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Friday, October 02, 2015

Cutting your knitting?

Traditionally steeking is used in fair isle/stranded colour work sweaters like Norwegian ski sweaters. You knit the garment in the round and then cut holes for the sleeves. You can also knit a sweater and cut all the way down the front to turn it into a cardigan.

Why do you need to knit fair isle in the round? Because it's much easier. I find knitting fair isle on purl rows really fiddly and I prefer to work in the round when I knit fair isle garments.

When I design garments worked in the round, whether they're fair isle or not, I have to make decisions about how to handle armholes/sleeves and the yoke. My options are basically working a circular yoke, a raglan yoke, splitting the sweater at the underarm and knitting front and back flat separately or knitting the sweater as a tube to the shoulders and then cutting the holes for the sleeves.

Although cutting holes for sleeves and cutting down the front of a sweater to turn it into a cardigan are mainly used for fair isle sweaters, there's no reason you can't use it for other types of stitch patterns too.

For example, if you knitted a stocking stitch sweater but you decide you prefer cardigans, cut down the front of the sweater, add button bands and you've got a cardigan.

It can also be used to make corrections to a garment, like cutting off excess fabric. Here's how I used it to correct a cardigan for a friend.

I cut off the 'waterfall' fronts on my friend's cardigan and added button bands.

My Mum knitted this beautiful sweater for Simon for Christmas last year. Both Simon and I have lost a lot of weight this year and the sweater is getting too big for him. Once he's finished loosing weight I'm planning to perform a little bit of surgery on this sweater. I'll use the steeking method to cut out a section of the body to make the sweater smaller. Ofcourse I'll share this on the blog when I do it. It won't be for a while yet as there's no point doing it until Simon has finished losing weight.

Intrigued by steeking? Fancy learning more? I'm teaching Steeking in Liskeard on Wednesday 7 October. Get the details and book here.

I'm also teaching a full day combined fair isle and steeking at the Artesano Academy in Berkshire in February 2016. Get more details and book here. I'm teaching a series of classes at the Artesano Academy next year.

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