Steeks ~ Mountain Mama

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I'm taking a hiatus from bread today. My kiddo is sick, it's hot outside and, most importantly, I just finished cleaning my kitchen.

I finished this part of my Norwegian sweater last night:

One of you asked what this is, because it looks a little blobby. It's blobby because I have steeks in it.

What are steeks?

Steeks are place markers to show you where to later cut your knitting.

Go ahead and hyperventilate a little. I'll wait.

Steeks are most valuable in colorwork. It's much, much easier to knit colorwork from the right side (as opposed to the wrong side, not the left side) so most colorwork patterns are written to be knit in the round, which makes a giant tube.

But, last time I checked, most humans aren't worm shaped. We have arms, shoulders and heads smaller than those shoulders. And that's where steeking comes in.

Instead of shaping for a neck and armholes, and thereby knitting back and forth, I just do a little shaping and add a steek.

Once the knitting is finished, I stabilize the steek a little (via machine sewing, or crochet) and then cut it up the middle:

After cutting, it's nice to lie down in a dark room with a glass of wine.

When you decide to inspect your work, you will find the knitting did not unravel into a pile of ramen noodles, but has exposed your nicely shaped neckline:

Or sleeves, or placket, or pocket opening. I have five steeks in this blob: two sleeves, front neck, back neck, and placket. When they are all cut, the piece will resemble a sweater.

Steeks aren't hard, but they go into the cache of advanced knitting techniques because of the confidence you have to have. But I promise you, even a beginner can slice apart their knitting.

Or a three year old.


  1. SCISSORS & KNITTING??? Did you drink some iffy koolaid?? There was a workshop about this at the yarn shop right around the time I decided to never go back. Ok, so I see it worked out for you - and beautifully at that - but no more koolaid for you. Unless you use it to hand dye some yarn.

  2. Your work is beautiful, and I enjoyed reading about the technique. Always fun to read about rending ways with tongue in cheek!


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