Something to aspire to…


Do you know everything there is to know about knitting? Probably not. Do I know everything about knitting? Definitely not! Today’s 2KCBW topic asks us what pattern or skill we’d like to tackle. For me, that skill would be steeking. Yes, I want to cut my knitting. With scissors. Really.

I have a plan for this, though. I’m certainly not going to start with an Alice Starmore Fair Isle sweater. That would be foolish. No, I’m thinking of something much smaller. Teddy bear sweater? No, smaller, still. A swatch. Just a swatch. Because no one will feel bad if things go awry. (I teach a class on fixing mistakes, and I have students bring a bulky swatch that we can torture. Much less threatening than trying to learn to fix mistakes on your current beloved laceweight project. The techniques are the same, but the anxiety level is quite different.)

steek fodder

I’ve started my research. The second Mason Dixon Knitting book has a good hand-holding walk-through of the process. And Rick Mondragon discusses reinforcing steeks with crochet in Knitter’s magazine, Spring 2002. (Yarn pictured is from the aforementioned underbed boxes of leftovers. No new purchase here!)

(I’m still thrilled that I met the MDK ladies and got my book autographed!)

Have you steeked? Does it require reinforcement with crochet or machine stitching? I don’t see a reference to reinforcement in the MDK book…Discuss!

Also: How do you learn new techniques? As you can see, I go and read up on things. (I did this with parenting, too. It worked pretty well.) I google search and YouTube. Taking a class would be good, but my LYS doesn’t offer one in this. Hey, maybe I should teach it…after I learn how!


9 responses to “Something to aspire to…

  1. ooo i want to try that too – it seems pretty fun!

  2. I have not steeked yet. Haven’t even attempted colourwork yet, so there’s really been no call for it. I’m sure I will eventually.

    For most things, I usually learn by just going ahead and doing it, carefully following instructions. Th first project I attempt with whatever new skill it is might be imperfect at that spot, but I get it learned.

    I think for steeking, though, I’ll probably do like you’re doing and practice on a swatch before I try it for real.

  3. Yay – Steeking is so fun because it just seems so *wrong*. I steeked my Icelandic sweater & I did run 2 rows of machine stitching along either side of the steek before I cut. I have been assured that the “sticky” wool won’t unravel, so the machine stitches aren’t really necessary. However – I think they helped put my mind at ease that all would be okay. Good luck & Have fun!

  4. I’ve steeked several times, and I too suggest using a sewing machine. I usually run two rows on each side of where I intend to cut. It’s good insurance, and, if you’re a sewer, you suddenly realize that it feels just like working with a knit fabric, and you know how to do that. So suddenly your fears are gone!

  5. I’m hoping to find a way to reinforce without requiring a sewing machine. I’d like to be able to lead a class on it, eventually, and don’t have a portable sewing machine. Rick Mondragon’s crochet technique looks like a good bet.

  6. Is it the M&D book that has the baby blanket that you steek? I thought it might be a good one to try out steeking on. Plus that way I have a gift to give that’s kind of cool.

  7. Lucky you, I still haven’t met the brains behind MDK. Like you, I’m much better (or rather comfortable) to learn from books, bloggers, Google, YouTube clips, which constitutes about 95% or more of what I have learned to-date.

    Swatch is a great tool/starting point. I recommend that…instant gratification. Also, if you don’t have time/don’t feel like it to knit up swatches, go to Goodwill and pick up some not-so-desirable (my kids refer to them often as throw-up clothes) cheapo sweater for practices. Go when there is half-off day/pick the right color-tag and it only costs $1-$1.50 or so.

    I love re-enforcing my fabric with a portable crochet hook over sewing machine as I’d typically perform such surgery while I’m on the road. Sewing is good when I’m home…very quick process for a substantial project. If my knitted project has tight gauge and made of sticky wool, I don’t really need to re-enforce the edges (not that I recommend this for newbie…unless you are adventurous or is it crazy like me!)

    Everyday, I try to learn something new no matter it’s small or significant, pertinent or trivial so I read, I surf, I observe…there is so much to be learned if you set the right frame of mind and be ready when the opportunity strikes. I am a happier being when I learn something new 😀

    Terrific topic. Great post.

  8. I’ve done several steeks and I prefer to crochet reinforcements as I don’t really want machine stitching tightening up my knitting. If you use wool that felts, you really don’t have anything to worry about.

  9. I have steeked! I steeked my mom’s fair isle sweater. It had three steeks in it, one for each armhole and one up the middle of the front because it was a cardigan. I marked the steeks with a purl stitch and I did reinforce the sides with machine stitching. Then, I followed the advice of the Yarn Harlot and had a shot of whiskey prior to cutting. It all worked out just fine though! I will willingly steek again!