Gauge; Body; Setting Up For Steeks

Gauge; Body; Setting Up For Steeks

Setting up now for future steeking success! Plus, bits and tips for your body.

Progress is happening around here, I've got two full sleeves knit and the body is started! Let's look closer today at starting the body.


It is a great time to check gauge!  I started my sleeves with the intention of knitting a medium; now is the time to make sure gauge is on target. Here's my sleeve, laid flat.  The pins are marking 4" in width, which makes it super easy to count.  The short ruler is measuring 2" vertical for row gauge.  My gauge is 18sts x 24r =4" on a US7 which is actually spot on! So I will keep to my size medium.  This is one of those times of using the same yarn that the pattern is written for, and it is magic when the gauge is on target.


Heads up, the body is knit in the round, mostly, but the ribbing isn't!  That's right-- don't forget to read the whole section before you begin-- the bottom band of this sweater is 2x2 ribbing and it is knit flat. 



Ok, now we are going to address that ultimate step, the steek.  You thought we could ignore it for a few more weeks, but the groundwork starts now!


Right after the ribbing is finished, the extra stitches for steeking are added-- just two little backwards loops are cast on, then the knitting is joined in the round.  Just those two.  And they will be purled all the way up, which will be a good visual for where the cutting happens.  Here's my body with ribbing knit flat, then joined, switched to bigger needles and started the colorwork chart.  The purls are my future steek area, the one marker is the beginning of the chart repeat. 

What color will your steek stitches be? Well, they will be turned under so it shouldn't matter.  I will be making mine whatever color is handy to make the float shorter--  after further review and progress, it looks like my steek will be all Light Ash through the colorwork, as the bordering stitch is Rough Sea.  You can see on the reverse side, the dark colored floats only go across the steek so they aren't very long.  Bonus, changing yarn colors in the middle of the steek is genius, since we won't have to sew in those ends!


Another heads up about establishing the colorwork pattern on the body -- the pattern clearly says, knit a stitch, then start the chart using the repeat of sts 2-9. Which I didn't read, and subsequently ripped out the same row repeatedly when it didn't come out right at the other end.

So, since the chart has a column clearly labeled with stitch 1, you need to skip that on the first repeat!  (WHY is it there??? Um, just so you can see the whole repeat in a way that is logical to the eyes.  WHAT should you do?  Please draw a dark vertical line on your chart, to show where the actual repeat is. STILL DON'T GET IT?  This has to do with centering the motif on the sweater so that on the left front and right front, the design is symmetrical.)

Once you've got that first row looking the same on the right and left cardigan fronts, you are golden. 


So, about that steeking.  You might as well have something to ponder while the rest of the knitting is happening.  There are others who have written volumes on the subject, and I'm going to refer you to some of those places for a little light reading. 


1.  Sewing machine stabilization of steek-   The sewing machine is great for impatience and anything that is not nice sticky wool.  It may not be the best for Lopi which is so hairy it may grab the presser foot.


2.  Crochet or hand stitching-   I like this slip stitch crochet method, I've got it tentatively marked for my project.  Crochet and hand stitching allow for use of similar wool in the project, skipping the addition of machine thread to your project.


3.  Skip the reinforcing, let's cut the knitting and hope for the best!-     Some say, who needs a steek when the yarn is hairy and sticky anyway? (uh, it was NOT me)


4.  Needle felted steek-    Needle felting a steek -- the tutorial I linked does mention a 3-7 stitch steek and we only have 2.  (This is the appropriate time to add more steek stitches to accomplish exactly what you want!  Or go with 2, and be careful needle felting.)  This one looks good to me too!


So, now that you've been introduced to the idea and a few methods of steeking, just sit with them a while.  It will be a couple weeks before we have to make any more decisions.  Got any additional suggestions?  Share!



Now, some KAL shares!


From Marguerite:

Since the seam/EOR fell in the middle of the pattern for me, marking that line and those  on either side for the increases, let me add stitches at the appropriate places and kept somewhat in pattern. The visible impact would have been better adjusting for the jogs, but still good.


Ok all, did you see what Marguerite did there?  In genius fashion, she inserted her increases in the middle of the chart.  Look at her chart again at the dark lines.  That's just great.


From Rosan,

To keep the colorwork chart intact, I moved the initial sleeve increases to a plain row and increased in a multiple of 8 so that there would be a full repeat in each motif.

Well folks, that brings us to 6 different ways to accomplish the same sleeves.  Knitters are a resourceful bunch!


Now, how about you?  Please chat below-- and send me your pics with comments directly (yah, there is no apparent mechanism for you to post your pics directly but we will not be stymied by that technological gap), I'll put em in next week's installation!


Email photos to me at shelley at


See you next week!




  1. Candace Porter Candace Porter


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  2. Rosan Monaghan Rosan Monaghan

    For stabilizing my "grabby" yarn i use tissue paper under the steek and sew it- easy to remove and lets the fabric move smoothly.

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