Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Crochet Steeks

OK, the sleeves went well...OK, I had to reknit them a few times because they were too tight at first, and then I couldn't get the length right. But apart from that, they went OK. The bottom band is on, too. So...

I'm ready to open up the front of my son's sweater to make it into a cardigan. I've knit it all in the round so far, with an extra 7 sts at the center front for a "steek".

I've run a line of green slippery embroidery thread down the center stitch.

There are two options: machine steeking, in which you machine-stitch on either side of the center line and then cut the knitting; or crochet steeking, in which you use crochet stitches to secure the knitting. I did machine steeking on the side panels, so now it's time to try the crochet version! There's plenty of info on the interwebs, so off I go...
1. use a slightly finer weight of yarn (I'm using green fingering here)
2. run a line of single crochet up either side of the center line. You need to catch both sides of the little "V"s of each stitch. This is easiest to do if you fold the work in half and then push the crochet hook through, one crochet stitch straddling one knit stitch.

[single crochet on one side of the center line (marked in green running sts)]

[fold the work in half and it is easier to crochet]

3. once you're done with one side, work up the other:

[ on both sides of the center line...]

4. the last, scary, step: spread the knitting and cut the rungs of the ladder that appears, using small sharp scissors. Don't cut the crochet stitches!

[spread and cut...]

The crochet sts secure the knitting and make a very lovely finish. Much nicer than a machine steek!! I'm glad I did this for the front.

The zipper's the next step; there's again plenty of info on the 'net about these.
My tip: don't machine stitch too close to the zipper teeth. The wool has a way of catching in the zipper if you get too close. Stay a good 5mm away from the teeth. I made this mistake - because I'm used to sewing zippers into cloth, where you can get much closer - and had to rip it out. EZ in fact recommends hand-sewing zippers in, which is probably all you really need as the strength is in the zipper, not the stitching.

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