Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Have you Steeked?

When attempting my first Fair Isle project I attempted to knit and the purl a design onto a scarf for my mother in law.  Needless to say that unfinished (like 3 rows of work) scarf still sits in my 'works in progress' or rather 'works not progressing' pile.  Purling a design is REALLY difficult.  Many suggest that knitting in the round so that you are always working on the correct side of your project is the way to go with Fair Isle knitting but here is the dilemma. If you work in the round you either have to make items that are circular (like hats or top down sweaters) or you must steek.  I have talked to many knittings who are scared to death of steeking.  After all the idea of taking a pair of scissors to a lengthy project is nothing short of terrifying right?  Well I found this little project to help me get over my fear (well a little).  It is a linen stitch scarf kit created by Schaffer yarns.  The idea is you knit the scarf lengthwise in the round.  At a midpoint area in the scarf you mark off 16 stitches at at the beginning and end of this area you create a lock stitch (knitting int he back or twisting your knitting) on each round.  Now although this is not a difficult project at all it is time consuming.  I have worked on it pretty steadily for about a month now.  The linen stitch is lovely but creates a very dense fabric.  Last night I cast off my final stitch and it was time to steek!  Eek!!

 The area in preparation for cutting
 Cutting  8 stitches in between the two columns of lock or twisted stitches.
 Unravelling the steek area knitted stitches
 On one side the lock stitch worked beautifully
 I will need to wet and block the fringe so it looks nicer.
One side of the fringe worked beautifully and the twisted stitch held beautifully.  On the second not so much.   The lock stitch failed.  I think this was because I seemed to knit pretty loosely on the stitches just before the twisted stitch.  I now have nothing protecting my fringe from utter unravel.  I believe that this part of the project will involve some handy fix work.  I wonder if I can create a new lock stitch using the fringe bits.

In all this project makes me want to pick up my old fair isle scarf and give it another go.  There is no reason I cannot make sure my lock stitches are tighter or for that mater create a double twisted stitch sequence to insure that if one column fails I have a backup.  I almost think that doing this with a Fair Isle project might go faster than the linen stitch did.

If you are interested in getting a scarf kit  pop into the shop or email me and I have a small variety of schaffer yarns (This is shrinking however) you can use from subtle colors like this one to more vibrant reds, plums and blues. 

Knitting a scarf in the round lengthwise is the perfect scrap-busting project.  You get a great striping effect and a stylish lightweight scarf to dress up your spring/summer wardrobe.  Using up scraps also helps when it comes time to break out the scissors!


  1. Cutting into knitting sounds scary! But the scarf looks very pretty and soft.

  2. When I saw this scarf in the shop, I actually thought it was woven. It's beautiful; nice job. I myself am scared to death of steeking. Perhaps I'll add that to the list of things I will make sure to tackle within the year :)

  3. I will be happy to show you the crochet method of steeking. I use it all the time. I'll be coming in to order yarn soon anyway. Never has this method failed me, and I've used it on cotton yarn as well as wool.