Winter of Colorwork KAL Part 6: Steeking
Welcome back knitters! For those of you who have been knitting Pascal cardigans along with us, you should now be done knitting the body of your cardigan. If you are still working on your sweater, don't fret! We'll be here for you when you're ready. Before we secure and cut the steek, we’ll be grafting together our underarm stitches using a tapestry needle and the Kitchener Stitch.
The Kitchener Stitch is used to sew live stitches together in a way that mimics a row of knitting. Pieces to be joined are live on needles, with right sides facing out and both needle tips pointing to the right. Use a length of yarn approximately four times the length of the finished seam, attached to the right edge of the fabric on the Back Needle (use the yarn the piece was knitted with, or attach a new length of yarn), and follow the directions in your pattern to work the steps.
TipIf you’re grafting stitches with Quarry or another lightly-spun yarn, twist your working yarn a few times in the direction in which it’s plied (counterclockwise, in the case of Quarry) to add a bit of extra tensile strength to the yarn before you thread your tapestry needle and start seaming.

Once the underarms are grafted, our sweaters are now ready to become cardigans! If this is your first time steeking, we recommend reading through the Special Techniques section of your pattern and our Foundations: Steeking post before proceeding, both of which explain in detail how to complete the following steps.

First, locate your 5 steek stitches and mark the center stitch by sewing a row of basting stitches through the center column of the stitch. The basting stitches will act as a guide to make sure you stay on course as you secure your stitches in the next step.

Before you begin cutting, you must secure your stitches; this is what prevents your knitting from unraveling.

To secure your steek with a crochet hook: Start on the left lower side of your steek and crochet from bottom to top, working through the left side of the first stitch to the left of center and the right leg of the next stitch to the left, followed by a slip stitch.  Repeat all the way up and fasten off your yarn.

Rejoin your yarn on the right upper side of the steek and work from top to bottom, working through the right leg of the first stitch to the right of center and the left leg of the next stitch to the right, followed by a slip stitch. Repeat all the way down and fasten off your yarn.

Tip: Crochet with a non-superwash wool yarn (Shelter leftovers work great!) so that it sticks securely to your steek stitches!

To secure your steek by hand sewing or with a machine: Sew two lines of closely spaced stitches to each side of the center stitch from neckline to hem (or hem to neckline).

If using a sewing machine, be careful that you don’t catch your colorwork floats in the feed dogs or on the presser foot. Work slowly and place a sheet of tissue or tracing paper under your fabric to stitch through — you can tear it away once you’ve finished sewing.

Once your steek is secure, simply cut through the center column of stitches from hem to neckline to create the front opening of your cardigan. 

 

 

Congratulations! Now that you've cut your steek, the hardest part is over! Next week we'll finish up our cardigans by picking up and knitting the band stitches, and tack down the steek stitches. We hope you'll share your progress this week in the comments below or in the KAL forum on Ravelry!

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