Steek it to Me

I am enraged by the ordeals Georgia voters had to go through just to make their voices heard in a primary election. November’s national election cannot be a repeat, especially as we continue to fight a pandemic. I encourage you to donate your funds to Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight PAC or your time to the American Civil Liberties Union, and we can fight voter suppression together.

And when you’re already enraged, you may as well take some scissors to some perfectly good knitting.

Confession time: for all of my experience with knitting, I have never cut a steek before. I should be a hearty advocate of it, really. It exists because picker knitters (of which I am one) have a higher-than-average aversion to purling. Even if you don’t pick, colorwork is generally easier in the round.

I think what’s so scary about a steek is its permanence. It’s not like you can rip it out and start again if you mess up. You just cut your yarn into a bunch of tiny pieces. However, my friend and amazing knitwear designer Kristin Ragsdale reached out to me to see if I’d be willing to test-knit a swatch for her new blanket design coming out soon. There would be no better time to learn how to steek than a low-risk swatch to help out a friend.

Steeked colorwork, before cutting

The knitting was nice enough. I can dig some basic two-color colorwork, but then the real fun began.

Kristin’s sample was knit in a specific superwash yarn, so her pattern calls for a sewn steek. I doubled down on that and knit my swatch out of some acrylic scraps I had lying around. I’ll pretend it’s because I like a challenge, but really I didn’t have any more appropriate yarns for a steeked swatch. Not to mention if anything went wrong, I could just blame the yarn.

I followed her instructions to a T, as a good test knitter does, and machine-stitched my four lines down the designated stitches. Admittedly, the small size of the swatch made it a little tricky. I ended up turning it inside out about halfway down, but I managed okay.

Then the dreaded moment of truth. I grabbed my sharp scissors and prayed.

And it really wasn’t that bad.

I mean, sure, the cut stitches unraveled, but it was clear to me that all the stitches after were secured by the machine stitching.

Finished colorwork swatch

I am emboldened! I feel ready to steek a garment, like the Barrey Hiking Vest.

Have you ever steeked a project before? Did it turn out just like you wanted or were there some hangups? Let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Steek it to Me

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