This tutorial is the third in a series of tutorials to help you knit my Oliver and Olivia patterns. To make sure you don’t miss one, you can follow my blog (on the Home Page) and sign up for the newsletter.
This is the third and final tutorial I’ve put together to accompany this pattern. If you have ideas about other techniques you’d like to know more about, do leave a note in the comments. I hope you find them useful.
Oliver & Olivia Tutorial Series
Tutorial no. 3 – Steeked Pockets (aka special diagonal pockets)
Cabling without a Cable Needle
You may notice I’ve decided not to include a tutorial in cabling without a cable needle – that’s because I found some great ones online already. If you want further help with cabling without a cable needle, you can find some here or here.
Invented Diagonal Steeked Pocket
For this jumper, I really wanted to add pockets to make it into a super cosy jumper or cardigan. (Also, practical – with places to put your keys, phone, etc.)
I didn’t want a flat opening – either perfectly vertical or perfectly horizontal – because they never feel the right shape for putting your hands into. So, I knew I wanted a diagonal pocket. However, as the jumper is in the round, there was still a potential difficulty. Diagonal pockets can be worked flat fairly simply by joining in two balls of wool and working each side of the pocket separately. In the round though, this would involve joining in new yarn on each round for each section – annoying and ridiculous!
Thus was born the diagonal steeked pocket. This is the first time I’ve seen this pocket style before, but it may be someone else has used it somewhere. Find below some help for steeking and finishing the pocket openings.
- Re-inforce your Steek: At both sides of your steek stitches, apply a row of crochet slip sts, using a slightly smaller size crochet hook than normal, or sew two lines of stitching, either by hand or machine. For this jumper, I used a 3.5 mm crochet hook. In the sample, I have hand-sewn one side and used a contrast crochet slip st chain on the other, so you can see the difference. (If you are working in a material other than wool, you need to use a machine-sewn steek as other materials like cotton and silk will pull out of a crochet slip st steek.)
- Slip Stitch Crochet Re-inforcement: Join in your wool at the edge, pick one column of stitches and work into every or every other stitch up the edge. The aim is for the slip stitch chain to lie flat against the fabric – working into 2 sts and then working into every other stitch for the next 2 slips, usually works for me. You will only need to do one row of reinforcing.
- Now, you’re ready to cut! Find the middle stitch between your re-inforced steek edges. This is where you will cut. As the pockets have a 5 st steek (odd no. of sts), you will be cutting through the middle of a st, not between sts. Take a deep breath and cut. Once you’ve cut, the edges of your steek will naturally curl inwards to the WS of the jumper. Your reinforcements will keep the steek edges steady and keep your sts from pulling out.
Finishing your Pocket Steeks Edges Pocket Edge Closest to Cables – Outside (RS) Edge
The following instructions are for finishing the steek edge closest to your cables – i.e., the edge that you would see if you had your hand in your pockets. Let’s call it the outside edge.
Picking up Stitches. The first step is to pick up stitches on the outside edge of your steek, using your smaller needles. You will be picking up at the outside edge of your steek re-inforcements so that they are hidden on the inside of the jumper.
I-cord Edging. On the steek side closest to the front cable, you will work an applied i-cord, working the i-cord together with your picked up sts as you go, until they’re all worked. Finish off by grafting the i-cord edges to the jumper/cardigan body securely.
Work i-cord as follows:
CO 3 sts onto right needle, slip 1st st onto left needle and k2tog tbl with 1st picked up st. *Slip i-cord sts to left needle, then K2, k2tog tbl, rep from * until all picked up sts have been worked.
Attaching Pocket Lining. These instructions are for finishing the ‘inside’ edge of the pocket. You will have knit your pocket lining separately – either a pouch pocket (like a sweatshirt) or single pockets (for the cardigan version). Stitch the diagonal edge of the pocket lining, with RS facing, to the jumper body using mattress stitch. It should be sewn on outside of the steek re-inforcing stitches so that they are hidden on the inside of the jumper. I used a contrast lining so you can see the line clearly.
On the inside of the jumper, you will still be able to see your cut stitches. If you think they are likely to pull out, you can tuck the cut ends under and lightly stitch them down using some sewing thread. They shouldn’t be too bulky.
I haven’t put together a tutorial on how to apply your zipper, but I found this entry recently which I think might be helpful. It uses hand-stitching, rather than machine-stitching, but should still be fairly quick to do. If you want some extra tips (and have some blocking wires handy), you could try this method instead.
Olivia in Action
Here are a few shots of the cardigan with pockets to show you them in action – they’re quite cosy and perfectly shaped to allow easy access for your hands!