Steek-aphobia

This is just a drive-by post to say that I am very busy knitting at the moment.  What I am knitting is top secret and thus the unhappy lack of progress photos.  I may or may not be knitting a birthday present and the recipient may or may not be reading this blog.

Two small hints: First, I am doing stranded knitting in the round, using the two handed method (one strand in the left hand and one in the right).  I have very little experience with this technique and it does not flow off the needles well.  I still have to concentrate very hard to get any kind of consistency in tension.  This is only my third project attempting this; the first was my Peerie Flooers hat (a Kate Davies design):

IMG_0679_medium2and the second, a sweater of my own design that I made for Leah and called Medieval Gems:

IMG_5714_medium2Given that I made the first in November-December 2011 and the second in November-December 2012, and am now knitting the third in …wait for it….November-December 2013, I seem to be developing a pattern here.  I can tell you that one small project once a year does not promote finger memory for two-handed stranded knitting.  Alas!

The other small hint about my new project: It will involve a steek!  (Steeking is a technique which allows you to knit in the round and then cut your knitting so that you end up with a flat piece; it is often used for colourwork cardigans.)   Yes, dear readers, I am planning to cut my knitting!  Be still my heart!  Who is afraid of a little steek?  I am.

I have been steeling myself, however, by reading (for the umpteenth time) Kate Davies’ fabulous series of tutorials about steeks.  If you are ever planning on surmounting the steek summit this is a must-read.  (For many knitters, the steek represents the “peak” of knitting skill – that is, until they’ve done it, and then they invariably say “Oh, that was no big deal!”  In this sense, I think it is one of the major rites of passage for knitters.)   Kate’s tutorial is so clear, and beautifully illustrated, and just makes so much sense, that even the most steek-aphobic among us will find herself thinking “I could do that!”   The series has four parts, An Introduction to Steeks, Reinforcing and cutting, the Sandwich, and Your questions answered.  The sandwich technique is, I believe, an innovation of Kate’s and is so utterly brilliant it deserves a moment of quiet contemplation.

Now, if you have managed to read though Kate’s lovely and informative steek tutorials, and you are still suffering from steek-aphobia, then I direct you here.  This is, without a doubt, the BEST, most freaking adorable, unbelievably scary post about steeks that I have ever read!  And if she can do it, then so can I!!!

7 thoughts on “Steek-aphobia

  1. Can’t wait to see the end result! So, I take it you plan to crochet steek instead of machine steek? Kate Davies’ tutorial is the best, no doubts about it! Eunny Jang also has a nice one.

    Whether you plan to crochet or machine sew your steek, I found the most useful tip is to make vertical steek lines, (as opposed to a checkerboard pattern), especially if there is little contrast in your colours. The vertical lines are much easier to crochet into.

    Cutting is the easy part…

  2. I recently did a steek, I read all about it diligently (Kate Davies instructions). I did all I should, I was confident but not overly so, I was fine about the cutting……I thought it was going great, till I was doing the sandwich bit and it started to unravel….I sort of rescued it, but it put me off steeks.
    I don’t want to be negative; everyone who has written about steeks on the internet (that I can find) says how well they turn out. There were no steek disasters until mine (though I have not written it up on ravelry yet; I am still kind of recovering).
    There were a few reasons it might have gone wrong, but none were obvious problems at the time. Make sure you crochet as tightly as possible. The unravelling for me was at the colourwork piece.
    Best of luck. I hope it goes better for you.

    • Hi Helen, thank you for commenting. Yours is not the first steek-gone-bad story I’ve heard; in fact I’ve heard some real disaster tales. I think part of it has to do with the “stickiness” of the yarn you use, and also its wool content (100% wool is best). But, I’m convinced that sometimes it just doesn’t work no matter what. I would really like to use a sewing machine and sew these steeks, but unfortunately I am on holiday and have no access to one. I am just going to cross my fingers and cut. (And then, maybe, drink a glass of wine once I’ve stopped hyperventilating.)

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