Monday, October 11, 2010

Get the good scissors out!

Get the good scissors out:

It's time to sssssssssttttttttttteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!


The tutorial at our monthly guild meeting this month was on steeking, lead by members M-H and Sandra. I've never done it, and quite frankly the thought of cutting my knitting scared the crap out of me! Cutting something that I'd spent hours and hours knitting - in fairisle - gaaaaaahhhhh!


I know others have done it - and I admired their bravery - but I never really thought I could do it.



Until now!

We all did our homework (knitting a tube in a fairly easy fairisle pattern), ready to learn how to reinforce the knitting before bringing out the good scissors. I was the only stupid person to use 4ply/fingering yarn - I don't know why I didn't use 8ply/DK, which would have made for a bigger tube and less knitting required. I suppose I always think of finer yarn when I think of fairisle (it would be too too hot to wear a double strand 8ply garment here) and I had this yarn left over from my endpaper mitts, so that's as far as my thinking went when choosing yarn!

Anyway, I had a bit of an experiment with my fairisle - reversed the colours for the middle section, and for the top section I reversed the yarn carried over the top (at bottom, I carried the brown over the green, at top I carried the green over brown) - I think the top looks better. Yarn dominance in action!

The tutorial was excellent! M-H and Sandra have come up with an alternate way to reinforce the steeked section using crochet - the method most commonly used has you crochet on either side of the area you will cut (the double width brown strip in the centre of my sample), while their method (the WestWard method!) has you crochet on either side of the entire steeked area, thus creating a kind of selvege edge and reducing bulk on the very edge. (The red stitches are the crocheted reinforcement).

I initially grumbled about this method, as I found it the way of crocheting very awkward, but once M-H showed me how to do it more easily, I saw the light! And soon I was going for the scissors and it only took a few seconds and my tube was now a flat piece of knitting! Weeeeeeeeeeee!

I thought I'd chosen a relatively sticky yarn, but I discovered after cutting that it was not really sticky at all! So I think if I was to use a non-Shetland yarn for fairisle, I'd either crochet right on the steek area, to ensure it can't unravel, or I'd use the WestWard method but also machine sew closer to the steek edge, for double security!

Thanks to M-H and Sandra, I now have the confidence to actually try this out on a full-size garment! Yay for Growth As A Knitter!

20 comments:

bells said...

So great! Yipeeeee!

You know, I think that's how I did it - Julie had us knit an 8 or 10 stitch panel and we crocheted down the sides of that panel. I'm sure I did it that way but I'll have a look at photos to be sure.

Interestingly, the steek on my jacket was done with not very sticky wool, too and it's never unravelled, but now that I'm a sewer, I'd try machine stitching too.

So, when's your first fair isle and steeked garment happening?

missfee said...

YAY
loved those scissors - best snip ever!!!

What a great workshop it was too

and yes what is to be your first steeking project? I wonder

drkknits said...

you all certainly made it look very easy, and it was great to see everyones lovely little bits of fair isle. i am happy to just be a bystander to the cutting of knitting at this stage, however!

LynS said...

I'm so sorry to have missed Saturday's meeting - but I'm hoping there are now lots of knowledgeable, friendly knitters I can now ask for assistance if I need it.

jp said...

I must admit M-H and Sandra made it easy to do. I feel much more confident at steeking a garment fair isle or not.

Love the good scissors too!

SadieandLance said...

Holy Moly my head is spinning! I think I will have to live vicariously through you and your knitting cutting sharp scissors!

Leonie said...

I don't think I will ever have the guts to do that. Ever!!

Donna Lee said...

Steeking always looks so clever. Like you have been initiated into a secret club.

Someday I'll have to make something with steeks. It looks like a challenge.

Sel and Poivre said...

First time steeking really does feel like a miracle doesn't it?

Lexie said...

Well done! I'm very impressed. I've never steeked, but i plan to. I do have a question for you. Can you lease elaborate on which yarn you carried over the other? I know that which yarn you hold continental versus which you hold English will cause one yarn to pop or stand above the other, but I'd love a full explanation. I'm not even sure which one would be the carried over yarn!

Also, I'd love to hear the tip that made the crocheting easier.

Thanks so much!

MadMad said...

That is so cool! I'm very impressed. I've yet to try steeking, but this might give me the courage! (Love the photo of the tubes, too - too cute!)

Kate said...

Oh, you are so much braver than me! I haven't yet had the courage to try true fairisle, let alone steek it! Maybe that can be a goal for 2011...

M-H said...

Thanks for this post RR. All we wanted was to give people the courage to try it, and it seems that we succeeded. :) Looking forward to seeing some sexay fair isles with steeks.

Yarna said...

Great write up, RR. It was a fantastic workshop and M-H & Sandra really demystified the whole process. Now, what to knit....

travellersyarn said...

Wow, you are so much braver than me - I'll truly be a grown-up when I can cut my own knitting!

Michelle said...

Steek!! Eek!!

I wonder if you can steek in crochet?

Ann said...

That's a great tutorial. There's nothing better than doing it (cutting) yourself. I love you choice of colors.

catsmum said...

sorry I am STILL steek challenged ... it scares the c**p outta me and has ever since the first time I saw a Norwegian friend do it over 30 years ago

jodi said...

I'm so impressed! And so glad to see steeking demystified. I still don't think I'm ready for it yet, but I'll be sure to come back here for inspiration when I want to give it a whirl. The endpaper mitts are queued up, but still not on the needles. So glad to know someone else has made them and liked them. Going for orange and blue to satisfy an Auburn fan at Christmas time. Thanks for the inadvertent push to get started. :)

Alwen said...

Eeeeeeek!

Wow. Good thing I'm sitting down.