Eek, a Steek!

Here I am, bravely taking scissors to my knitting, cutting my first real steek. But even this is not really a “real” steek, since there was no colorwork involved and the point was actually to unravel the stitches on either side of the cut to make fringe rather than to prevent the stitches from unraveling in order to make, for example, a pullover into a cardigan. Kate Davies has actually just published a fantastic series of blog posts on steeks that should help demystify them and give you some practical tips if you are considering taking the plunge. One thing Kate emphasizes over and over again is that stitches really don’t want to unravel horizontally, and I definitely experienced that here, even with my slippery superwash yarn. I sort of expected that the knitting would just fall apart into fringe, but I had to very actively rip out the stitches row by row after cutting the steek.

And the scarf came out great! This is Alex Tinsley’s Bad Oyster scarf — the whole thing is knit in the round in a cone-shape, and then the steek is cut to open it up and make the fringe. It came out much better than I thought it would — which is to say, it fits my original vision, but while I was actually knitting this I had serious doubts about it. All I could see was the color pooling, which turns out to not be very noticeable from the distance that most people will ever be from my chest, and the awkward conical shape, which was hard to visualize as a functional scarf. It definitely has serious stockinette-rolling issues, but that seems to be an intentional part of the design.

This used nearly all of a skein of Malabrigo Sock in the Persia colorway. I blocked it just by soaking it & lying it flat — the only place I used a pin was on the very tip, to try to discourage it from rolling up. The blocking did unkink the fringe, as promised.

Next time on Doublepointed: newly-spun yarn! Asymmetrical stripes! Possible sweater tragedy! Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “Eek, a Steek!

  1. Gorgeous scarf! I love the look of a fringy scarf turned fancy bandana.
    Steeks give me the shivers. I think they’re probably one of those things that look super scary to those who haven’t tried them yet (like myself) but aren’t so bad when you actually do one. The fact that you had to make the knitting come loose at the edges is heartening.

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