Thursday, March 21, 2013
Back to Teaching
I have an hour and a half, so my plan is to talk for about 5 minutes then launch right into demonstrating & teaching the different ways to steek. I'll include a little background about why you might choose to steek over knitting something flat, which fibers are good & bad for steeking, and the different choices you have for reinforcing the fabric before you cut. After that, we'll have plenty of time to practice the different reinforcement stitches.
I'm not a crocheter. My great-grandma did try to teach me to crochet once upon a time- I made a few chains of slip stitch, and that's about it. One of these days, I am going to sit down and learn a little more about the craft, but it's just not at the top of the list right now. Nevertheless, it was very easy to master both the slip stitch and the single crochet and learn to use these two stitches reinforce a steek.
In the photo at right, you can see that three of my swatches are already steeked. The one on the far left was reinforced with a chain of single-crochet stitches. The one in the middle was done using a slip-stitch chain. Neither way is necessarily "better" than the other, but they each have their own purpose. If I want to fold my cut edge back and sew something over it, I am going to want the least amount of bulk possible along my cut line. So for this situation, I'd choose to use the slip stitch. On the other hand, if my steeked edge is going to be exposed, and I want the nicest-looking edge possible, I'd go for the single crochet chain because the extra yarn covers up a bit more of the cut edge and gives a more "finished" look.
The brown swatch on the far left was cut with no reinforcement because it's 100% wool. Doing it this way can be a little messier at first, but over time with wash, wear & handling, the little messy pieces on the edges will felt and "lock" into place. I probably wouldn't choose to steek an actual project without any reinforcement chain, just because I like how the crochet neatens up the edge, but I cut this swatch without any reinforcement just to show the people in the class that it can be done (with 100% wool) and that the stitches really don't want to unravel along a vertical edge.
So, I'm all set. Armed with swatches, hand outs, crochet hooks and scissors, I'm ready to pass my love of steeking on to a few new knitters. I wish you could join us!