What has been bound together while knitted for the last three weeks,
has suddenly been unfurled!
A little slide-show of cutting the steeks…
Now open, flat, and ready to knit the bands on and make into a three-demensional thing!
If you are curious about the photos, this is what I am doing: 1. Shaggy yarn ends on the wrong-side of knitting are cut off (they are the color changes centered in the middle of the steek in front). 2. With the small brushes (one is plastic sewing machine lint brush, the other a brass eyelash comb) I am experimenting with felting the steek (only the stitches down the middle of the steek) with hot water and agitation before cutting. I have never heard of this but wanted to try it out, rather than my usual crochet reinforcement. 3. I cut front steek, then armholes, and the whole thing opens up flat.
Then, a quick three-needle bind off to join shoulders, and now I am ready to pick up the stitches for the bands, nicely folding in all those (slightly felted) raw edges, which will get an additional trim and whip stitched down into back of work.
You know when you cut an onion up, and use only part of it, then put the other part back into the fridge and forget about it? Well, apparently if you buy organic, and if you leave the rooting part in tact, who’s to say it won’t still propagate? One red onion seems to be sprouting into six separate shoots. Six! I have a mind to have a bag in the fridge just for the rooted section of onions I’ve used, to see if they regenerate new plants.
My thoughts about steeking are only that I am improving with each project. I am happy that I didn’t give up those first times when too many crocheted loops were making the edge ruffling out, or when I crocheted then tighter to compensate, and then distorting the edge as well. I’ve figured that similar to picking up stitches for the bands, that to crochet 3 rows and then skip a row, makes it seem to be just right, not too many, not too few.
Now, the big thing this time which I’m doing differently, is that I’m going to crochet the edges, finish it all off, then wash and block… all before cutting the steek. I can bet then that picking up stitches won’t be so difficult as I wouldn’t have varying length edges from mismatched tensions and washing/blocking with edges cut apart. Personally I think this discovery might be an improvement on the process of steeking.
I have decided that not only must I weave in all loose ends, but I must stitch down the steek crocheted edges down the front and armholes. I am learning that ‘couture detailing’ really does matter. In mere minutes I will block out a second and last time, and tomorrow I will sew on buttons.
These vests have taken a huge amount of time relative to their wearing span ( knit to fit rapidly growing kids, who will likely not be able to wear next spring ). I think pullovers will be the choice in future, as sweaters and vests which are buttoned up front really do take a considerably more amount of time as well as complexity. I am learning perspective about these things~ kid’s seasonal garments vs. adult’s seasonal garments ~ I must say, this is quite the ‘aha!’ moment.
I am learning about seasonal gauge, and how to look ahead at what I want the garment to be, not only what It Wants To Be, which has been for decades my personal motto in creating. For instance, these vests which are the Vernal Equinox project for my nieces, (missed that deadline by nearly 3 weeks, not really acceptable, but fortunately our cold spring is lingering) should have been knit in a much, much looser gauge than I knit them. As I didn’t fuss over a lot of swatching the unfamiliar yarn, I ended up knitting the vests rather too tightly, and so they are more as very winter weather-tight type of fabric, not loose and airy as a Spring garment would be desired. Lesson learned ~ seasonal gauge is very important !
Crocheting the edges, cutting open: I am beginning to evolve into opinions about when steeking is worth the extra work of all the crocheting, and more importantly, the hassle and lack of ‘couture’ from the bulk and sometimes flapping cut edge on the inside/backside.
Rule : Steek most definitely for patterned knits (both textured relief motifs and stranded color.. yes!), but, for solid backgrounds, especially of anything worsted weight and heavier…um.. I”ll leave it as a very reserved ‘maybe not’ . My preference only. For these vests, I think maybe would have been better to not steek, as the bulkier worsted weight yarn is quite cumbersome on the backside of the front and armhole openings. Of course, I could have used a different and finer yarn to crochet the steeks, but I didn’t have any around. Rule reconsidered : Use finer yarn to crochet steeks !
And who said it had to be the same yarn? Also, why not crochet before washing and blocking, then after all that, cut steeks ?
Rule : Use finer yarn for steeking. When purchasing heavier yarns as worsted or bulky weight, purchase also a lighter weight yarn in similar fiber, and matching color, for crocheting and stitching down the steeks. Oh, and for sewing on the buttons !
Nearing the finish of the two bodies of vests for nieces. Can you see the steeked front and sleeve holes? (For those of you who are wondering, steeks are extra stitches made into the round of stitches, to be cut open later, allowing the body to be knit uninterrupted in knit or patterned stitches). So far , this is my 3rd project involving steeks, and I am only now *just* getting the hang of it.
Note: After this project for the nieces, I think I will be quite unlikely to knit self-striping yarn for a while, it’s just so ‘been there-done that’ kind of experience. Vivid, cute, in their favorite colors, but I won’t be in a hurry to knit another self-striping yarn project.
Meanwhile, this just showed up, a box full of one-hundred-percent wool yarn for my next project !
I mean it, I am totally smitten over this vest ! In textured knitting, I think it very prudent to choose or design a very enjoyable pattern, and with a nice yarn, so that the days, weeks, perhaps months it may take to complete the project , are at least not spent in utter boredom. I personally do not get bored while knitting, but just sayin’. Here is my best ever vest project in progress, and enjoying every row !
By the time I finished the body, I was more than ecstatic to take scizzors to it, and open up the steeks, wash, and block. (Note to self ; next time wash and block before cutting steeks. )