Have you been wanting to try steeking, but for some reason or other, haven’t gotten around to it yet? I sure have! So when the lovely Shannon Cook posted about her own desire to learn the technique on Instagram a few months ago, it seemed like the perfect inspiration to finally tackle the oh-so-scary steek. Shannon had the wonderful idea of hosting a steek-along and invited myself and Andrea Mowry to cohost with her, so of course I jumped on the opportunity!
From Shannon's blog....
WHAT IS THE "stEEk-along"?
It's a fun, casual and ongoing project for anyone to join in and conquer the steek and eventually work up to steeking accessories and garments! We're starting off easy and simple - by steeking a swatch.
PROMPT #1 - SWATCH N' STEEK
Date: Monday, April 3rd, 2017
So our first prompt and challenge is for us all to knit up a swatch (a full swatch in the round - like you are knitting a tube or sleeve - not a swatch in the round where you carry long strands behind).
Today we invite you to share a pic of your yarn and a pair of scissors. We will be using these yarns over the next week to make our swatches.
Use hashtag #swatchnsteek and #stEEkal on Instagram to join in!
PROMPT #2 - PREOP :)
Date: Anytime between today and Monday, April 10th, 2017.
Did you use a pretty colorwork chart for your swatch? Show off your swatch before you snip it!
Use hashtag #preop, #beforethesteek and #stEEkal on Instagram to join in!
PROMPT #3 - SNIP YOUR KNITS
Date: Monday, April 10th, 2017
Then....this is gonna be seriously so fun....on Monday, April 10th we're all going to snip our knits on Instagram together!!!! Woot woot!!!! I'm so excited! We're going to fearlessly snip our knits TOGETHER!
Use hashtag #snipyourknits and #stEEKal on Instagram to join in!
We decided to start with a simple swatch-n-steek- because it is less scary than just having your first steek be on a huge sweater that you’ve spent countless hours knitting. Most knitters I know go weak in the knees thinking about cutting their knitting, so let’s start with baby steps! I know that I want to knit approximately 4029284 fair isle cardigans, so I am super ready to tackle this.
I started my research for this project by checking out some great posts from Eunny Jang, Kate Davies and Interweave, as well as referencing the excellent book Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting (one of my most-loved knitting books). There are a ton of great resources out there, I feel armed with knowledge and much less nervous about cutting my work now. Hooray for information!
For my swatch, I decided to make things easy on myself and use a traditional “wooly” wool- something that has a natural velcro effect, making the stitches grab together and resist unraveling. Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift fit the bill perfectly, a lovely, rustic fingering weight and it comes in SO many fantastic colors, it is a great choice for steeking newbies! I decided to knit my swatch on US 2 (2.75mm) needles, to help create a denser, firmer fabric, which is also recommended to aid in steeking. Also, I can’t find my US 1.5s… (where do they go???)
This week I’ll be knitting 3 swatches to try out 3 different steeking techniques, a traditional, unreinforced steek, and crocheted steek and a machine sewn steek. I will post updates this week on my swatches, and the cutting will take place on Monday, 4/10. I’ll share my thoughts with you on the different methods and how they work out for me. I hope you will join us! I am going to knit the chart I designed below, feel free to use it for your own swatch if you like! I’ll be casting on enough stitches for 4 pattern repeats, plus the number of extra stitches required for the steek. I will go into more details in following posts, as well as on Instagram, so check in again, won’t you? <3