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!!!