My current work in progress:

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


My Steeky Technique-y

Nancy asked in the comments:
A question about your steek technique (it rhymes!)

I haven’t done a Dale, but I do plenty of fair isle in Shetland. I’ve always trimmed my steeks and then tacked them down with overcast stitches, ala Starmore/Swansen/Feitelson. Are you trimming the steeks, or just leaving the whole steek to flap?

And you’ve posted before that you don’t wear your sweaters all that often. Any idea how the flapping steek wears over time? I’ve always assumed that my armhole steeks, for example, would unravel over time with friction as I pull the sweater on/off.

For fair isles, I just leave ’em. They adhere nicely to the inside of the garment and never budge. The oldest steeked garment I have is the Alice Starmore Wave Cardigan I made in 1989. It’s gotten a fair amount of wear in the 17 years since I knitted it, and the steeks are just fine. No unravelling or movement.

Dale steeks — another story.

For the armholes, you are just stitching and cutting into the tube of knitting that is the body. You sew your sleeves into the cut armhole, and sew down a facing (a knitted extension around the top of the sleeve of an inch or so) over the cut edge on the inside of the garment.

I steek my Dale necks and pick up stitches around the neck, so I do an 8 or 10 stitch steek there. I machine stitch it, cut it, and I do sew that down on the inside. I don’t trim it. I could, but it really doesn’t add too much bulk on the inside of the sweater.

But then, I’m never steeking anything heavier than sport weight yarn. I wouldn’t attempt this technique in a heavier yarn — it would be just too bulky. I wouldn’t attempt this technique with a heavier yarn anyhow, because all my colorwork is sportweight or finer.

Anyhow . . .

I picked up Teal Hogget and worked on it for the first time since Friday. Here is the front, reclining gracefully on my lunchtime reading.


Said lunchtime reading is Charles Todd’s latest book, A Long Shadow. I’ve read all of Charles Todd’s books and enjoy them immensely. (Actually, Charles Todd is two people — a mother and son writing team.)

And back at home, Lucy checks my work on Rose.


Here, just because I think it’s cool, is an early morning shot out my office window. Hey! It’s not a dead guy in the street!


I love how the light reflects off the building’s facade on a sunny day.


  1. Did you just say 1989 was 17 years ago?! Holy man…I gotta lie down…

    Rose is really a beautiful sweater. And Lucy is really a beautiful kitty. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been enjoying all the technical stuff about steeking, too, though I have no intention of attempting it anytime soon. Too scary for me right now!

  2. Ya know, I almost asked you if you were going to change your Avatar’s hairstyle and lo-and-behold! Looks pretty good. I think it’s a shame they don’t have a cat that looks like Lucy, but then they don’t have any that look like my cats, Johnson & Johnson either.

  3. I just heard about Charles Todd recently and am glad to hear a recommendation. I need a new author/s. Thanks

  4. I recently put a book on my iPod and I’m enjoying that while I knit. The Nordic mittens are too much for reading and knitting! Thanks for the new author – I’ll check them out. Hogget and Rose are looking great and Lucy is as cute as ever.

  5. My niece was born in 1989–just 4 days after I graduated from college. I canNOT believe I’ve been out of school that long! Or that my niece is a Junior in high school and just took her SATs. It’s just unbelievable how fast time is zipping by.

    And, Hogget is looking gorgeous. I’ve been lusting after teal lately . . . hmmm . . .

  6. Ooooh, Wendy,

    Thanks for the heads-up about the new Charles Todd book. I’ll put it on my holds list at the library. Hamish rocks!

  7. Ahem. I can’t help but notice the dead guy in the street comments as of late. Now one of some number things have happened.
    1. I missed something. Totally plausible since I’m sort of a skimmer lately.
    2. There are dead guys in the street around your work on a regular basis, therefore expecting one.
    3. dead guy being a metaphor for ….for…oh, I don’t know! YARN? OR um….REPUBLICANS? no. No politics talk.
    Is it not scary to look at the beauty outside when dead may show up?
    I know. I should’t leave comments when tired.
    CUE. Commenting under the influence of exhaustion. It’s never pretty.

  8. In response to the lady that commented about how was steeking done in the olden days? I went to a steeking workshop recently at my knitting guild, and the demonstrator lady had us do a row of single-crochet up each side of the steek to stabilize it, in lieu of machine sewing, and then cut – perhaps that’s how steeks were accomplished way-back-when, if they were even done?

    I like your layered cut, it looks great, and Lucy is gor-ge-mous!

  9. I tend to listen to audiobooks while knitting during my lunchtime. That way I can plug in the headphones and pretend I don’t hear the constant interruption of idiots attempting to gain my attention.

    I’ve been thinking of doing my Torino sleeves on two long circs, but I’ve scrapped that idea. It would make far too much sense.

    Lucy appears to be enjoying her vacation on Sleeve Island. All she needs now is a hula skirt!

  10. Lucy is adorable in that picture! (She’s a beauty in every picture LOL)

    I’ve recently gotten into the habit of snatching my darling’s ipod for knitting time. It is an amazing experiance that I should have tried sooner! Maybe I could ask him to put a book on for me hehe. I’d buy an ipod myself, but I just ordered a folding Lendrum (my first wheel)!!

  11. Thanks! I’ll need to try it with my next fair isle. I spent what felt like days tacking down the steeks on Hillswick Lumber this fall.

  12. The first FI I did I didn’t dare NOT overcase the steeks down the front. But, by the time I got to the sleeves I could see that it didn’t really matter. This yarn is sticky! I no longer worry about it at all.
    One reason I don’t want to do a Dale sweater is I hate sewing machines. It just seems a big job to sew (I am lazy, I know) the steeks and then finish them off. Besides I like knitting the sleeves down, too…see, LAZY!

  13. I’m from DC.

    There was a dead guy in the street outside of Wendy’s office last week! He was trying to escape from jail by hanging onto the bottom of the prison bus. He fell off in the middle of the expressway–no chance of survival there.

  14. Hey Wendy, question:

    When you’re doing a project who’s yarn did NOT come from your LYS, do you feel guilty knitting on it in the store? Is there adulterous yarn guilt?

    I know, I know, but I’ll feel guilty about everything!

    PS: I’ve had a 3 month forced ‘vacation’ from knitting (my wrist has a mystery ailment) but have recently been cleared to knit again. I’ve been knitting vicariously though your blog. Thanks!

  15. I don’t do a lot of steeking cause I’m one of the holdouts who doesn’t really like doing sweaters in the round much and my ancient sewing maching and I don’t get on very well but, that said, I taught myself to do steeks by steeking swatches until I felt confident with the technique. It also tells you if the chosen yarn is going to do anything untoward after it’s been cut. Ah the joys of swatching.

  16. Dear Wendy,
    If I could only knit half as well as you do I’d be doing wonderful. Absolutely beautiful work, you should be so proud. Everything you knit is everything I want to knit, no lie! Not to mention the magnitude of knowledge you possess. I just received The Celtic Collection and The Harmony Guide to Aran and Fair Isle Knitting recently. I guess we all need to start somewhere. Keep up the wonderful work and Keep on Knitting! Sheilah
    P.S. Give Lucy some kisses for me!

  17. Lack of dead guys is usually a good thing. And Lucy looks positively enchanted by Rose…as well she should be. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Dear Wendy,
    Just wanted to let you know has your book for $10.08 and they ship for free if order is $25.00 and over just like Amazon.