacing the buttons on the button band. The Gigi Cardigan has a button at the collar so keep that in mind and place the first button on the button band accordingly. 

I used the 2x2 rib as a guide. I placed the first button on the button band on the fourth k2 section down from the top. For the bottom I placed the button on the third k2 section up from the bottom. The other buttons I spaced out evenly in between, every fifth k2 section. I didn't worry about placing a button right at the bust because I don't have trouble with gaping. 

I used the same buttonhole as Devin directed in the pattern. After blocking I stitched the buttons on the button band directly across from the buttonholes using matching thread and a sewing needle. To stitch the buttons on I used the k2, p2 sections as guides for counting and placement. This works really well.

The Wooly Moss Roots buttons are just beautiful. To purchase some of these buttons hop on over to our Mercantile to find out more!

I'll back soon with more.

love, susan


Gigi Modifications :: Pockets

Hi, Knitters,

Pockets are almost mandatory for my handknit cardigans it seems. I love having pockets on my cardigan and I will pretty much add them every time. Simple patch pockets are so easy. The original Gigi Cardigan by Devin Ventre has you knitting the patches separately and stitching them on to the fronts of the cardigan. This is totally fine and works really well. I like to do my patch pockets with a tiny twist.

Pockets for Gigi

Whenever I add patch pockets to a cardigan or sweater I like to pick up the bottom edge of the pocket with my needles and knit the pocket right onto the fabric. Then I use the ends to stitch down the sides of the pockets. It works out great!

I placed the pocket 1-inch above the ribbed hem, and 1 1/2-inches over from the button bands. To pick up the stitches insert the tip of the needle under the right leg of however many consecutive stitches you want to have for your pocket and on the same row. 

I adjusted the size of the pocket slightly making it a little bigger. I picked up 22 stitches. I attached the yarn, leaving a 10-inch end, and worked in reverse stockinette stitch for 28 rows with the US size 8 needle (this is the size I used for the body of the cardigan).

I switched to US size 7 for the ribbing. I did 8 rows of ribbing and bound off in pattern. Cut the yarn leaving a 10-inch end. Use the ends to whipstitch the pocket sides to the fronts.

I think that is it for the Gigi Cardigan Modification posts. I hope you are enjoying your cardigan knitting and then the wearing. I truly love this little cardigan and I might just knit another one in our Home Worsted Weight. It is kind of the perfect little throw on and it's just super cute. Devin Ventre did a fantastic job with this design.

We still have the Gigi Cardigan Kit available in the shop! Click here to find out more.

I'll back soon with more.

love, susan


Gigi Modifications :: Fitting the Sleeve

Hi, Knitters,
I'm back with more on my Gigi Cardigan knitting adventure.
Click here for the Gigi Cardigan Kits and custom buttons! There are still some left in the shop. Devin Ventre is the designer. 
After finishing the bottom short row shaping and ribbed edging, I moved to the sleeve finishing. My main concern with the sleeve is that according to the schematic, which is wonderful, I saw that for my size the sleeve circumference is listed at 16-inches. For me, I knew this would be too big. I prefer a sleeve at the upper arm to measure around 12-13 inches in circumference for this type of sweater. And for the short sleeve I didn't want the sleeve to flare out so much.
My plan to modify worked out great in the end. I put the held stitches back on the smaller size double-pointed needles (I used US size 7 for all of the edgings). Then I continued on with a rapid decrease under the arm.
Here's what I did step-by-step for the 38-inch bust size (this could be used for any size, the numbers will vary for the sizes but you'll get the idea) :
Rnd 1: I attached the yarn and purled all of the stitches on the needles, then I picked up the 8 stitches under the arm as directed and placed these on the last double-pointed needle.
Rnd 2: P2tog three times, purl to the last 6 stitches before the 8 picked up stitches from the previous round, then p2tog three times. 8 stitches remain on the last needle, k2tog four times. 
Rnd 3: P2tog, purl to the last 4 stitches of the round, k2tog twice.
I ended up with 56 stitches total in the end which is about 13-inches in circumference. I did the rib for 8 rounds total starting off with Round 4. 
Rnd 4: K2tog, k1, p2, then repeat (k2, p2) to the end of the round.
The main thing is that if you think the sleeve circumference is too big for you on any sweater or cardigan you can do this kind of rapid decrease under the arm to get rid of extra fabric and clean things up a little. Maybe your stitch numbers won't be the same as my size but you can get the concept here. 
Be sure to check the schematic to see if the sleeve circumference will be right for you! It may be just fine.
Photo from Devin Ventre
As you can see, the sleeves on the original pattern look great! If you leave everything as is in the pattern it will be beautiful. Sometimes if it's your first sweater, it's good to just follow a pattern to the tee to get your footing and then go from there making modifications. Devin has done a wonderful job with the pattern. It is clear and simple to follow.
I'll be back with a couple of buttonband tips, the collar modifications and a couple of tips for the pockets. I hope you are all enjoying your Gigi Cardigans so far. I have heard from a few people who already have a good start. Let me know how you are doing.
love, susan


Gigi Modifications :: Bottom Edging

Hi, Knitters,
For the lower edging of the body on the Gigi Cardigan, Devin Ventre (the designer) put in a split hem at the sides and she uses short rows for a bit of shaping. This looks great so on her samples and I love the effect but I decided to continue on with without the split rib at the sides. I  added in my own short row shaping at the back side of the body. This adds a little extra length to help keep the sweater from riding up in the back. Plus, I just really like the way it looks. You can see the gentle swoop down of the fabric in the side shot above.
The sample in the photos is worked in Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted in the Sherwood colorway. Click here to see Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted!
So for my Gigi Cardigan, I worked up to the point where I would begin the ribbed edging at the bottom of the body. I was doing the knotted steek so I put those live steek stitches on waste yarn. Then I began working back and forth and added in the short rows.
I've already written out the recipe for how I add in short rows on the lower back of any sweater or cardigan on the BWC Journal.
For this Gigi cardigan, I did the short row a little different and kept the short rows only on the back stitches and didn't have them wrap around to the fronts at all as I did in the other tutorial. No worries, I wrote out exactly what I did on the Gigi Cardigan below. 

Steps for Lower Back Short Rows:

  1. Place stitch markers at each side to mark the fronts and the back of the cardigan.
  2. Begin the first short row by working across the back stitches of the cardigan and up to one stitch before the second side stitch marker. Wrap & Turn (or do any short row method of your choice. I list other short row options with links here).
  3. Purl across the back to one stitch before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
  4. Knit across the back to 5 stitches before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
  5. Purl across the back to 5 stitches before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
  6. Knit across the back to 10 stitches before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
  7. Purl across the back to 10 stitches before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
  8. Knit to the end of the row. Tidy up all wraps as you come to them. 

Then begin the lower edging for the sweater. For the Gigi Cardigan I worked 8 rows of the rib before binding off in pattern.

I hope this helps!

love, susan



Gigi Modification :: Knotted Steek Tutorial

 Hi, Knitters,

I added a knotted steek to my Gigi Cardigan which is worked from the top-down. The knotted steek could be added to any sweater or cardigan pattern worked from either the top-down or the bottom up. So as you can see in the photo above I didn't add the knotted steek until right after I separated the sleeves. I could've added in the steek stitches right away but for this particular cardigan, the sleeve section is worked in reverse stockinette so I would be purling anyway. Often a steek is added so you don't have to purl and you can just knit, knit, knit in the round.

Click here for the tutorial I used for the knotted steek! 

To add in a steek you are basically adding some extra stitches, then joining the cardigan to work in the round so you don't have to work back and forth. To add a steek when you are joining to work in the round (which can be done at any time) you simply cast on extra stitches using the backwards loop method at the end of the right side row and onto the right needle. Then join to work in the round by working the first stitch on the left needle. 

For the Gigi Cardigan, on the round where I separated for the sleeves, meaning I placed the sleeve stitches on waste round, I cast on 10 stitches at the end of the round using the backwards loop method and then joined to work in the round. 

Now I have to say that 10 extra stitches might have been too many. I could have had fewer. This was my first knotted steek and I wasn't sure how many extra to cast on. I would recommend more like 7 or 8 stitches for the steek. If you are worried about having enough yarn you could even cast on 6 stitches for the steek. Look ahead to see what's coming down the road before you decide. I am using worsted weight yarn so fewer might have been better, if you are using fingering weight yarn, 10 extra stitches would be about perfect.

In the photo above you can see that I worked back and forth until I separated the sleeves and then on that same row I added the 10 stitches and began working in the round. Then I just worked down to the desired length minus the ribbing.

Important note: Another modification I added for the Gigi Cardigan was to leave out the waist shaping. I almost always do this because I don't like a fitted sweater or cardigan. To leave out the waist shaping just keep working even without any decreases or increases on the sides of the cardigan. Work even.

I made more modifications on the bottom edging and I'll talk about those next time. If you are working along with me for the Gigi, just add in your knotted steek stitches and work even or straight down until you reach your desired length minus the ribbing.

I didn't include the steek stitches in the bottom edge ribbing so I placed the 10 stitches on waste yarn. I will talk about how I modified the bottom edging in the next post but if you are sticking to the pattern for the split hem go ahead and finish as directed in the pattern. 


After I completed the bottom rib edging and completed the bind off, I removed the waste yarn and began unraveling the extra stitches. Don't worry about the fronts of the sweater unraveling, it won't. Only the extra stitches will unravel.

Begin pulling out the stitches row by row, making sure to unravel all of the steek stitches.

Your cardigan will look like this when you are done unraveling the extra steek stitches. 

The next step is to cut down the center of the unraveled steek stitches. Again, don't worry about the fronts unraveling. This won't happen.


I did some short videos on my Instagram Stories to document the progress. I know these are vertical videos but that's how they are filmed for Instagram so bear with me. 

The next step is to start at either end or side on one of the fronts and take two strands at a time held together and make an overhand knot. 

 Here is the overhand knot.

As you tighten the knot snug it up to the edge of the fabric. The knot will automatically turn under at the front edge.

Now after you have the strands knotted you will be weaving them in along the edge. I kind of went in sections, I knotted some strands, then wove in for a bit and then knotted the next section. You could knot all at once and then weave in or do it in sections like I did.  

To weave in I place two ends through the yarn needle and pulled the end through several purl bumps along the same row. If your ends are too short to pull through, insert your needle through the purl bumps first and then thread the ends through the needle and pull through.  

I trimmed the ends leaving about a quarter-inch tail. Wisconsin Woolen Spun or any 100% wool yarn will work great for this technique. As you wear it the ends will eventually felt into the fabric.  

I love the look of the knotted steek. I am one who doesn't mind weaving in ends or any kind of detail work. The knotted steek technique is one that takes a bit of extra effort but I think it is worth it. The finished steek is nice and tidy and it eliminates much of the bulk of that comes with either a sewn or crocheted steek. I really enjoyed the process.

So you can see how clean and light the steeked side looks and feels and how nicely it picked up for the button bands. I will definitely be using the knotted steek again. One thing I really like about the knotted steek is that you don't have to introduce crochet or your sewing machine. You are just knitting on, as usual, using your yarn and needles to create your steek. It's pretty awesome.

I'll be back with my modifications for the bottom edging if you are following along with the Gigi Cardigan modifications. If you are just here for the knotted steek tutorial I hope you find this helpful.

love, susan


Gigi Modifications :: A very good place to start.

Hi, Knitters, 
I am so excited to start off my Gigi Cardigan modifications posts today. I know if you are like me that when knitting sweaters and cardigans from a pattern that sometimes it is fun to make a few changes to make it your own. The Gigi pattern, by Devin Ventre, is perfectly great as is and it didn't really need any changes but I knew there were a few little tweaks that would make it just a little better for me. Again, none of these changes are necessary and if you are a first-time sweater knitter I would recommend just sticking to the pattern to keep things simple.
So, what I'm going to do is start from, well, the start! I'm beginning with the nuts and bolts about my version of Gigi. 
Size: 38-inch bust ~ I generally make a size 36-inch bust sweater or cardigan but I knew I'd be layering the Gigi and I wanted a little extra room. It worked out great and I love the fit. There is positive ease built into the pattern so make sure you look at the finished measurements when selecting your size.
Yarn: 4 skeins of Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted in the Sherwood colorway. I used all four skeins and had plenty left over from the fourth skein. I also included a knotted steek, which I will discuss later, that uses extra yarn. 
Needles: US size 8, 32-inch circulars, for the body and US size 7, 32-inch circulars, for the button bands and bottom hem. I used US size 7 double-pointed needles for the sleeve edgings and collar. 
Increase Note
The cardigan in the pattern is worked back and forth and starts at the top and is worked down to the bottom edge. Take note that Devin uses the abbreviation M1 for a backwards loop increase. When I skimmed through the pattern I assumed she was using a standard M1 for the raglan increases but it turns out she used my favorite backwards loop increase which is a great thing for me since it is my favorite increase.
Adding Short Rows at the Back of the Neck
I decided right away to add short rows to the back of the neckline. The reason to do this is that it raises the back of the neck, therefore, dropping the front of the neckline of the sweater or cardigan. Many sweater patterns have the neckline designed the same for the front and the back, basically going straight across. I know that this neckline style often bothers me at the front of my neck. So here's what I did to change it.
I worked the first two rows in the pattern, and placing the stitch markers. On the next right side row (Row 2 in the pattern), I worked the row as directed across the back stitches, stopping one stitch before the second sleeve stitch marker or the third stitch marker in the row. Now I only worked on those back stitches for the short rows as follows.
Wrap & Turn.
Work the back stitches to 1 stitch before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
Work the back stitches to 5 stitches before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
Work the back stitches to 5 stitches before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
Work the back stitches to 10 stitches before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
Work the back stitches to 10 stitches before the stitch marker. Wrap & Turn.
Work to the end of the row as if you were finishing Row 2 in the pattern, picking up the wraps and you encounter them (see the tutorial for how to pick up the wraps). 
Carry on as the pattern is written. I worked the pattern as written until I separated for the sleeves. At this point I added a knotted steek. I will be talking about the knotted steek in the next post on the Journal if you are interested. 
I'll be back soon with more. I hope you all have a great start to knitting your Gigi Cardigans! The Gigi Cardigan Kits are flying out of the shop so I know there are lots of Gigis on the horizon.
love, susan


Handmade Artisan Wooden Buttons

Hi, Knitters,

I've had a long and successful past with the Etsy shop Wooly Moss Roots. Jeff Wilson, the button maker, and Taryn Wilson, his accomplice, make the most beautifully finished wooden buttons I have ever seen. They reside in Mapleton, Oregon, USA. I originally discovered their shop through the Soulemama blog many years ago. Since stitching the first set of Wooly Moss Roots buttons onto my own handknit sweaters I rarely use any other buttons. The quality and craftsmanship is unparalleled. 

So when I started pulling the Gigi Cardigan Kit together I knew exactly where to turn for custom wooden buttons to include in the kits. I contacted Taryn and described what we were looking for to go with the Gigi Cardigan Kits. And the process was started and I am thrilled with the results. We decided on Black Walnut buttons that measure about 1 1/4-inches each and will compliment any colorway of yarn. Since these buttons are truly handmade they are not identical and this adds to their unique beauty. 

The craftsmanship that goes into the making of the Wooly Moss Roots buttons is impressive, to say the least. I asked Jeff Wilson if I could share a message he wrote to me about his process and he agreed. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.

"Hi Susan, this is Jeff, the Button Maker.
It's kind of a long process that I'd like to tell you about so you know exactly what you are getting.
Each of these buttons takes about a half an hour to make, and I've gotten pretty fast.
First, we find the best woods, then I slice them to a thickness on a band saw, then each one is drawn on the wood slab and the holes marked. Then they are cut out, the holes drilled and then I round them on a Circular sander.
Next, I sand them on 3 or 4 grits (depending on how new my sandpaper is. ) I generally start with 80 to shape it, then 220, (which is where most button makers quit), then I do 600, then 1200. This is super fine. It takes quite some time because of the rounded edges. With most flat buttons you just sand 2 sides, with square buttons you sand 6...but with the rounded edge buttons it's like 70 sides, it takes at least 10 times as long, (probably a lot more than that) than just a flat button. I do the sanding under water, this allows me to use the fine grits without burning the wood. People ask me how I can work under water so long, but it's actually just the wood that's under water, hehe...I have an 8-inch lapidary sander. So once I've sanded them down to the finest grit they have to dry for at least a couple of days, then I hand rub a shellac/walnut oil/carnauba wax into them, let it dry, buff it with steel wool and apply another coat. That dries a couple of days then I buff it on 2 different wheels, ending with a polishing compound made for polishing eyeglass lenses.
Then Taryn ties each one on a card (she loves doing that)....and they are on their way to their destiny in someone's creation.
These buttons are handmade start to finish, a lot of energy goes into each and I feel...... honored to have them going out to all these folks who will be putting them on beautiful creations, that they have put a lot of energy into.
China has made machines that can make 210 buttons in a minute.... and they are perfect and cheap.... and each identical. And there are a lot of flat buttons, sanded only slightly that are pretty cheap out there. Mine are not perfect, or cheap, or identical, or flat.... but they each contain the love and energy that goes into making them. And I thank you for doing business with our family.

Jeff Wilson"

This couple, Jeff and Taryn, are some of the sweetest people around and it is clear that they love what they are doing. They are sincere, hard working, and humble and I am proud to be working with artisans like them. Wooly Moss Roots buttons are kind of magical. There is something indescribable about these buttons and I can't wait for you to try them. You will see what I mean.

Part of Barrett Wool Co. is that I want to introduce you to makers that I love and respect, some are newer to me and some I have known for a long time. Wooly Moss Roots is a great place to start. 

I am planning on many more projects with Wooly Moss Roots and I hope you will join me in celebrating these wonderful local makers.  

Click here to see the Gigi Cardigan Kits and the beautiful custom Black Walnut buttons!

Click here to go to Wooly Moss Roots on Etsy!

Thanks for reading and enjoy these fantastic artisan buttons. I'll be back soon with more.

I'll be back soon with more.

love, susan


Introducing the Gigi Cardigan Kit

Photo from Devin Ventre

Yarn in photo is Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted in Rainshower

Hi, Knitters,

I first saw the Little Gigi cardigan when it was nominated for the Mason Dixon Knitting March Mayhem bracket last spring. I fell in love with the simple and sweet design. Then Devin Ventre, the designer of the Little Gigi, happened to order some Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted and told me she was designing the adult-sized Gigi cardigan with our yarn. We emailed back and forth for a bit and I decided to ask if we could collaborate to make a cardigan kit using our yarn and her pattern. Devin was very excited about the idea of a Gigi Cardigan Kit and the feeling is mutual!

I started dreaming of my own Gigi right away but I had to wait patiently for the pattern to be completed. It was released in June 2017 (click here to see Gigi on Ravelry) and I started knitting mine right away. At this time I have knitted a Gigi in the Sherwood colorway and Devin has knitted two Gigi cardigans, one in Rainshower and one in Penny

Photo by Devin Ventre

Yarn in photo is Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted in Rainshower 

I love this little cardigan! I am telling you that this is a fast, fun and very simple knit that is perfect for first-time sweater knitters (no sleeves!), or for experienced knitters wanting to relax a bit. No matter what your skill level, you will end up with a super versatile cardigan that can be worn year-round in most climates. The short sleeves make it perfect for layering, dressing up or down. And the open front makes it great for warmer climates. For the cold weather people, we can never pile on enough wool items so we are good to go for all seasons with this one.

In fact, I don't like wearing big sweaters under my winter coat because the sleeves get all bunched up. The Gigi will be perfect under my parka for that added bit of warmth without the extra bulk. Can't wait! I'm thinking about wearing Gigi with cute dresses, jeans, t-shirts both long and short sleeved and my usual skirts that I love. I can't wait to wear it for teaching, too.

Photo by Devin Ventre

Yarn in photo is Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted in Rainshower

There are little details in the Gigi design that I just love. The shoulders and short-sleeves are done in reverse stockinette stitch as are the pockets. The collar is so fun. It is picked up and worked horizontally across the neckline in a k1, p1 rib and picking up the collar stitches as you go to attach.  

For our Gigi Cardigan Kit I contacted my favorite button-maker in the world, Wooly Moss Roots. They make the best wooden buttons around. Ever. I have used their buttons on so many sweaters at this point I've lost track. You will love these buttons, I swear they are magic. So I commissioned Wooly Moss Roots to make us the most gorgeous Black Walnut buttons to go with our Gigi kits. These buttons are truly a work of art and are the perfect size for the cardigan. I hope you love them as much as I do.

My plan for this new cardigan kit is to lay out and share my own knitting of the Gigi Cardigan with you. I made some fun modifications along the way but you wouldn't need to do any mods at all. It is great looking just the way it is written! 

This photo shows a pretty close to accurate color for Sherwood.

Here is a list of the tutorials and tips I will be sharing, again, you don't need to make any modifications, I just did it for fun:

~ Adding short-rows at the back collar

~ Adding a Knotted Steek

~ Making the sleeves fit 

~ Figuring out where to place the buttons/buttonholes 

And so much more! I'm going to keep it coming. The blog will be jam-packed next week with so much Gigi information.  

If you do order a Gigi Cardigan Kit I know you will love knitting it as much as I did! And I know you will love wearing yours, too.

Photo by Devin Ventre 

Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted in Penny

I'll be back with so much more on the knitting of this cardigan. By the way, if you haven't tried our Wisconsin Woolen Spun you really should give it a whirl. It is so incredibly special and unique. The finished garment is light as air.

My Gigi Cardigan is knit in the 38-inch bust size. I normally would knit a 36-inch size but Devin suggests 3 to 4 inches of positive ease. I didn't want mine to be too big so I went with the size 38 and it is a perfectly relaxed fit. I used US size 8 needles for the body and US size 7 needles for the edgings.

We have 5 color options for the Gigi Cardigan Kit, and button options, too. It's all very exciting. 

Click here to find out more about the Gigi Cardigan Kit! 

Happy Friday! 

love, susan