Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Skeets and Another Color by Kristin Preview

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....


Jocelyn said...

Hilarious confusion about skeet and steeks! I'm a steek-phobe myself, so I was actually relieved to see them in your new book. I definitely want to conquer it. I would love to see a multi-part video on your blog that talks about steeking start to finish (not that you need any more work!). That would be super-helpful (to hopefully more people than me).

ElvaUndine said...

o.O That wrap is GORGEOUS. After seeing a video on steeking, I understand how it's done, but for some reason steeking with a multicolored garment scares me.

Diane H K in Greenfield said...

Terrified of steeks, that's me!

Maybe someday I'll learn how to do them and then overcome the fear.

SnohoTina said...

I've steeked a few things with mixed results. I think the hardest thing is what to do with the "rough" edge afterwards. However, I'll use it on heavy color work and when fixing a sweater that is too large and becomes an instant "fab" cardigan. Thanks for the book to remind us of the wonderful world of Color in Knitting and your easy tricks to get there!

Kathleen C. said...

I'd say nervous is a better term to describe me than scared. I sew for a living so I am confident in my sewing holding the yarn... but it is unnerving to have to chop a chunk of your hard earned knitting in two.
I can also say though, that I am now a steeker! I had to cut my first steeks ever for a sweater I just made my husband. The fact that I wouldn't have had to do full side and arm steeks if I hadn't royally screwed up the gauge is beside the point. I can steek!

cate said...

My problem is the sewing. As a girl who shamefully did not do well in home ec sewing classes and ended up with wobbly seams and tangled thread in the sewing machine, I avoid sewing - best for all concerned, including the poor machine. I'm a little better at handsewing, but somehow it seems like the steeked seam wouldn't hold as well as it would if it were machine sewn.

torirot said...

I love steeks!
And I love the designs you have showed on your blog, so I'm looking forward to get my hands on the book!

Happy steeking!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristin,
I love your book but I am definitely not a steek-er! I am actually signed up for a class at Stitches West to learn how to steek. You are a real inspiration to try new techniques. Lu

A Cautionary Tale - My Trusty 1974 Bernina Record 830 Sewing Machine Almost Burned Our House Down

I think I have written about my good old dependable Bernina sewing machine that I purchased in the 70's. I earned the money for it sewi...