Friday, January 31, 2014

Stoked About My Steek

Scottich Sweaterrr will be worn this weekend.  For sure.  I hope.  The last bits that needed knitting were the front bands - button and buttonhole, and the neck band. 

Before the front bands could be tackled though, the steek had to be cut.  I have cut a few steeks in my time and I have come to  favour the crocheted steek.  For some reason - one I cannot fathom - unlike the sew & cut steek, there are no untidy, fraying  ends with a crocheted steek.  Once cut, it is done, ends are tidy and the whole thing lies cooperatively flat.

Here you see my approach to the steek.  I had knit 5 extra stitches at the centre front of the sweater to be used for the steek.  In the case of Scottish Sweatrrr I knit those stitches in seed stitch.  Somewhere I had heard that seed stitch forms a denser fabric, less likely to give grief once cut.  But I wouldn't use it a second time.  It is more  difficult to  "see" the stitches to be crocheted in seed stitch where  the first is a knit and the next a purl.  Stockinet steek stitches will be what I use on my next steel.

Initially, I basted up the centre stitch of the 5 steek stitches. 
This helped identify where I needed to be - or not be - when crocheting.

Next I crocheted up one side and down the other side of that basted stitch. 
Where exactly does one crochet, you ask.  Start by recognizing  that each stitch has two legs - a right and a left  - then  picturing the column of 5 stitches running up the centre front, counting them from left to right.  Like this  -   1,2,3,4, and 5, with stitch #3 being the centre stitch, now basted in a contrasting colour making it easier to see. Crochet together the left leg of stitch #4 with the right leg of stitch #3.  Then, on the other side of that centre stitch, crochet the left leg of #3 together with the right leg of #2.   I do a single crochet stitch.  A double crochet would be too bulky and I think a chain would be too tight.

Once both columns are crocheted the entire length of the front steek, then I cut. 
Cutting a crocheted steek is a slow process.  You cut the bar of yarn that ran between the right and left legs of stitch #3 - now a bit hidden due to the crochet. Each row must be gently pulled open and the bar snipped.   You can see here how neat a crocheted steek looks from inside the sweater.

Once Scottish Sweatrrr had become a cardi, using a needle slightly smaller than the one used for the body,  I picked up stitches for  the front button band at a  ratio of 3 for 4 in a 2X2 rib.  I made sure I finished with 3 of a kind at the top, as one stitch will be lost to the viewer when the stitch for the  neckline trim are picked up.  Years and years of doing otherwise has taught me that lesson.

At the moment, one band is knit, the second started and the end is in sight.

Have a great weekend everyone.  You know what I will be doing.


Sigrun said...

Good foxr you. FYI for next time--I knit my bands before cutting. I've never had steeked sts come undone, but I figure the less I handle the cut edge the safer I feel. I don't crochet mine--in fingering weight of shetland yarns I don't reinforce at all, but with B&L worsted, I sew with the sewing machine a couple of times close together. It's less bulky.

Needles said...

I love the way this turned out Brenda and cannot wait to see modelled pictures!