Steek, Well Done.


[steek, steyk] 
verb (used with object) Scot.
to shut, close, fasten or lock (a window, door, or the like).
1150–1200; Middle English  (north) steken  (v.), Old English stician  to prick, stab

There's nothing better than learning new words from a dictionary. However, the dictionary, often, provides only the narrowest of definitions for a word. And, interestingly, in the case of the word "steek", the dictionary definition is pretty much the opposite of how the word (as a verb) is commonly used today.
In knitting, steeking is a shortcut used to knit garments such as sweaters in the round without interruption for openings or sleeves until the end. After completing a tube, a straight line is cut along the center of a column of stitches, in order to make room for an opening or place to attach another piece. The steek itself is a bridge of extra stitches, in which the cut is made, and is usually 6-10 stitches wide. This technique was developed by the knitters of the Shetland archipelago and is particularly associated with Fair Isle sweaters, although it can be used for solid colors as well.
Steeks can be used for front openings (such as on a cardigan), armholes, or necklines. It has several advantages: For many knitters faster at the knit stitch than the purl stitch, it goes faster, and allows one to work with the right side of the fabric facing the knitter all the time, and thus follow an intricate pattern more easily. It is also easier to maintain an even tension and, as the color changes can be hidden, there are fewer ends to weave in.
This is one of the the most paralizing things I've ever considered as a knitter. To knit something and then CUT IT (!) - Yikes.  In my mind, the word "steek" is right up there with the word "spider" (the scariest word in the English language).

So, what the heck was I thinking when I bought this?

The Viticetum Coat by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence

Which specifically says, "You will need US 3 (3.25mm) 32-60" circular needles, or size to obtain gauge, 32-60" circular needles one size smaller than those to obtain gauge, yarn needle, stitch markers, scrap yarn, crochet hook for provisional cast on, sewing needle and thread for steek, and 5-7 2" clasps."

I'll tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking, "That is a gorgeous sweater. And it's in my "signature color" (which is moss/sage green, btw. Cassandra's signature color is mustard yellow). And I haven't made anything for myself in a LOOOOOOOONG time. And the kit is 50% off!

That 50% off the kit pretty much clinched it for me.

So, I patiently wait the delivery of my kit from KnitPicks and steel myself for the steeking to come. Unfortunately, the kit is sold out now but the pattern is still available and there are 16 projects on Ravelry. Reading through people's challenges with the project (the pattern is complicated, primarily) make it even more scary but I'm determined to have this sweater for next winter. Fingers crossed everyone!

- Alex the Intrepid.

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