Odds & Ends


I was working on this project a couple weeks ago and, being a garment worked with steeks, it looked odd enough for my sister in law to remark upon it. I explained that I intended to cut it open and… let’s just say that I wish another knitter had been around to hear the gasps of horror!

Anyhow. Last week, the time came to reinforce the steeks. This particular project was knit out of a very yummy blend just slippery enough to require the aid of a sewing machine. I know that a lot of knitters are afraid of both cutting their knits and machine sewing them, but there really is nothing to be afraid of. First, if you’re at all fearful of both cutting and sewing knitwear, do purchase second-hand knitwear to practice on. You’ll gain much confidence and will only have wasted a few dollars.

I’m also a big believer in using a paper backing when sewing a steek n the machine. I use anything handy for this, but my preference is for tissue paper. Or, it was – I was hunting for some last week when I happened upon a roll of crepe ribbon and I think it may be my new favorite:

Set your machine to a 2 mm stitch length and that’s it!

I have to run again – while I did manage to kick some knitwear up to the UPS man, there are still more deadlines to meet. I am working through the backlog of email as well, little by little. And there’s also that slide show to finish before I head to Toronto next week; if any of you are at the DKC meet on the 16th, please come up and say ‘hi!’.

10 Comments

  1. Lee 6 years ago

    I always enjoy the gasps of horror, they are alway especially strong from other knitters who have never heard of steeks.

    I’m curious, why do you use the paper backing?

  2. Amy 6 years ago

    I’m curious as to what kind of machine you have. I’m in definite need of an upgrade.

  3. Veronik 6 years ago

    I use a paper backing on fabrics that may be in danger of being dragged below the needle plate – I started years ago when sewing chiffon. I also found it to be a good way to minimize traction against the feed dogs and ensure my seam isn’t stretched. A walking foot would do the same thing, but paper’s cheaper and my foot’s usually missing (I bet all this sounds like gibberish to those who don’t sew).

    The machine above is a Janome 4800. I like it a lot, but I’m also a fan of vintage machines – I have both my grandmaman Avery’s old Pfaff 230 and Marcel’s Nany’s Singer Featherweight. It depends what you want, really – I liken mine to different tools: they each have their own strengths.

  4. Mandy 6 years ago

    Wow! That little bit of red and white looks amazing! I’ll definitely try the crepe paper trick. I probably have some lying around somewhere!

  5. Grace 6 years ago

    I am totally going to try the crepe paper idea for steek sewing! I did my first steeks for my scandanavian sweater and I was sweating bullets because at times it seemed that the sewing machine wasn’t going to advance without some pulling from me (but it was ALL ok in the end and I now have a lovely cardigan). Whew! Anyway, thanks for the tip!

  6. marjorie 6 years ago

    Thanks for showing the details on steeking. I’m still one of those who gasp at the idea of cutting my knitting, but I’m determined to do a steeked sweater this year.

  7. connie 6 years ago

    I’m also one that just can’t wrap my head around steeking, but I suppose I’ll have to try it at some point. There are so many lovely fair isle sweaters that I’m aching to knit, but haven’t because of the steeking roadblock.

  8. catherine 6 years ago

    I completely agree about different machines and playing to their strengths! In a pinch I’ve sewn steeks with used dryer sheets, but I’m going to try crepe paper ribbon, too. Now, first, I have to have a party….

  9. Hannah 6 years ago

    I haven’t ever done any steeking – where is there a good tutorial for this? And what pattern are you using? Does it usually depend on the patter whether or not steeking is needed? Jared Flood’s just put together a sweatervest on his blog that involved steeking too, and now my curiosity is properly peaked (or ‘steeked’!)

  10. Jeannie Crockett 6 years ago

    I use tissue—and embroidery stabilzers, too—for cutting and sewing knits. (I do a lot more than just steeks!) But please be careful, some crepe paper colors run even from the moisture on your fingers. The crepe is lovely to sew on though.

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