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.
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.