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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Trying something new - Steeking

One of the things I love about knitting is also what I love about dance and writing - there's always something new to learn. Neither of my last two projects have been a challenge in terms of new techniques, so I decided to stretch myself. Steeking - ie, knitting in the round, sewing a hem, and cutting *gulp* up the center to make a cardigan. I've been fascinated by the history, culture and yarns of Iceland for years. A visit is definitely on my list of things to do before I die. So when I found the website of designer Helen Magnusson,, and she had a sale on her patterns and yarn, I decided to go for it. I ordered the kit for the Bryjna cardigan and green/magenta yarn. It was very cool to get a package from Iceland and the yarn was to die for (and surprisingly cheap!).

I found the pattern easy to follow until I got to the short row shaping along the yoke. I've done short rows many times before but for some reason the instructions really threw me. I actually had to email the designer with questions - a first. She was very helpful and nice, and responded right away with additional instructions and a tutorial. I think a simple re-write of the short row section would help immensely.

As written, it says;

Work the back and shoulders longer to lower front neckline: work 8(8,10,10)10,12,12 short rows over the shoulder and back sts between front markers as follows: k to left front marker, turn, yo, p to right front marker, turn, yo, *k to 3 sts (2 sts and 1 yo) before gap, turn, yo, p to 3 sts before gap, turn, yo* 3(3,4,4)4,5,5 times.

So I knit ten of the first rows, then started the rows between asterixes. That didn't work, needless to say. Ripped it out, really thought about it, and realized I needed to knit two rows, then six of the rows between the asterix, to make a total of ten rows. Voila! Problem solved.

So I think simply re-writing the instructions to say;

Work the back and shoulders longer to lower front neckline: k to left front marker, turn, yo, p to right front marker, turn yo *k to 3 std (2 sts and 1 yo) before gap, turn, yo, p to 3 std before gap, turn, yo* 3 (3, etc) times for a total of 8 (8, 8, 10, etc) short rows.

Would have been much clearer. Hopefully my re-write spares someone else the pain of ripping out ten rows.

Once I had the short rows done, it was time to work on the flowers in the magenta. The pattern is beautiful, in my opinion, but there were some really long floats where I struggled to keep the yarn tension even, particularly across the center section. I think adding another cross shape at the bottom of the flowers, like at the top, would have helped with that.

I'd wanted extra room in the cardigan, so I knitted a medium even though my bust size fit a small. But when I tried it on before steeking it was tight enough to be worrisome.

So I decided to try steeking, then blocking it. It turned out to be a disaster. The neckline ended up too stretched out, the cardigan is still too small, and two attempts to re-block and fix it have failed. At the moment, I'm very discouraged. I'll keep you guys posted if I manage to fix it. Until then, this trying something new was an abject failure.

- D

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