Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Steek it!

We love Fair Isle knitting - it's one of our favourite techniques. But there is one element of this type of knitting that some of you may have been reluctant or even scared to try and that is steeking.
A steek is a panel that allows you to knit a Fair Isle project in the round- much faster than back and forth. It's great for cardigans or throws and is a very old technique.  You can read more about steeking on Kate Davies' blog here.

Once you have finished knitting you cut along the steek - yes we do mean cut - and pick up stitches to create an edging or button band. Cutting a piece of work you have invested a lot of time in can be daunting so we have created this post to show you some easy techniques for successful steeking.
As with so many things in life the devil is in the detail or in this case the preparation.

In some Scandinavian countries they are confident enough to simply cut the steek but we prefer to anchor our stitches using crochet or a sewing machine.

For the crochet method we recommend you use a finer yarn than the project and a smaller crochet hook than the knitting needles you used.  This is because crochet is a looser technique and you want to be sure your stitches are securely anchored.

We have knitted a mug cosy to demonstrate for you.

You can see the panel of steek stitches that aren’t part of the pattern.

Crochet a line of double crochet (English terminology) through each loop in a vertical line as you see here.

Then crochet another next to it like this.

If you would prefer to use a sewing machine, sew two vertical lines of stitches up each side of the steek as in the crochet example.

Your stitches are anchored so it is safe to cut them.  Take a deep breath and be brave!

Now you can pick up your edge stitches like this.

When your edging is finished it is used to encase the raw edge of the steek to keep everything nice and neat.

You have now completed your steek. Well done!  We’re proud of you.

If you want to practise your steeking you can download this mug cosy pattern for free here

We are always looking for new techniques to try so let us know if you have one you would like us to help you with.