This tutorial is a work in progress. I’m still editing, but it’s mostly done.
Why steek? I wanted to knit this colorwork piece in the round, so that the right side was always facing me and there was no purling back while carrying colors. I used just two colors per row; the variegated yarn did all the work, making it look as if I had coordinated many colors. Who doesn’t like looking like a color genius?
There are several ways to secure a steek. I chose the crochet method, because I don’t want to have to get out my sewing machine. I’m on the go! You could hand sew a steek, but I really like just using the yarn from this project, and a crochet hook. Don’t let the crochet hook scare you off. I don’t crochet a lot; my skills are pretty rudimentary. Just enough to do a steek or an edging.
You’ll want to choose a non-superwash wool for your steeking adventure. The more your yarn wants to stick to itself, the better your steeking experience.
I made my steek 6 sts wide. I wanted lots of room, just in case things got a little ravelly/messy. They didn’t, but I still like the security of having some leeway on either side of the cut. I knit my steeks in a checkerboard pattern; you can use a checkerboard or vertical stripes, but my vertical stripes always look puckery. Checkerboard for me.
We’ll cut between sts 3 and 4 (green line), but before doing that, we’ll reinforce the edges by crocheting through the left half of stitch 2 and the right half of stitch 3, and through the left half of stitch 4 and the right half of stitch 5. We’re using single crochet. For clarity, not all sts are marked in this picture, so you can see that you’re picking up under half of each stitch, but you will crochet in each st in the column. See how the two colors are over the hook? Half from each stitch.
First side: With beginning edge of knitting on your right, and center of steek facing away from you, pick up a loop between sts 4 and 5 along edge. Wrap yarn around hook and bring yarn through this loop. *Now slide hook under right leg of adjacent st 5 and left leg of st 4, and bring up a loop. Wrap yarn around hook and bring yarn through this loop. Repeat this in each st of the column until you get to the top border. End by crocheting a st along the edge between sts 4 and 5.
Second side: With beginning edge of knitting on your left, and center of steek facing away from you, pick up a loop between sts 2 and 3 along edge. Wrap yarn around hook and bring yarn through this loop. *Now slide hook under right leg of adjacent st 2 and left leg of st 3, and bring up a loop. Wrap yarn around hook and bring yarn through this loop. Repeat this along the column of stitches until you get to the top border. Finish by making a st along the edge between sts 2 and 3.
The two crochet columns lean away from each other, revealing half of st 3 and half of st 4. We will cut between sts 3 and 4. (These half sts are MC and CC because of our knit checkerboard pattern.) Using sharp shears, carefully cut between the column of st 3 and 4. Voila! Everything holds.
Don’t worry about the little bits of yarn hanging out. They’ll get tucked away and eventually get felted in. Fold the steek to the wrong side of the fabric along the last stitch of the steek, so the checkerboard portion forms a facing. Sew the crocheted edge to the wrong side of the garment. Done, and oh, so tidy.