Steeking

Recently, I decided I was up for a new knitting challenge. I wanted to make a sweater and I was going to steek it.

From Wikipedia: In knitting, steeking is a shortcut used to knit garments such as sweaters in the round without interruption for openings or sleeves until the end. After completing a tube, a straight line is cut along the center of a column of stitches, in order to make room for an opening or place to attach another piece. The steek itself is a bridge of extra stitches, in which the cut is made, and is usually 6-10 stitches wide. This technique was developed by the knitters of the Shetland archipelago and is particularly associated with Fair Isle sweaters, although it can be used for solid colors as well.

Basically, I took a pattern for a sweater, and knit the sweater like a pullover, with an extra band in the middle to allow for a cut, creating a cardigan. When I was ready to steek I had something that looked like this:

Then came the studying. I consulted quite a few tutorials including Eunny Jang’s Steeking Chronicles and KnittingHarpy’s And Now For Something A Little Different. Both included some great explanations of how to steek and, most importantly, pictures of the process. I’ve taken a few pictures of my own and have included them here.

While there are many potential methods of reinforcing a steek before cutting it (crocheting, machine sewing), I selected the machine sewing method because I was using superwash yarn that was particularly slippery. Take this as lesson #1 – for your first steek you might want to choose a stickier material, like wool, because the piece will hold together better when you cut it.

So, in order to reinforce my steek, I prostrated myself upon the mercy of a wonderful friend Teri because my sewing machine had broken. She generously helped me run 4 lines of machine sewing through the paneled section.

Then it was time to cut. Lesson #2: make sure you have EXTRA sharp scissors. Those particularly observant readers will notice that I switched out scissors three times to find a good sharp cut. Here we go:

Now I was particularly glad that I was at Teri’s house at this point. The top part of the sweater where I had been using 2 colors held together pretty well, but the bottom part of the sweater that was plain stockinette wasn’t as stable. So Teri helped me out by serging the edges of the sweater!

And Voila! it was a cardigan:

Now all that was left was picking up and knitting a collar and two button bands. Unfortunately I did not document this part of the process but both tutorials I referenced above have excellent pictures.

I’m hoping to do a real photo shoot of me wearing the finished sweater in the next day or two, but for now I’ll tide you over with one final picture:

The Project: Drops Cardi

The Needles: 2.75mm and 3mm

The Yarn: Wollmeise 100% Sockenwolle, 2.1 skeins of Schwarz and 1 skein of Wilder Mohn

The Buttons: Vintage rhinestones from Craftitis.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elisa
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 17:13:24

    I think you may have given me courage to try this! But I still need to figure out how to do the facing over the steeked edges…

    Reply

  2. Teri
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 18:29:46

    It looks great and I look forward to seeing it on you in its completed form. Well done!

    Reply

  3. PlazaJen
    Nov 18, 2009 @ 00:53:36

    I love it! If it were me, I’d wear it for a month. Awesome & can’t wait to see it ‘live’!

    Reply

  4. Helena
    Nov 19, 2009 @ 17:27:48

    You are a brave soul. Really. I admire you, your courage, your knitting skills and … the result (which is fabulous).

    Reply

  5. thestashbuckler
    Nov 19, 2009 @ 19:36:08

    Thanks everyone! There will be one more upcoming posts with some glamour shots (by the talented Ana), and some un-glamourous inside shots where I hid all the dirty work! Then I promise I’ll stop spamming y’all. 😉

    Reply

  6. joyellenivill
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 03:36:09

    thanks so much, i’m not scared any more
    joy38 (ravelry name)
    sydney australia

    Reply

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