Eeek! Steeks!

Back in 2012, I took a steeking class with Mary Scott Huff at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival (blog post here). It was fabulously fun, and I learned 3 ways to secure my steek. My favorite was the crocheted steek, so that’s what I use. I’ve been thinking of ways to fine tune them, though, so I decided to sit in on Mary’s class yesterday morning via Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop. It did not disappoint.

Top picture, going around from right to left: One full stitch in the center with slip stitch crochet reinforcement through the two stitches on each side of it; half of each center stitch reinforced with slip stitch crochet through the stitch next to it; and half of each center stitch reinforced with single crochet to the stitch next to it.

Bottom pictures are a closeup of the single crochet reinforcement going through half of the center stitch and half of the stitch on each side.

Here’s what I found: Leaving a whole stitch in the center means messier ends. But it also means security. I’m a belt and suspender kind of knitter, I want to make sure things won’t fall apart. Today’s exercise showed me that it won’t fall apart. Probably. Heh. There are many ways to secure a steek, and none of them are wrong if you get the result you want! I’ve seen a one stitch steek on an Icelandic sweater, and I’m too chicken to try it.

What I was really wondering about was the bulkiness of my crocheted steek, since I’ve been working with worsted weight yarn. Best answer? Use a lighter weight yarn to crochet the reinforcement, like I did with these swatches. If I pick a coordinating color, single crochet makes a lovely finished edge without any more fuss (bottom 3 pictures on collage above). If I’m trying to minimize bulk, like maybe behind a zipper, slip stitch crochet works well. Picking up a ribbing or other edging in the column of stitches a couple stitches away from the cut edge forces it to turn back, like a seam allowance, and all the ends are hidden either way.

But enough about my crochet steek fussiness. Here’s a new one (I had previously read about it in Modern Daily Knitting). A needle felted steek! Look at this: all business on the front…

Fuzzy party in the back! It holds beautifully. I’d probably want to do something to make that edge look more finished, though.

What a fun way to spend a morning! But now it’s on to other tasks…still knitting away on the log cabin wrap; I have 4 more logs to knit, and then I’m done. Tech editing is done, too. I’ll check in with my test knitters, but look for it mid-April.


7 responses to “Eeek! Steeks!

  1. Andrea Roosth

    I’m so proud of anyone with the courage to take a scissors to their knitting! You inspire me (as always)! Thanks!!

  2. Oh, HONESTLY ! – anyone steeking should be put into the stocks in the town square ! [grin]
    Possibly a reaction a bit OTT, Michele; but even the thought of actually cutting through knitting makes me shudder.
    You would need to provide a whole long list of justifications to stop my mouth from turning down.
    But then, a knitter at your level of competence can probably do that. I’m putting my hands over my ears and singing “la la la la la” loudly ..
    Irritating, am I not ? 😀

    • The real reason we steek? To make knitters cringe! It’s really pretty non-threatening, if you do it to either a practice piece or a small piece. I wouldn’t want a sweater to be my first one!

      > >

  3. Okay, I think you need a pro steeking voice here. I’ve only done it once but it was so fun! And I will do it again on my Daytripper Cardi. For stranded knitting, it is absolutely the best way to get there. I shudder when I consider the prospect of purling stranded knitting. I’ll get over it eventually, so I can knit a Bohus-inspired garment. Even then, I will steek when the opportunity presents itself. It really is fun!
    Thank you for trying out these different techniques and sharing the results. I want to try needle felting a steek.

    • That needle-felted steek was fun! The fuzziness doesn’t show so much on the front, but pretty fuzzy on the back, and it feels secure. And good for when you’re feeling stabby.

      I’d been thinking about ways to minimize bulk on the crocheted steek edges, so it was nice to have a reason to sit down and play with them all.

      > >

  4. Interesting discussion of the different techniques – thank you for sharing! I have steeked a couple of times, and it worked out pretty well, but I also gave myself a lot of safety backup to make sure it did 🙂