Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Adding Patch Pockets to a Finished Cardigan

Hi, Knitters,
Edited to add: I have a guest blog post on the Signature Needle Arts blog with another video tutorial.

A couple of weeks ago I washed two cardigans. I soaked them one at a time in the Phil Basin filled with lukewarm water with Soak Wash in the Celebration scent. Each cardigan sat for 20 minutes or so after which I gently squeezed out the excess water and then rolled in a clean towel to get more water out. I gently spread the cardigans out on blocking boards and turned a fan on them to speed the drying. When the cardigans were still damp I placed each separately and at different times in a mesh laundry bag and tossed in the dryer on the delicate cycle. Using the dryer while the garment is still damp helps the superwash wool bounce back into shape. Superwash wool gets very stretchy when wet, frighteningly stretchy, and that's why I use the dryer at the end. You can wash superwash wool in the washing machine (thus the name superwash) but I prefer to wash by hand.

Both of the cardigans are knit in Madelinetosh DK. Here is the information for both cardigans.
The dark blue cardigan:
Pattern: Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig (great pattern - highly recommend!)
Buttons: Purchased at The Sow's Ear in Verona, WI

The green cardigan:
Pattern: Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre (great pattern - highly recommend!)
Buttons: Purchased at Purl Soho

The funny thing about both of the Tosh DK colorways, Burnished and Thunderstorm, is that they look very different in various lighting and photos. I think that is both interesting and kind of fun.

After the washing and drying of the cardigans I decided it was time to add the pockets to the Calligraphy Cardigan, something I had been planning on doing for a long time. I had plenty of leftover yarn. I couldn't remember the size of the needle I had knit the Calligraphy on but it was probably the recommended US size 6 now that I look back at the pattern. I just guessed and pulled out my US size 7 Signature Needles and thought it seemed close enough. It worked fine but I would recommend using the same size used for the body of the cardigan. (Don't do what I did!)

First things first, figure out where you want your pockets located. I tried on the cardigan to see where my hands would naturally expect a pocket to be on the fronts and kind of eyeballed where that would be in reference to the button bands and bottom ribbing. It's all very scientific and make sure you point to the spot you want your pocket to be placed. It will bring good luck.

I put the pockets 10 rows up from the bottom ribbing and 10 stitches in from the button band ribbing. This seemed to be about the perfect placement. I also decided on the width of the pocket which turned out to be about 5.5 inches.


With the circular Signature Needles (you could also use two dpns to work back and forth), I picked up the right leg of each of 30 consecutive stitches. I did this working from the right to the left and then pulled the circular needle back to the other side to begin the work.

I held the yarn at the point of the needle and began with a knit row on the picked up stitches. I left a long enough end to use later for stitching up the side of the pocket. For this basic patch pocket, work back and forth in stockinette stitch (you could slip the first stitch of each row, but I didn't) until the pocket measures about 4 1/4- inches above the pick up row. Then continue in a K2, P2 rib (I worked a K2 on each end) for another inch making the pocket measure 5 1/4-inches in total from the pick up row. Bind off in the rib pattern. Leave a long enough end to place on a yarn needle to whipstitch the side of the pocket to the cardigan front. Stitch up the other side of the pocket in the same manner. Weave in the ends to the inside seam of the pocket and trim.

I love the new pockets! They look super clean and perfectly placed. The new pockets were meant to be.

Here are a few finished pocket photos for you to enjoy!

The process for adding afterthought patch pockets is simple and quick.  I hope this helps a little if you are thinking of doing the same. I am very pleased with the final results and the cardigan is even better if that is possible. Who doesn't love a good pocket or two?

I added this post to the tutorial list on the sidebar of the blog, under Tutorials, if you want to refer to this information later.

Take care, Knitters. I can't believe it is already Wednesday....
best, susie