My current work in progress:

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


Steek This

A couple of comments recently about steeks.

Krista asked:
This is the second time today I have read about “steeking” Pardon my ignorance but what is this??

If you want to knit a sweater completely in the round, you have to figure out some way to get armholes in your “tube” of knitting. This is where steeks come in. A steek is nothing more than extra stitches used where you are going to cut the garment — for armholes and/or down the front for a cardigan.

If you use the search function on my blog (it’s over there in the sidebar) and search for steek, you’ll find many many entries where I talk about steeks. Here — I did the search for you.

And Clarelight asked:
Re:Rose…are you doing steeks for the armholes, too? If you are, can we have a peek? If not steeks for the armholes, what?

I’m doing the armholes in the way most Dale of Norway sweaters are done — you knit a tube, then measure the depth of the armholes on each side, machine stitch them, and cut ’em open. If you’d like to see a play-by-play of this technique, check out this article I wrote for Knitty a while back.

The sleeves are knitted in the round from the cuff up, increasing as you go. You knit a self-facing at the top of the sleeve. You then sew them into the armhole and sew the self-facing over the cut edge of the steek on the inside.

This differs from fair isle steeks. For fair isles, you cast on extra stitches for the steek, and you just cut down the middle when you are ready to open them up — no machine stitching. You can get away with this because the shetland wool used for fair isles is nice and hairy and sticky and when you cut it, well, it ain’t going anywhere. You then can pick up stitches for for sleeve or whatever along the edge stitch (this is in a few stitches from your cut edge) and knit the sleeve down from the armhole.

Again, check out my archives. I’ve got many many photos of this process.

Anyhow . . .

As predicted, I finished the body of Rose this weekend, and started a sleeve.


I did a bit of spinning on my wool/mohair Tintagel roving.


Lucy relaxed.


Me? I got my hair done. I got highlighted, lowlighted, toned and colored, and then got a long-overdue fun new cut. I am simply fabulous, dahlings.



  1. Fun new hair indeed! Love what you’re spinning up.

  2. Long, short, or in-between, you have the best hair. It’s like Coiffure Pornography.

    This is my favorite yet, I think. Did you get any new Product so you can duplicate the look?

    Mine is still 1″ at the longest, as usual.

    You look divine.

  3. Love the new haircut!

    The Tintagel looks so lovely, nice & shiny. Love mohair! And Rose, well, she looks lovely as always. I’m so excited to see her finished!

  4. I’m completely in lust with that Tintagel. **reaches out to touch the screen** It looks like it’s spinning up wonderfully.

  5. Love the hair!

    Love the fair isle too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Rose is looking super! And so is the haircut!

  7. So, all these age-old steeking techniques seem to require machine stitching. What did people do before sewing machines were widely available? I mean, how many sewing machines were there on Fair Isle or in the Norselands in the 1800s? Could steeking as we know it be fairly new?Besides, they didn’t have what we call circular needles (really they’re straight) so how many doublepoints did they use? Sorry, it’s Sunday night and the wine bottle is empty and I don’t watch the Super Bowl.

    Am most extremely jealous of the hair!

  8. Love the hair!

    I have a question to throw at you too. Being semi-new to fair isle (ok I haven’t actually finished a project thus the semi part), I want to change colors in the fair isle patterns that I see. That way the colors will suit me. Is there a process that you have for picking the colors that you are going to use in a fair isle project? Or do you always go with the colors in the pattern?

  9. The cut suits you wonderfully, I love the new textured bobs that are coming back in!

    By the way, you and I seem to have similar tastes in roving… I keep saying “Maybe I should buy some orange.. or pink.. or brown..” but inevitably leave with teal, blue, purple, or some combination thereof. *sigh*

  10. Wow! Great hair! Make me want to go get mine done ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I love the hair! It’s FABULOUS!

  12. Ooo, the new look looks fab on you!

  13. You’re all lookin’ good–you, Lucy and Rose! The new haircut is perfect for you!

  14. Love the hair, and LOVE Rose, the sweater.
    I suppose I am being quite dense, but I don’t understand the back neck steeks. Why don’t you just knit up to the back neck, and front area, and do some shaping? If you understand my question? (I was going to ask it a couple of days ago when you mentioned it, but I didn’t want to sound so dumb. But now that other people are asking steek questions, and you are answering them,I hope my question not considered totally stupid)
    PS In your tour you have to come to NYC we have great stores, great people, and you will have a wonderful time here. We have the Point, one of our local stores says, Eat, Knit, and Be Happy!!

  15. I love your hair!

  16. love the haircut, it looks very chic and really suits you.

  17. Love the new do! You look mah-ve-lous dahling!

  18. Yes indeed you are ๐Ÿ™‚ The hair looks just mahvelous!

  19. I did notice your hair, before I read your comments. You do look fabulous!

  20. Yes, you ARE fabulous!

    At the Knitters’ Review retreat in November, we learned how to crochet steeks. I’m wondering why you don’t use that technique.

  21. Gorgeous hair, Wendy! And Rose, ahhh, very long sigh. It’s amazing how Lucy can be so calm with all the excitement.

  22. Stephanie says:

    LOVE the Tintagel colors! Looks like it will be beautiful to work with. Nice haircut too!

  23. Woo hoo…The haircut went well I see…Lovely!

    BTW, question for ya, (One I’ve been hoping to run into you and ask…but since you mentioned it.) Torino is different from many Dales in that the pattern has you knit circular then divide the front and back and do the colorwork. Why did they decide to do it this way? Also, if it is possible without causing major hassles, can it be done with steeks instead?

    Thanks, She That Knows All!

  24. New do looks great!

  25. Great cut — much more flattering and fun than the old one. Doesn’t it fall into your eyes, though?

  26. Whoever did you hair did a fantastic job. You must be very happy with it. I looks grea.

  27. I bookmarked that knitty article for future reference because you really do make it seem so simple but I don’t know that I’m quite ready to go cutting away at my knitting just yet. I’m not as courageous as you are, I guess….one day I’ll get there!

  28. Simply fabulous, indeed! Love the new do. Thanks for the info on the different methods of steeking. I’ve been reading Alice Starmore’s fair isle book, so I’m getting educated on this steeking business. Beautiful spinning too.

  29. YOU are fabulous! Many thanks for the Steeking info and Love to Lucy!

  30. Lovely hair, doll.

    Thanks for all the info!

  31. Wow! Lurve the hair!

    And steeking makes my brain hurt.

  32. Fabulous you! The Tinagel is still to die for.

  33. you’re ready to hit the book pr trail….looks great ๐Ÿ˜‰

  34. The new hair is fab.

  35. this haircut is fabulous! you look like you’re in your early twenties.

    you bitch.