My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Of Steeking and Decreasing

A question in my comments yesterday — am I doing the neckline decreases according to the pattern instructions?

Nope. I’m not.

Because I’ve elected to do a neckline steek rather than knit back and forth, I’ve had to alter the neckline decreases a bit. The pattern directs you to cast off x number of stitches for the center of the neck on the first row, then to decrease x number of stitches (i.e., more than 1 stitch) on subsequent rows to shape the slope of the neck.

Well, you can’t quite do it this way with a steek. You can decrease one stitch at a time on either side of the neck steek on each row. So that’s what I do until I get the proper number of decreases. Yes, it does alter the shape of the neck slightly, but not enough to make a difference, in my opinion. I’ve done this on most of the Dales I’ve made without any problem.

And I find it sooooo much easier to simply do a steek rather than knit back and forth.

I’ve finished the body of St. Moritz. Here it is a couple of rows from completion.


And I’m starting the colorwork on the first sleeve.

And I’m still waiting for my home visit to be scheduled for the kitty adoption. sigh.


  1. Beautiful. Thanks, too for the info on steeking. One question just to be sure, do you keep those initial “cast-off” stitches live to be picked up later when completing the neck? I think I could see them on the photos from yesterday.(Yes, I have googled steeks and have been reading everything I can get my hands on. I have never done a neck steek before — only arms so I am unsure.)

  2. vanessa says:

    should we all email those kitty adoption people with glowing testimonials of your kitty motherhood ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Wendy,

    I am sorry the home visit is taking so long.

    You are making such quick progress on St. M!

    When you cast off the stitches for the neck, do you cast off a little more than the pattern calls for to compensated for decreasing at a slower rate after that first row?

  4. Karen, the pattern tells you to cast off the stitches for the neck, but I kept them live. Melissa, sometimes I do cast off more initially to compensate for the slower decrease, but I didn’t this time — the number of decreases didn’t warrant it, IMO.

    Vanessa, it’s a funny thought! They’d really wonder what was up if a whole bunch of people from around the world started bombarding them with emails about my kitty adoption! ๐Ÿ™‚ Probably best not to though, huh?

    They are a small volunteer organization and everyone has a day job, so I understand they don’t have a lot of resources. But still, the waiting and not knowing is very tough! ๐Ÿ™

  5. Hi, Wendy.

    Just a thought. Do you want that paticular kitty? If you just want to find a new furkid and are not attached to that individual kitty yet, you might want to try the local Humane Society. It’s kitten season right now so there are usually lots of kittens, if you want a kitten. If not, the adult cats often get over looked during kitten season so they need some help now, too. And you get to leave with your kitty! ๐Ÿ™‚ But this is all if you are not already attached to the kitty involved with the rescue agency, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck with the process! It’s wonderful that you are adopting.


  6. I don’t know if it’s so with all rescue/adoption agencies, but with the dog I fostered, it took me, the foster person, reminding them that I was about to be out of town, and the dog had to go *somewhere* for them to remember that they’d chosen very likely people, and he just had to meet them to see if they all liked each other.

    You might consider being a moderately squeeky wheel.

    The folks working with the rescue group I’m volunteering for are somewhat elderly and a little distracted or forgetful. It could have just slipped someone’s mind, or gotten moved to a back burner for him/her.

    –stonering, thinking good home visit and adoption thoughts for you and the cat!

  7. You never fail to amaze me!

  8. Thanks for your adoption suggestions, guys!

    I do want this particular kitty, and have pretty much got the adoption wrapped up — the director of the rescue organization indicated she’d be mine after the home visit. She also told me that they could have the volunteer bring the kitty out on the visit, so I wouldn’t have to pick her up. So I think the home visit is almost a formality — just to make sure everything is okay.

    I have been a slightly squeaky wheel — I emailed the director yesterday afternoon to ask when I mioght expect to hear from them — no response yet. But I do know they’re understaffed and working for love not money, so I’ll try to be patient.

    If for any reason this adoption falls through (and I’ve no reason to think it will) I would of course start looking for another kitty.

  9. Perhaps you need to call about “your” kitty. Sometimes people just loose the paperwork or the phone numbers and are waiting for you to call back. I’d call for fear someone else got the kitty ’cause they lost my number!!!
    Ruth in Houston

  10. Perhaps you need to call about “your” kitty. Sometimes people just loose the paperwork or the phone numbers and are waiting for you to call back. I’d call for fear someone else got the kitty ’cause they lost my number!!!
    Ruth in Houston

  11. The kitty is being fostered in the director’s home, and she knows I am adopting that kitty. I emailed her yesterday.

  12. Wendy,

    Thank you very much for the explanation on the neck steeks for Dales. I assume that I can steek in this manner for cardigans as well as for pullovers.



  13. Andrea says:

    Boy, you’re a fast knitter. Just amazing!

    I was wondering if there is any SIP now? I see there isn’t one listed on your WIP list, but then what are you doing on the train? (Or is that the secret project?)

  14. Meghan says:

    Well, this is a back-handed compliment, I guess, but when I saw the first few photos of St. Moritz, where it was just the two stripes and then all that oatmeal yarn, I thought “Wow, that is an *ugly* sweater. And Wendy usually has such good taste!” But now that I’ve seen the whole thing, I actually like it a lot! And this, obviously, is why I never knit patterns that don’t come with pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, good luck with your kitty adoption, although it’s not like you need it. I’m looking forward to “meeting” the newcomer.

  15. Thanks for the steek notes as well, Wendy. Sadly, for James alpaca gansey I have already split for sleeves, so will forget steeking. But yesterday, I received some lovely brown earthy yarn in the post for a vest. I think steeks are in order. :-))

  16. Wendy,

    I hope the cat is soo nice that the director hates to part with her!

    My Lucky cat lived in a cage in a pet store with a shelter rescue group for 7 months before I got him, with occasional weekend fostering trips home with one of the volunteers. She came in the day I picked him up (it wasn’t her day to work) to hold him and say goodbye. He is, if I say so myself, the most loving cat I know.

    Usually the home visit is just to verify that you’re what you claim to be, a responsible person with a stable home, and not some crazy loony (“buncher”) with 57 starving cats in a filthy house.

  17. Bimibifas says:

    Speaking of alpaca, on this week’s mindless TV special “Funniest Game Show Moments,” Gilbert Gottfried was on Hollywood Squares, and got the question “What should you do for a hairy back?” He responded “Usually, I shut my eyes and pretend she’s wearing an alpaca sweater!”