The other day when I was at Stitches in Hartford, I was checking my e-mail. In the subject line there was one word - skeet. I opened the e-mail very curious to see why someone named Stacy was asking me about skeet shooting. In fact, I had to look up the definition for you because I didn't know exactly what it is: A form of trapshooting using clay targets to simulate birds in flight.
If you were like me, you are probably wondering why the heck someone was asking Kristin about trapshooting. Well, Stacy wasn't. After reading through the e-mail, I realized that Stacy really wanted to know about a knitting technique called "steeks." I rolled over laughing my head off. But actually, I totally understood her confusion. When I first started knitting, I didn't know what a steek was either. I answered her back and sent her the link to my Steek Tutorial I did back in January of 2008.
What is a steek? Here's the definition from Merriam Webster
Middle English steken to pierce, fix, enclose; akin to Old English stician to pierce
But what a steek is to knitters is found here.
The word and term Steek has been in my vocabulary for years and years. I think I first learned about it from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears. The more I learned about traditional knitting, the more I saw steeks used in different knitting traditions throughout the world including Scandinavian and British styles of knitting.
I learned to sew before I learned to knit so the "fear of the dreaded steek" was never something I had. I have always been comfortable sewing and cutting my handknitting. In fact over the years I have corrected many a sweater problem by cutting and sewing things back together.
When I started talking to Trisha at Sixth And Spring about Color By Kristin, I told her I envisioned working most of the projects in the round and that I would use steeks for the sweaters. She told me to not do too many because she feared it would scare off some book buying knitters. I guess I didn't listen too well because both of the projects shown above use the steek technique.
Quite simply steeking was the best choice for the knitting and construction of each of these project. I have confidence that knitters will dare to steek both the "Over the Top Shawl" and the "Southwest-Style Wrap with Sleeves." Steeks are actually used for the fringe section in each project and no sewing machine is needed.
I also used steeks for the Norwegian Dreams Pullover shown below. The steeks are worked at the sleeve openings and the neckline opening. Quite simply it is the easiest way to make a multi-color Fair Isle Pullover like this. You will need a sewing machine for this design though.
So, are you afraid of steeks? I'd love to hear your comments....