Monday, March 24, 2008

Steeking So Far

By Leigh

I've finally made enough progress on my Shetland Sampler Cardigan to post a photo.

First several inches.
I have to admit that I had one false start; there was a problem with gauge. It seems that my back-and-forth gauge is not the same as my in-the-round gauge. In an email conversation with Peg Arnoldussen, I have learned that my style of knitting is most likely the culprit. I knit continental style, holding the yarn in left hand. Evidently, this often results in a tension difference between knit and purl stitches. I've been aware of this for a long time, but never realized what the problem was!

The COWYAK is knitted in yellow (I changed colors when I made my second start), and the natural Shetland color sequence is somewhat random; trying to plan where to use my 15 Shetland yarn colors of varying amounts is more than my poor brain can handle. I felt that I was doing good just to calculate how much I need for the ribbing! What I am doing, is using the colors for which I have the most yards for the larger color sections. Hopefully by the time I get to the end I will have had enough of everything!

Steek from the backside.And the steek? So far I love it! Of course, I haven't had to do anything scary with it yet, but I like knitting it in.

It is placed where the opening of the cardigan will be. All yarns are added and cut off there. Since the steeks will be secured with machine sewing, I won't have any ends to weave in! For that reason, I am leaving my yarn ends fairly short. I'm not sure how practical this is, but to me it means less waste, and that is important with handspun. I find that I have to snug some of them up when I start a new round, but so far the whole thing seems to be holding together fairly well.

I'm a slow knitter so I don't suppose progress will be very rapid. However, I really enjoy stranded knitting, and this project actually isn't too rumply, which is encouraging. My goal is to finish it by next winter; Good Lord willing and the creeks don't rise.

Posted 24 March 2008 at

Related Posts:
A Shetland COWYAK - Casting on with waste yarn.
Shetland Sleeve Update - A look at checkerboard steeks in progress.
Wound Neck Steeks
Sewing & Cutting the Steeks
Shetland Sampler Cardigan Complete!


Wool Enough said...

I'm so glad you're doing steeks (so that I can learn from your experience).

The sweater looks lovely so far. The flow and interplay of the greys and creams and beiges and browns is delightful.

cyndy said...


Wonderful pattern for your samples!


Ohhh, looks so pretty, I love the colors.

Cathy said...

Oh.... that's wonderful!

Anonymous said...

It looks beautiful. I have always loved natural colored fair isles.

Charleen said...

Beautiful, Leigh! I love the natural colors with fair isle. I also purl at a much looser gauge than I knit, but I knit American style (throw). I usually go two sizes smaller when knitting in the round.

Janet said...

Leigh I am also working on a cardigan in natural colours - alas, not my own handspun. I am about to start the front and have been thinking of following your example with a steek rather than knitting the 2 front panels separately. How many stitches are you using for the steek? Could you post a picture of the steek as viewed from the front?

bspinner said...

Beautiful!!! The colors flow into each other naturally. I can't wait to see the finished sweater!!

dawn said...

I love your natural Shetland Fair Isle! Once you steek once you'll be amazed at how easy it makes things. I have had the same problem with my knit rows being larger than my purl rows when knitting back and forth. I've heard it called "rowing out." Also, my friend taught me a way to purl that is the exact opposite of knitting that is supposed to help. I'm not sure it does, but it is probably slightly easier on the wrist. I rarely knit back and forth anymore anyway!
Can't wait to see more of your progress!

Sheepish Annie said...

Wow! That is lovely. Steeking scares the dickens out of me, though so I think I will watch this process from a safe distance...

Cathy said...

It's just beautiful Leigh - I love it!

Sharon said...

Continental knitting a problem? It's the right way to knit!! How can that be a problem?! It just means you didn't sample your gauge in the round. You'll love steeks. BTW, EZ recommends a glass of wine for the beginner. I cannot imagine carrying yarn purl-wise, in fact, wouldn't do it. Northern European knitters have done this all along. We've practiced avoidance. It's only scary the first time because we've invested so much and steeks are an unknown. You could do a sample on a circle of commercial yarn?????

Tracy said...

Looking good. Really good. I've got the same continental knitting issues so I always have to swatch both ways.