Master Knitter Posts, Techniques

Steek Sandwich

Sounds yummy, right? 😉

In actuality it is a method of dealing with steeks which hides the steek inside a few rows of knitting.  Stitches are picked up through the fabric on the right side, and then stitches are picked up from the loops on the wrong side, and a few rows of knitting are worked on both sides, completely enclosing the steek.  The two flaps are then knit together, and the rest of the buttonband (or whatever) is finished.

Here is a much more in depth post on the method, and is the reference I used in my researching.  Kate Davies’ series on steeks is excellent – my post today will be a very quick overview on how I did my steek sandwich, so go to her website if you want more details!

Here’s how I did my steek sandwiches.  My gauge worked out perfectly to allow me to pick up stitches at every row on the buttonbands.  Be sure you check your gauges, though – yours might not work out like that.  You’ll adjust the number of rows you pick up depending on your gauge ratio.  (If you don’t know what I mean by that – that’s a lesson for another blog post!)

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Stitches picked up on every row – exactly between the steek stitches and the pattern stitches.

You have to be sure to pick the yarn up from behind the work, and through to the front, so that the working yarn carries across the back.  This is what forms the loops you’ll use to pick up stitches on the back.  It also reinforces the steek edge even more, since it locks all your floats!

Then, using a second circular needle, you turn your work and pick up each loop on the back and knit into it.  (Pull the yarn snug when working the first one.) This can be tricky, because the loops are pretty tight.  (You could help this by using a larger needle for picking up the front stitches, and then switching to the smaller needles for the rest of the buttonband, but I didn’t do that with my sweater.)  I used a dpn to gently lift each loop, and then my working needle to knit into it. You must pick up one extra stitch on the back to have your stitch counts the same on both sides.

(Also – I did my steek sandwiches slightly different from how Kate Davies showed. I didn’t want to have to seam the sides of my ‘sandwich’, so I worked my sandwich like a giant tube – knitting first the front and then carrying the yarn to the back, snugly, and then knitting the back. As opposed to knitting all the rows on the front first and then knitting the rows on the back.)

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Loops on back, each one picked up and knit.

I worked four more rows total, front and back – ending with the wrong side completed. Now, you have two circular needles – one with the front stitches and one with the back stitches.

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Front and back knit together.

You will use your front circular needle, and knit the front and the back stitches together across the row (as though you were doing a three needle bind off – but without the binding off.) That finishes the sandwich!

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Front and back knit together (back/wrong side view) See how the steek is hidden – doesn’t that look nice??

Then you finish off the buttonband however you wish – I did corrugated ribbing for my sweater, but you could do an i-cord, or some other edge for the finishing.

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I forgot to take a close up shot of the finished band – this picture will have to do! So here’s how the band looks when complete.

So that’s how I did my steek sandwiches for my sweater! It adds a bit of bulk to the edge, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing at the buttonbands, where you want some stability.

I hope this was informative! Happy Knitting!!

(Oh – and PS: my box arrived safely in Ohio today! That’s one less thing for me to worry about! I’ll try to patiently wait for it to come back to me…) 😉

Master Knitter Posts, Techniques, WiP Posts

Preparing to Steek

I promised my guild that I would videotape my cutting the steeks for my sweater, so I figured to be thorough I’d do a whole post on the process. 🙂  Stay tuned for the actual video – this post will walk you through leading up to the actual cutting.

Just FYI – this is a picture heavy post!

For those that don’t already know, a steek is a section of knitting that you are planning on cutting in your knitting.  You will use steeks when knitting things that are easier to knit in the round.  Fair Isle (and stranded) knitting is very often knit in the round (it doesn’t have to be, though!) – so steeks are commonly used in those types of knitting.  Why do you need to cut?  Well, if you want a cardigan you have to have an opening in the front.  You’ll need openings for the sleeves as well.  And if you want a v-neck or scoop neck, you’ll need a neckline opening, too.   These are all places you can use steeks.  You’ll essentially knit a large tube for the body of your sweater, and then cut it open for the front, and cut open the armholes and the neckline.

I don’t usually reinforce my steeks – they don’t typically need it if you’re using a ‘sticky’ wool, and if you make an intrinsically sturdy steek of about 8 or more stitches wide and a checkerboard pattern.  For this sweater, however, I used a very narrow steek of just 3 stitches on each side, and I used a stripe pattern.  The reason for this is because I’m going to use a ‘sandwich’ technique when I pick up the stitches for the buttonband and the collar.  (I’ll post about that when I get to that part of the sweater, too.)  This technique requires the steek to be very narrow, since the steek will end up hidden inside a row of knitting.  Because of this, I decided to reinforce all my steeks just to be extra sure they aren’t going anywhere. 🙂

Also, my steeks are all left with live stitches at the top, on holders – they need to be kept separate from the body of knitting, so I did not bind them off when the other stitches were bound off.

To reinforce, you need a small crochet hook and some yarn (I used the dark green color I’m going to be using on the buttonband.)  Place a slip knot on the crochet hook, and insert your hook directly above the cast on edge of the steek – two stitches in from the center of the steek.

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Steek ready to be reinforced. (it’s upside down -the cast on edge is shown at top.)
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Crochet hook inserted below cast on edge.
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Slip stitch *over* the cast on edge to secure it.

I’m working on the left side of the steek here, so the hook goes in from the left to the center- under the right leg of the second stitch from the center, and the left leg of the stitch directly in from the center (I have 3 stitches on each side of the center in this steek.)

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Crochet hook inserted into the two legs of the stitches to be secured.

Yarnover the hook, and pull through all three loops on the hook to make a slip stitch.

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Yarnover the hook…
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Pull through all three loops.

Repeat in this manner up the steek – getting every single row secured.

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Next row…
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And so on…

When you get to the top, the steek stitches are on a holder. Take the left three steek stitches and place them all on the hook.

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Three steek stitches on yarn holder.
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Hook placed through the three live stitches.
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Yarnover the hook and pull through all 4 loops on the hook…

Then yarnover once more and pull all the way through. Cut your yarn.

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Final steek reinforcement on one side.

You need to repeat this process on the other side – but you need to work in towards the center from the right. So you’ll start with the live stitches at the top.

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Three live stitches at right top of steek.
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Place slip knot on hook, and put hook through the three stitches.
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Yarnover the hook and pull through all 4 loops on hook.

You will then be securing the left leg of the second stitch from the center and the right leg of the stitch to the right of center.

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Insert hook in two legs to be secured…

Yarnover the hook and pull through all 3 loops on hook. Continue down the steek.

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Hook inserted in next row.

Continue all the way down, ending by slip stitching over the cast on edge to secure it. Yarnover once more and pull all the way through. Cut your yarn.

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Top of steek when finished.

You are now ready to cut!!

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Cutting line – you must be sure to NOT cut your crochet reinforcement.

Stay tuned for my steeking video – I should be posting it soon!

I’m blocking my sweater today, so hopefully I’ll be able to start the finishing in a day or two! I’m nearing the finish line….