All knitters have questions about the best way to do things, why different things happen while they are knitting, how to fix knitting mistakes and more. Here is this weeks questions posed by several knitters.
Question : I have a fair isle pattern I would love to try but I’m not sure about Steeking can you explain it? Thanks
Answer: The simplest way to knit Fair Isle or stranded knitting projects is to work them in the round, even if the finished project is intended to be flat or have slits such as arm holes or a cardigan opening. It’s much easier and faster to do stranded knitting all from the right side (and harder to get lost in your pattern).
The only potential problem with knitting a project that’s supposed to be flat or have openings in the round is that you have to cut your knitting to make it the right shape. That’s accomplished by knitting and cutting a steek, which sounds incredibly scary, but once you’ve done it once, like so many other things in knitting, you’ll wonder what the fuss was about.
To knit a Fair Isle or stranded knitting project in the round that’s meant to be flat, you’ll have to add a few stitches to make the area where you’ll cut. Patterns can have as few as 4 or as many as 10 steek stitches.
Before you take scissors to steek, you need to sew yourself a bit of insurance. Using either a needle and sewing thread or a sewing machine, stitch two rows of stitches on each side of the center of your steek stitches.
This is faster to do on a sewing machine, and might make you feel more confident that you’ve gotten all the threads of yarn caught up in the stitching because you can set the machine to tiny stitches. But the stretch of knitting can be a little tricky to work with on a machine, and you have to be able to sew straight or you might end up having to do a bit of ripping, which is no fun at all on knitting.
Sewing by hand takes a while to ensure that you’re getting every last stitch covered, but it’s no problem to do it that way, and a lot easier to keep a straight sewing line.
Here’s the part of steek knitting that scares a lot of knitters who have never tried it before: the actual cutting of the steek.
Remember how we just sewed a couple rows of stitches in our steek to reinforce it? That will guarantee that your stitches won’t unravel when you cut them. Even if you make a sloppy cut and cut some of the stitches of the steek, it will only unravel back to that sewing line. Your actual project will not be affected.
So take a deep breath, grab your scissors and cut, slowly and carefully, through the middle of the steek. In the example piece, that’s between stitches two and three of the steek.
You’ll notice that you’re not actually cutting the stitches, you’re just getting the yarn between the stitches. But if you happen to cut a stitch, don’t worry about it; that’s what the sewing is for.
The hard part’s over. To finish your steek, all you have to do is fold back that stitches that formed the steek to the wrong side of the work and sew them down using yarn and a yarn needle.
Make sure as you go that you’re sewing evenly along the side, not letting the steek stitches show on the right side of the work and not pulling the first column of pattern stitches onto the back of the work.
If you happened to nick any of the stitches while you were cutting the steek, you can cover that mistake with sewing now. If you didn’t weave in your ends, you can also hide the ends in these seams so you don’t have to worry about them. This does add bulk, though, so you might not want to do it, say, on a cardigan front.
Finish the other side of the steek in the same manner. Marvel at your knitting mojo and don’t fear steeks again!
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