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So I thought we could encourage each other in the steeking process and discuss alternative methods. (Disclaimer: This is my first steek!) Since I don't have a sewing maching, am not fond of hand sewing, and have crochet experience, I chose the crochet method of reinforcing my steek. I think the contrasting yarn I used is a heavier weight than the two or three lace threads together so my reinforced lines wobble a little, but I think it'll be okay once I add the front bands.
So here are some before and after shots of the steek!

Before steek:

Close up of reinforcements:

Sweater on me after cutting steek:

Apologies for the poor pictures. It's dark and I'm in my pjs. But you get the idea.
Happy Cutting!

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Replies to This Discussion

Knittina, I plan on doing the crocheted steek, also, so I find your comments very interesting. However, I can't get to the link that you provided. Let us know how yours goes..... I am on the shoulders now, and hope to be steeking soon.

If you copy and paste the text of the link into your web browser (instead of clicking on it), you can get to the pdf. It's very nice and has good photos.
I don't know why the link doesn't work but I'll try again

I actually found the information from Zimmermainia which someone else suggested to be more helpful.

I did my steek last night and it was sort of anticlimactic after stressing over it. The crocheting goes pretty fast and once I knew the stitches were secure I didn't worry about cutting my knitting. I am hoping I can fold over the hem part of the band and encase the crocheted edge. Good luck, I'm sure you'll be fine.
I think they may have taken down the tutorials. It just goes to the home page. The Zimmermania link worked great, though. The method shown was exactly what I remember seeing in one of my magazines. That's the one I plan to do when I get there. (It will be a while, though. It's still hard to knit with the splint on, and I'm afraid I'll mess up my gauge. I'll have to work on something else with bigger yarn. [Sigh!]) --Peggy
I'm hoping this will work. I've uploaded the pdf. The file might be too large.
That's great! I even got to save it so I can print it off to refer to in a little while. I'm going to get to that point today! Yippeee! I'll show you all when I get there.

Thanks, Knittina!
Hi Ladies,
I just steeked my swatch and found that this yarn does not ravel at all - even when manipulated a bit. I was wondering, since this is the case, is it really necessary to do a reinforcement stitch? Won't the picked up stitches for the band prevent any raveling on the finished sweater? Please provide your thoughts on this.

Thanks - Traci
This really depends on how "sticky" the yarn is. Steeks were traditionally used in Fair Isle sweaters that used Shetland wool, which has a pretty long fiber staple, is hairy, and all of those hairs want to stick to each other like velcro. For yarns like that, you can steek them open and they don't need very much reinforcement. But for smoother yarns, such as silks, cottons, superwash wools, or even Merino wools, the fibers don't stick together as much, so some sort of reinforcement stitch is necessary. Alpaca yarns are somewhere in between Shetland wool and a Merino yarn in terms of stickiness. If you steeked your swatch, and those fibers are staying put without a reinforcement stitch, go for it and add a button band. But I'd be a little too scared unless I was using a Shetland wool.
I originally used the crocheted steek. After cutting the steek and adding the button band I thought I'd like to enclose the crocheted edge inside the band to hide it or else it would probably need to be tacked down outside the band and I thought that would look messy. (Alison, I'd love to see a picture of the inside of your sweater to see how you handled this.) Unfortunately the crocheted edge was too bulky. I decided to use my sewing machine and run a zigzag close to the crocheted edge and then cut off the crochet. Since the crochet was there stabilizing everything, it kept stretching to a minimum. I then cut off the crocheted edge and folded the raw edge to the inside of the band before whip stitching it closed. I don't regret using the crocheted steek because I felt very confident when I cut the steek that nothing would unravel.
I'm adding some pictures to help illustrate.
Now, why didn't you post that BEFORE I finished mine? I enclosed the crocheted steek. It is bulky, but I hope that it will flatten a bit once it is blocked.
Sorry about that. Wish there had been some discussion about it before we'd both gotten to that point.
I guess I should have piped in with my experience. I found that if I cut off the extra stitches either directly next to the crocheted reinforcement or one stitch away, it decreased (if not eliminated) the extra bulk. The crocheted line creates fold in the fabric which is where the extra bulk comes from. I expected there to be a bit more thickness in the front bands simply because you have three layers of fabric there no matter how you reinforce the steek, but I didn't find the crochet technique to create too much bulk once I trimmed my cut edges. In my second sweater, I'll probably only make my steek 1 or 2 stitches wide to avoid having to cut more than once.


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