Taking the “Eeks!” out of Steeks

August 5, 2013

One of the captivating aspects of knitting is the engineering of the craft. It’s ingeniously simple — everything’s made with two basic stitches — but the variety, complexity, beauty, and artistry are endless.

Various techniques are used to transform knits and purls into beautiful works of all kinds — fine lace, Fair Isle sweaters and mittens, cabled creations of all kinds.

Steeking is one of those techniques that can strike terror into the hearts of knitters. It’s basically cutting your knit-in-the-round creation and turning in the edges. Think of taking a pullover sweater and cutting up the front (from belly button to neck) and then turning under the edges and making button bands.

Since it’s much easier to knit multiple colors (like Fair Isle) in the round than going back and forth on straight needles, steeking is most often used with color work.

Barb came prepared to our steeling class with two elbow-length wristlets (which probably have a fancier name in real life).


Jackie came with a gorgeous and HUGE 30-year old pullover that she wanted to convert to a cardigan and tighten up along the sleeves. You can see why.


It’s the cutting that’s nerve wracking. What if it all unravels? How can I cut this beautiful thing I’ve created?

The magic is that it doesn’t unravel — at least, not if you’re using “sticky” wool. The fibers of each strand tend to stick to each other and don’t unravel. Plus before you cut, you crochet up both sides of your cutting line to hold down the stitches. If you have a sewing machine handy, you can use that instead of crocheting. Not surprisingly, none of us had brought a sewing machine on the cruise!


As each intrepid knitter prepared to steak, we gathered around to watch, take photos, and lend moral support.



On the final snip, we cheered. Knitters are such generous folk!


2 Responses to “Taking the “Eeks!” out of Steeks”

  1. Ha ha! Fortunately, as I remind myself when I get upset about making a mistake, “it’s not life or death; it’s just knitting!”


  2. Anna Says:

    As a long time ER nurse, I must tell you that this scene has all the makings of a trauma team gathering to bring life back to a dying patient ! Well done ladies.


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