Eek! Steeks!

Last night one of our Knit Nighters (Cricket) demonstrated steeking (eek!!) on her beautiful Dale of Norway sweater. She bought this yarn for this sweater just a month or so ago and is already just about done with it. Cricket is a wicked-fast knitter.

She demo-ed how to crochet an edging to prevent raveling. She is turning her sweater into a cardigan, which I think is a great idea.

Most of us covered our eyes when the actual cutting began.

Check out St. Louis Elf Donna in the group photo above. (In the tan shawl by the round rack, getting ready to take a picture of the steeking.) She came to visit this week, which was very fun, and I’m glad she could be here for one of our Knit Nights, too!

I’m still not convinced I could take scissors to my knitting. I’d have to work up to that in life.

Have you steeked yet?

Sheri whowillnotmakethataQuarterlyChallengetechniqueanytimesoon.



  1. My sister has taught steeking before, and she says it’s not nearly as scary as it looks, but I’m with you – I don’t think that I’ll give it a try any time soon!

  2. I think I would knit a child’s sweater, with some fair isle on the yoke, and steek that, before I would EVER try an adult sweater. I am not there yet either. Some day. There aren’t enough hours to do all the knitting I’d like. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I have steeked/cut my knitting several times in my life while watching and knitting along with Elizabeth Zimmerman on PBS TV.

  4. I am so relieved that you won’t be making steeking part of a challenge anytime soon. Believe me when I say that THAT IS MUSIC TO MY EARS……. Cause there is no way I would ever take a pair of scissors to my knitting. Too bad though cause I really love the looks of some of those patterns.

  5. steaking is just too scary to me – can’t imagine cutting all my hard work.

    I thought I recognized Donna in there and for a second was confused on where TLE is located – HA!

  6. Steeking isn’t that bad. Ive done both the crochet method and the sewing machine method. It’s no worse than cutting for an afterthought heel on a sock.

  7. I’ve never steeked myself. Didn’t Elizabeth Zimmerman write that one is entitled to go and lie down in a dark room after being brave enough to cut one’s knitting?

  8. Steek a swatch, Sheri. It’s not that painful to cut something you’ve only spent a couple hours on. And it teaches you that steeking isn’t all that bad.

  9. I started knitting in late 2011. I’ve basically been knitting socks and scarves for the past 4 years. I learned to knit from a library book. In the past 2 years, I’ve made 2 sweaters, one finished a month or so ago. Both steeked. Without supervision. It’s a piece of cake! I LOVE steeking! I especially love using an appropriately fun color leftover sock yarn for the crotchet securing part. I left it in when I turned in and tacked down the edges on the second sweater. I like to wear really long cardigans with jeans and boots (think knee length and I’m 5′ 8″ish) The sock yarn added very little bulk and made a fun contrast on the inside of the sweater.

    I’m not a talented knitter. I basically knit plain socks in cool yarns to make up for the fact that I’m a dolt when it comes to patterns. If I can steek successfully, ANYONE can.

    Read some good instructions, then give it a try. I promise you, there’s nothing to it!

  10. I steeked the armholes on a fingering weight sweater several years ago using the sewing machine method. Despite my best efforts, the thread did not hold the yarn and I had to do microsurgery with needle and thread to secure the edges. All worked out eventually, but I will never use that method again.

    On a brighter note, I took a class with Jared Flood where he demonstrated the crochet method and it looks dead simple. If I ever steek again, that’s the way I’ll do it.

  11. I would try it sometime…the old saying “Fools go where angels fear to tread” might be applicable for me but hey, it’s one way to expand my horizons!

  12. I have steeked many a sweater. Have made 3 Alice Starmore’s – and 14 Dale of Norway’s…..
    I apply steeking to a lot of my projects. I have also cut a sweater in the middle after running a needle through the stitches to correct an error. Don’t be afraid….just go for it.

  13. I’ve steeked quite a few times but am always looking for new or different ways of doing it. Does Cricket have a website that shows more detail? Thank you!

  14. I decided to try Fair Isle, steeking and felting for the first time in one fell swoop….kid’s scarf, leftover wool….knit it in the round, not a huge cut but I had butterflies in my tummy. I suffered from a steeking high afterwards and used up all my scrap Merino just so I could cut the fabric. It was almost like driving a car alone for the first time…think ROLLERCOASTER. Can’t believe I knitted for 30 years to gather the courage just to cut some fabric…

  15. I have never steeked. JC Briar’s suggestion is a great one- I might try that. I admire anyone that can knit those beatuiful sweaters. It was good to see Donna! Wish she had waited a couple of weeks!

  16. I have not steeked yet, but I am about to start Soctopus Sprout Socks (say that fast 3 times!) and will let you know how it goes….But a whole sweater that I had just lovingly knit?…GULP~~~That is multi-color?….GULP~~~! I too, would have to work myself up to it and have an expert on hand during the seperation. I would suffer from real seperation anxiety!

    I like Wendy’s idea of using a thrift store sweater first. Great Idea!!!

  17. Made my DH an aran cardigan using EZ’s pattern and steeked both the armholes and the front. I used the sewing machine rather than crocheting and I must say, I’m happy with how it looks. Very scary though, especially the first time

  18. I really want to. My son wants a fairisle vest like his father’s one, and it would be so much easier to knit it in the round but I’m too frightened to steek!

  19. Just thinking of steeking gives me hives. Tasha steeked her sweater at the last spring fling and everyone held their breath as she cut.

  20. I have steeked once, for the very first Knitting Olympics (whenever that was). It was scary, but it turned out to be not that big of a deal. I didn’t do the crochet method, I used my sewing machine. I did test it on a swatch first.

  21. I feel compelled to mention that this crochet method was really developed and perfected by Meg Swansen, daughter of Elizabeth Zimmermann. A true case of ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ In this case, the “necessity” for Meg was, as she says, not having to get off the sofa and get out the sewing machine. The first time I watched Meg demonstrate it at knitting camp, it made me weak in the knees. I have done many times since, and it really is quite simple. I also feel compelled to warn, as Meg would, that the crocheted steek should really only be done with 100% wool–the woolier, the better. I <3 steeks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Steek? Eeek! I’m with you when it comes to taking scissors to my knitting! In fact, you should see me when I only have to cut off a piece of yarn!

  23. I’ve steeked several things. I learned on a sweater for a stuffed bear (not near as scary as and adult sweater), and now I’m pretty comfortable with it. I use a sewing machine instead of crocheting. A good glass of wine or beer before and after helps get you through the first time.

  24. Steeking really scares me. I hope to see this technique in person some day and overcome my fears – thanks for sharing.

  25. I steeked, but only after making about a dozen seams to make sure the stitches held. And I’m pretty sure I would have taken a fortifying drink of something if I hadn’t been 40 weeks pregnant at the time.

  26. I still haven’t steeked an actual project – I have a Poetry In Stitches sweater that has been a work in progress for about 6 years now. But, several years ago (when said sweater was initially progressing nicely) I held a steeking party. A bunch of knitting friends came over and we all had swatches – two each – to steek. We tried a crochet steek and a sewn steek (using a sewing machine). It was good fun!

  27. I actually have steeked, and have a project on deck to be steeked. I just need the time and room to do it. I’ve never done the crochet technique – would love to try that!

  28. i’ve steeked for sleeves on a norwegian ski sweater. the norwegian sweater entailed using a sewing machine.
    i’ve also knit (and steeked) the Reef Cardigan, designed by Alice Starmore. no sewing machine.

    i recommend a fortifying glass of wine first.

  29. I did my first steek last year for one of the challenges. I finished Oranje in just about a month. While it isn’t a pretty steek (my machine sewing should be taken out and made to go to remedial straight line school), it worked and the sweater looks great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.