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Steek!

September 18, 2014

IMG_1220I know I know, steeking is super scary. Every knitters greatest fear realized: cut knitting! What if it unravels? What if all of that beautiful work comes apart? Well, I tell you, it won’t. Armed with some steeking knowledge you will be just fine. Let’s get started!

Need to Know:

There are many ways to steek, this tutorial outlines the method I used for the Clayoquot cardigan. If you would like more information on some different methods of steeking (or more info on steeking in general) check out Knitty, Eunny Jang, and the queen herself, Kate Davies.

Starting:

What you will need to steek: a sweater, some yarn (you can use the same colour yarn as the sweater MC or a contrasting one, I found it didn’t matter so I used a contrasting colour to make this tutorial clear), a crochet hook a few sizes smaller than the needle size for the sweater, a darning needle, and scissors.

Knit and blocked

Knit and blocked

First up, knit yourself a sweater and block it. I knit the Clayoquot cardigan (with the alteration of contrasting pockets). Sew down your pockets, and weave in your ends. Ends should be woven AWAY FROM THE STEEK. Now you are ready to roll.

weaveinends

Where the steek is:

The Clayoquot pattern has 5 steek stitches (numbered below). The right crochet reinforcement will use half of stitch 3 and half of stitch 4, and the left crochet reinforcement will use the other half of stitch 3 and half of stitch 2. The cut comes right down the middle of stitch 3.

whichstitch

 

Crochet Reinforcement

First you will need to secure your yarn to start your reinforcement.

1. Make a slip knot onto your crochet hook

2. Put your hook through the top of stitch 4

3. Pull through a loop (you will now have 2 loops on your hook)

4. Pull your working yarn through these two loop (you will now have 1 loop on your hook)

First make a slip knot over your crochet hook.

1. make a slip knot over your crochet hook.

2. Put your hook through the top of stitch 4

2. Put your hook through the top of stitch 4

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3. Pull through a loop (you will now have 2 loops on your hook)

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4. Pull your working yarn through these two loop (you will now have 1 loop on your hook)

Next you are going to make a single crochet chain down the steek, through half of stitch 4 and half of stitch 3

1. Put your crochet hook through the right half (or leg) of stitch 4 and the left half (or leg) of stitch 3

2. Pull through a loop (you will now have 2 loops on your crochet hook)

3. Pull your working yarn through these 2 loops (you will now have 1 stitch on your hook)

IMG_8302

1. Put your crochet hook through the right half (or leg) of stitch 4 and the left half (or leg) of stitch 3

2. Pull through a loop

2. Pull through a loop (you will now have 2 loops on your crochet hook)

You will continue working steps 1-3 in each stitch until you have worked all of the stitches. At the end, put your hook through the center of stitch 4. Pull up a loop, pull your working yarn through both loops on the hook. Cut your yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail, and pull the tail through the last live stitch, fastening off your work.

At the end, put your hook through the center of stitch 4

At the end, put your hook through the center of stitch 4

Fasten off your last stitch by cutting your yarn and putting the tail through the last live stitch

Fasten off your last stitch by cutting your yarn and putting the tail through the last live stitch

Your first reinforcement is complete

Your first reinforcement is complete

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This is what it looks like from the other side.

Your first crochet reinforcement is complete! The second reinforcement is worked in the opposite direction, starting at the bottom of the sweater and working your way to the top. You will be working your single crochet chain through stitches 2 and 3.

Both reinforcements are complete. See how the crochet chains naturally lean away from where you are going to cut?

Both reinforcements are complete. See how the crochet chains naturally lean away from where you are going to cut?

 

Cut!

Take a deep breath, some sharp scissors, and here goes nothin’!

Start cutting!

Start cutting!

Keep going, don't chicken out now

Keep going, don’t chicken out now

You now have one steeked sweater, congratulations!

You now have one steeked sweater, congratulations!

 

Picking up the button band

Picking up the button band is the same as any sweater, just a little further in than usual. Insert your needle from the right side to the wrong side and draw up a loop. Continue picking up at the rate specified in your pattern. You may also want to check out the ‘steek sandwich’ that Kate Davies uses.

Picking up stitches

Picking up stitches: The yarn is coming from the wrong side to the right side.

Button bands complete

Button bands complete

Sewing down the flap

When I finished steeking my sweater and putting on a button band I found there was a little extra flap. In order to keep the ends from rubbing I sewed down the flap for a little extra security.

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All sewed down and secured

All sewed down and secured

All that’s left are a few ends, blocking, and some buttons to sew on! Your pullover is now a cardigan.

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More fun colourwork from Tin Can Knits

 

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah Osei-Bonsu permalink
    December 26, 2016 3:46 pm

    Very clear instructions thank you! I’m new to steeking, and I’m wondering how to apply crochet steek to a 1×1 rib.

    • December 28, 2016 2:22 pm

      Hi Sarah – hmmm, I’m not really sure. Usually a steeked pattern would have a few stitches of stockinette for the purposes of steeking. I would probably run the crochet reinforcement up the stockinette part of the rib.

  2. Sandy permalink
    July 22, 2016 6:29 pm

    Great tutorial! Thank you. I am preparing for my first FairIsle sweater needing a steek!

  3. Nicole permalink
    July 10, 2016 5:39 pm

    Hi, I’m preparing to knit this cardigan for my son. I am hoping to use 85%Merino and 15% cashmere yarn…would this be suitable for steeking?

    • July 12, 2016 11:45 am

      I don’t see why not! Both of those fibers should be ‘sticky’ enough to steek.

  4. March 21, 2016 7:48 am

    Hello
    Thanks for the quite explicit tutorial !
    I was wondering what the beautiful blue-gray yarn was?
    Thanks a lot
    François

  5. susan permalink
    January 22, 2016 3:42 pm

    thank you for sharing your tutorial,I’m going to buy that beautiful sweater very soon,but I have one question.What if a pattern calls for a purl knit 5 purl as a steek.Would you crochet the purl stitch?

  6. Brooks Ann Miller permalink
    November 12, 2015 6:29 am

    In your response to Julie, you stated “just make sure sweater is wool.” What happens if isn’t wool? Will steeking not work? I don’t use wool very often for several reasons and am very curious. Thanks for a great tutorial!

    • November 17, 2015 10:30 am

      Hi Brooks – steeking relies on the fibers meshing together to hold strong. An acrylic yarn won’t mesh (it is the nature of the yarn, it’s also the reason it doesn’t pill etc.), so it isn’t really suitable for steeking.

  7. September 12, 2015 7:13 am

    Thank you for this tutorial on steeking.
    Do you know if you can steek a sweater that has not been designed to be steeked? I made this sweater. It’s very nice but too warm to wear inside. It would be grat if I could transform it into a cardigan.
    Thanks!

    • September 12, 2015 6:27 pm

      Yes and no, you absolutely can, but it depends on the design. You would lose an inch or so in the middle (for the steek and the button band pick up) but you would gain the width of the button band. Just make sure your sweater is wool!

    • Sandy permalink
      September 28, 2015 10:08 am

      Your tutorial on steeking is great! I have read several instructions on steeking now and I’m still now sure what happens to all the strands of yarn that are carried across when completing the design in the pattern. I can see all the strands on the reverse side of the sweater that you steeked in your tutorial. The strands are directly behind the steeking stitches. When asked to cut the stitches between the two rows of crochet, what happens to the strands behind them? Thanks! I’m at the point of steeking and cutting and want to be sure that I know what I’m doing!

      • September 29, 2015 10:07 am

        Hi Sandy – those strands get cut, just like the stitches you are steeking.

  8. jennieclark0905 permalink
    April 28, 2015 12:43 pm

    This was such a beautifully photographed tutorial. I referred to it repeatedly when I was talking myself into steeking my most recent sweater. I linked your tutorial in my most recent blog post on steeking here, (http://www.owningayarnshop.com/?p=29), if I need to do anything more to credit you, please let me know! :)

  9. October 19, 2014 9:43 pm

    This is excellent!!! You’ve inspired me to steek and I’m so excited about it! I started to crochet the chain, but I think there might be a misprint. It says, “1. Put your crochet hook through the right half (or leg) of stitch 4 and the left half (or leg) of stitch 3.” I think it should be the LEFT half of stitch 4 and the RIGHT half of stitch 3. I hope that’s what you meant because I’m making the cut tomorrow :-)

    Thank you for all your wonderful tutorials! I love learning new knitting techniques!

    • Ann T. permalink
      March 6, 2015 6:42 pm

      I just read this tutorial, and was thinking the same thing!

  10. October 6, 2014 9:09 am

    I’ve never steeked, but your tutorial helped take a lot of the fear factor out of the process for me. You’ve made it into something I could actually see myself doing! Thank you so much!

  11. September 22, 2014 3:20 pm

    A brilliant tutorial will be saving this one for future reference. Thank you

  12. September 19, 2014 8:20 pm

    great tutorial!! thanks – definitely gonna share this!

  13. Jules permalink
    September 18, 2014 1:55 pm

    Thank you for this really clear tutorial, it almost takes away the fear!

  14. September 18, 2014 1:52 pm

    Great tutorial on steeking! The pictures are excellent and so helpful. I LOVE to steek because I HATE to purl but I always need a refresher before I pick up the scissors. This will be my new go to. Thanks!

  15. September 18, 2014 1:09 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial! When I first heard about steeking I was positive I didn’t had the guts for it. Not sure I’ve got them now but you made it sound doable!!

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