I am still looking for a colourful cardigan. I have months left before my final SWAP collection, but I have been thinking about how to create a colourful cardigan and have been given some advice by my knitting friend Galina. She suggested I buy a nice cashmere cardigan and embroider on it. She sent me some Debbie Bliss pictures as inspiration.
I always like to see colour on a black background as it can really make the colours sing out, but I while I might choose charcoal I was thinking of a white cardigan which has a similar effect. Here is a second Debbie Bliss jumper with knitted patten plus embroidery.
Another inspirational picture I found is from the Matthew Williamson collection. This uses beads and bobbles as well as couching.
Both the Debbie Bliss and the Williamson item are very folksy, which is nice. But I preferred the work of a young London designer Laura Helen Searle, which is beautiful, edgy, challenging and quite sensational.
If I cannot find a cardigan in the colours I am seeking then I am going to have a go at embroidering on wool. I am thinking of trying to create this cardigan as my reversible garment as the reversible skirt is probably going to have to make way for the Squiggle trousers. I have bought two jerseys, one in grey and one in off white. I am thinking of making a cardigan from them, and then embroidering some colour on to it. I would have to cut the jumper down the CF, stabilise it in some way (ribbon?), create a set of buttons and button holes, or maybe press studs so it is reversible. I think this is what is known as steeking (text abreviated from Wikipedia).
After completing a tube, a straight line is cut along the center of a column of stitches, in order to make room for an opening. The steek itself is a bridge of extra stitches, in which the cut is made, and is usually 6-10 stitches wide. This technique was developed by the knitters of the Shetland archipelago and is particularly associated with Fair Isle sweaters.
Before the steek is cut, the edges are tacked down on the wrong side of the fabric in order to create a neat finishing, or the adjacent stitches are sewn or crocheted together to prevent unraveling. The stitches can also be picked up and knit from, for example, to create a sleeve.
Steeks can be used for front openings (such as on a cardigan). In general, there is little risk of unravelling with a steek cut if the sewn or crocheted line has been done with wool yarn that is not superwash. In addition, the sides of the steek can be reinforced by crocheting or sewing.
If I make the two jumpers into one cardigan I could then embroider on the two layers so that the back is as nice as the front. Or embroider each separately and then join them (wrong sides) together. Just a thought at the moment.
Has anyone every tried steeking or embroidering or both? How do you address the stretch on the button hole edge, in making a cardigan from a jumper? When you embroider how do you stop it bunching up and tightening the knitwear, loosing its essential jersey-ness?