I have been reading about steeking for the last couple of months. I have talked to several people who have performed the surgery and lived to tell the tale. I have had nightmares and daymares about doing this. But... finally, I got up the courage this week
The planning began with my decision to try this 'new' technique, steeking (new to me, that is), when I started designing this garment. I really wanted to stick to my plan and try something new with each major project this year.
The only major glitch was that my sewing machine went on the fritz and I was not prepared to sink any more funds into it. So, last week, I traded it in, and brought home a brand spanking new Jenome. Having planned on only buying a basic machine (don't laugh too hard, Belinda!), I of course, walked out with something much closer to the top of the line, knowing full well that I'll NEVER use most of the deluxe features, but wanting them anyway. What is that???
Back to the story. I had knit my tube, sleeves and yoke up to the neck, and so now I had to put everything I learned into action. After talking with the experts one more time, I sat down to do this daunting task 2 days ago. If you don't know what steeking is - the definition is basically cutting through knitted pieces to achieve the shape wanted, and then sewing them together, or knitting them together. In my case, I wanted to turn a tube of knitting into a cardigan. Of course, it's not as simple as that, and much care has to be taken so that the knitting doesn't unravel, and all the work and yarn goes to waste.
What I learned:
- Leave a column of at least 3 stitches wide - I used 5 stitches - when knitting in the round
- Crochet a chain up column on either side of the centre stitch that you plan to cut
- Sew over this chain on the sewing maching
- Pick up the stitches on each side of this sewing and crocheting
- Cut through the column of stitches between the sewing
Works like a charm. All that tension and anxiety and really, it is such a simple technique. I'm going to use it on several sweaters that need more shaping which I can't be bothered to re-knit.
These are a couple of photos of the crocheted edge prior to the cut:
contents © Esther Budd 2011