Monday, September 29, 2008

In which I cut my knitting

The idea of steeking has always scared me. To cut your knitting on purpose seems very counterproductive, don't you think? So this summer, when I was looking for a new challenge or skill to learn, I naturally turned to the freakiest thing I could think of and that is steeking.

For those of you unfamiliar with the theory of steeking, you basically take a shortcut to knitting a sweater by knitting it in the round. This allows for easier colourwork and faster knitting since you probably won't have to purl. Once your piece is complete, you simply stitch around the area that you would like to open up, grab some sharp scissors and your nerve and hack away.

I had recently completed the patterned yoke of my Bountiful Bohus sweater and was ready to proceed. In a rare display of knitting awareness, the Dude told me that it looked good. Without prompting. To which I replied "Now I'm going to cut it." He was appropriately appalled.

I enlisted the help of my sister in law, LittleMissBossy to you Ravelers, because I needed support and am still use alcohol as a mood stabilizer. LMB is the sewer in the family, so I "let" her do the stitching while I drank coffee and chatted with my brother and my nephew. I had marked where the stitching should occur with some yarn in a contrasting colour. That made things a little easier.

We ran lines of stitches along the centre stitches which would eventually be cut. The tutorial on Knitty suggested two lines of stitches on either side of the area to be opened up. We did three cause I'm anal like that. LMB seemed to think that was enough.

(That's her Don't-Mess-With-Me face.)

We also did a line of stitches along the row of stitches which would be folded back and from which I would pick up the button band. More on this later.

When we had sewn more than the required number of rows and I had collected myself sufficiently, I started to cut. The whole time, I kept saying to myself "I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe I'm doing this."

My nephew was shocked.

So was my brother.

I cut quickly. There's really no point in prolonging these things. And do you know what? Nothing bad happened. Some of the stitches unravelled slightly, but it is all in one piece, ready to be finished.

Next time, I'll show you how I finished the button bands and stitched down the facings. I may even block it, just for you.

This is all assuming there is no baby between now and then. I wouldn't bet the farm.


T. said...

I had a drink (or 2) for you.

Amanda said...

My heart hasn't stopped racing yet!

Emily said...

Brave you!

Jill said...

I love the look on yours and everyone's faces. Kim W let me cut a bit of a steek once. It was terrifying.

catknip said...

Insert theme from Jaws here ...