In the home stretch on this Kiki Mariko sweater. You know all the sorts of done that come with knitting a sweater? Done winding yarn. Done with the body. Done with the sleeves. Done blocking. Done sewing it together. Done with buttons. Done weaving ends. Then that final final final moment when there is absolutely nothing left to do but to gaze into the maw of doneness. This can be either a joyous thing or a flat-out existential crisis in which one questions why one ever knitted in the first place, why there are so many things that sit undone while this sweater gets such a bargeful of tender attention.
AW we’re NOT going into all that, are we?
This is why God invented steeks. It gives you one long moment to feel like you absolutely have something very important to do. To recap:
A traditional Fair Isle sweater is worked in the round, bottom up, with steeks at the armholes. Once the body is finished, the steeks are cut (just typed “cute” and by golly they are cute, aren’t they?), and stitches for the sleeve are picked up all the way around. The steek flaps are left unfinished during all this. Just flapping away, unfettered, untended, dangling and tangling.
This is the only image I have of those sad, heartbroken steeks during their time in limbo.
Once the sleeves are done, it’s time to secure the steeks for their ultimate ride through eternity. Some stalwart Fair Islers do not even do this step–the steek will pretty much felt together over time, it is said. But I sew the steek because Alice Starmore told me to.
You trim the five-stitch steek down to three stitches. Which creates a batch of this totally useless yet hard-won stuff:
Then you rig up a yarn and needle and cross-stitch across the flappy ministeek.
Finishing these steeks is dangerously close to being done.
Fortunately, and this is a relief akin to finding that last roll of paper towels in the back of the cabinet, I thought of another thing that needs to be done with this sweater. Not done!