Tuesday, March 13, 2007

steek finishing

when i posted the cutting of my crochet steek, some of you were curious what happens next...

once a steek is cut open, the steek stitches and their reinforcements (crochet or sewn or lack thereof for some shetland yarn steeks) become a working edge. stitches can be picked up here, much like other knitting edges we are used to. the caveat is the closer to the edge one works, the more stress on the cut ends, so instead of the extreme edge stitch, pick ups usually occur one or a couple of stitches in from the edge.

these stitches can be picked up in various ways: from between the main stitches and steek stitches versus (scroll down) the center of one of the steek stitches; picking up bars/legs from the stitches to knit them versus (scroll down) picking up loops from yarn held at the back of the work. (the technique of picking up stitches seems under-documented to me. there are many variables--pick up one leg of the stitch or both, twist or not, pick up from yarn at the back, where to pick up extra stitches, etc--but i've had a hard time finding resources detailing them.) in any case, i picked my stitches as shown below.

there were some nerve-wracking moments here. after cutting, i knitted the sleeves, which involved trying on the cardigan many times, which involved lots of tugging and pulling. the steek remained in good shape, so i proceeded to the buttonbands. i picked up, knitted two rows, then noticed some of the cut ends had started to work loose. it wasn't disastrous, and picking up was already over. but i'm a rip-and-reknit sort of person. i knew i'd redo it at least once, and i was afraid things would get worse with further knitting.

so, i unraveled the in-progress buttonband and soaked the cardigan in hot water with baby shampoo. then i had to be patient and wait for things to dry, but the cut ends expanded and started to full from the bath. the steek then stayed firmly through buttonband making and multiple iterations of none-too-gentle stitch pick-ups. i've read of knitters steaming or washing their pieces immediately after cutting the steek. i'll be doing that next time.

once the buttonbands are done, a neatly finished edge emerges. the steek voluntarily folds in and lies down as an attractive facing, which lends sturdiness and body to the front of the cardigan.

no need for further tacking or whip-stitching with a crochet steek. the crocheted border lovingly protects the cut ends beneath.

[800x600version here]



  • Wow - that steeking and finishing is gorgeous! Thanks for the mini tutorial.

    By Anonymous tiennie, at 7:46 PM  

  • Wow is right! That crocheted steek looks really nice! I've hand sewn mine up to this point, but may have to suck it up and learn pick up the crochet hook because that creates such a nice edge. Thanks for all the info. BTW, what yarn are you using? (You've probably said somewhere and I missed it).

    By Blogger Emily, at 8:11 PM  

  • Wow. That is gorgeous. And clear. And inspirational: maybe I'll do a steeked pillow :) you know, just for practice becuz' steeking scare me silly.

    By Anonymous Bullwinkle, at 1:47 AM  

  • such perfection...your work is beautiful! How did you cast off those stitches on the bands, it looks so beautiful!?

    By Blogger picperfic, at 2:49 AM  

  • I have to add a WOW to the comments too! How impressive. Makes me want to try this technique. Thanks so much for sharing.

    By Blogger MJ, at 4:35 AM  

  • Thanks so much for the great instructions! I heard some very funny tongue-in-cheek instructions for steeking the other day:
    1. Sew reinforcement edges.
    2. Once knitting is ready to be cut, let it sit for several days untouched.
    3. After maybe a week, cut steeks.
    4. Take two aspirin and lie down.

    I'm currently working up the courage to cut my first-ever steeks.

    By Blogger I smell yarn., at 7:32 AM  

  • Beautiful work! Thank you for sharing your techniques. I know that I should learn to steek, but do I have the nerve to learn to steek?

    By Blogger AuntieAnn, at 9:05 AM  

  • Beautiful sweater - thanks for sharing your steeking skills with such clarity and pictures.

    By Blogger Bliss, at 10:49 AM  

  • thanks for the steek appreciation!

    Emily: i'm using Araucania Nature Wool (vegetable dyed!).

    Bullwinkle, I Smell Yarn: steek away! think about how many steekings exist out there; your chances of it working are very very good.

    AuntieAnn: following EZ, i kinda think knitters should do what they want (no obligation necessary), but if steeking looks tempting to you, i'll say it really does work (even on the first try, as this is for me).

    picperfic: i used a grafting/kitchener/tubular bind-off without any set-up rounds. a version similar to what i did lives here.

    By Anonymous meowgirl, at 11:38 PM  

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