Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawlย is on through Sunday, September 25.

Quick Peek at Cutting a Steek

Dear Kay,
Short on time but never short on coverage of every little step in this Donegal project.
Our last episode ended with this situation:
Top view of the neck opening, except that it’s not really open because along the way, I somehow in the dim recesses of my memory recall putting steeks here so that the knitting in the round could continue unabated all the way to the shoulder line. If Alice Starmore says to do it, I just do it.
You gotta admire the Shetland devotion to knitting in the round: the efficiency of this is really kind of amazing. Once you start back and forthing on Fair Isle knit flat, you lose the mojo. It bogs down like crazy, especially when you’re swapping out a yarn color almost every single round.
But it looks so weird while you’re doing it.
You’re not long for this world, you measly little steeks. Snip snip and voila:
It’s exactly the right shape for a neck opening.
I still haven’t caught a photo of this thing that accurately captures the colors that I see in real life. It’s much murkier than these photos. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe perception and reality are the same thing? AAAACK!
Speaking of perception and reality, here’s the most interesting/strange little video I’ve seen in a while–some MIT guys have cooked up a way to enhance video so you can see movements that are invisible to the naked eye. A baby’s pulse. A quivering eyeball. What else are we missing?
Next: The finish line keeps moving back.
Time’s up!

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  1. Thank you for showing in detail how that works. I could not envision that from the first photo. That is some fancy engineering as well as a work of art–and you are inspirational in your blind faith in the pattern and steeking skills (and perseverance)! There is a reason steek rhymes with eek!

  2. The video was really interesting. I love seeing what comes out of places like MIT.

  3. The steek is slick but the video…blew me away!

  4. Steek! So exciting!

  5. I have never done a steek. Scissors + knitting = me fainting! But yours actually looks great! Do you make a facing out of the edges or what? I hope you continue to document the process, I for one am interested to see how the hole turns into a neckline.
    p.s. that MIT video program is crazy!

  6. Wow. I work at MIT, and I love that I learned something about research here from reading a knitting blog!

  7. Steeks . . . Alice Starmore . . . MIT . . . I feel faint and must go lie down.

  8. Wow. That video was fantastic. (Thanks for the steek stuff, too!) I forwarded the link to my kid who is an MIT alum. Always fascinates me what those folks come up with!

  9. Ooooh, brave!!
    Will have to check out the video.

  10. I’m with Angela in not understanding what happens now to the flaps (or what happens in general to the cut ends of yarn when you steek). Seems it would be either itchy or lumpy whatever you do with it. I love fair isle but always go back and forth since I can’t for the life of me figure out how you’re supposed to finish the steek edges. So I’m hanging in with bated breath for the next installment. On the nontechnical side, the sweater is heaven. Best color combination ever.

  11. Oh, the heart-stopping image of scissors cutting into unfelted knitting! You’re very brave. I’ve enjoyed all the episodes of “As the Sweater Grows.”
    And yes, love the video—and love more that they’re making the process freely available! Thanks for sharing it.

  12. would you still do the sreek
    if the yarn could cry and sob
    and tell you how much it hurts
    new dance craze doing the steek

  13. Colo video! I haven really been connected to MIT in a long time, except for reading (sometimes) my alum magazine, but my roomie still works there (she continued on there, right after graduation), and even is in the CSAIL dept, same as the video.
    There used to be a huge number of people writing open source code…but it is nice to see useful stuff still being released that way!

  14. I teach in my LYS, and I had two students that wanted to learn fair isle knitting. I taught them what I know—which is to handle both colors in my right hand and to steek. They were very disappointed that I didn’t teach them how to purl with two colors, and looked at me like I had two heads when I told them about steeking. They haven’t come back for another lesson—I don’t know why steeking intimidates people so. I am working on a Dale of Norway baby cardigan, and I will be steeking the front opening, armholes, and neckline. Once you’ve done it, there’s nothing to it.

  15. I have cut steeks myself and when I first saw the photo on today’s post I knew that’s what you were doing — and yet my reflexes still caused a sudden intake of breath when I saw scissors cutting knitting. ๐Ÿ™‚
    The video is wild. I had already seen it, because I’m happy to say that, while I don’t work at MIT, I do work on the software that helps to make research like this possible and that they used to write their code, MATLAB.

  16. The steeks turning into a perfect neckline: it’s a miracle. I’ve experienced it, too. When Alice Starmore says, “Do it”, just do it.

  17. Thanks for posting ladies! Absolutely astounding to see the number of sweaters being created! Very nice indeed. Grand Manan is a magical place and perhaps some of that magic will find its way into the yarn and the sweater. Sorry about the blizzard – looks life threatening.

  18. There is a reason “steek” rhymes with “eek!”
    Someday I’m going to knit a simple swatch and steek it, just to prove what all bold steekers already know to be true. But til that exciting day…eek!

  19. Steeks make me nervous, but these pictures definitely will help when I’m ready to tackle them. Thanks for sharing!


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