Monday, January 28, 2008

Miniature Norwegian cardigan and Steeking - bleah!

First, the good picture (of the back):
I'm really quite pleased with this... The pattern is my own (designed on Excel) and I steeked the sewed in the sleeves and it worked well. Well, almost. I discovered one item a knitter needs to carry in their bag - super glue.

I learned how to steek from various web pages, thank you so much! However, when I cut the shoulder steeks, I suddenly remembered that somewhere I read to be sure to stitch all the way up to the shoulder. I understand what they meant now. sigh. So my shoulders started to unravel. Luckily, my archer daughter had her kit open and tossed me her super glue... it's pretty ugly, but it worked, and since this was a sample, I'm decided not to fret too much. The sleeves went in.

Then the front steek. Ok, time to admit, I've never made a cardigan, much less a complete sweater before (except for a teeny tiny pullover I made during Christmas for an ornament, but that's another story) so I had really no idea how to put one together. I'd have liked to find a pattern for a Norwegian cardigan, but couldn't, So I decided to go ahead and look everything up on the web.

Mary Ann Stephens at has a wonderful treatise on steeking here, and helped me tremendously, especially when I emailed her in panic (thank you!), and I decided I would try her "covered steek" system... thinking that THAT was the buttonhole part - WRONG. AND, may I add, don't try this on a miniature sweater.

The beautiful covered steeks cannot be knit in proportion to the miniature size and retain the stabilization. I now understand that covered steeks are a lovely addition to the sweater, not the button section. I tried in vain to steek the right side, and everything fell apart. After the above picture, I put everything away and sulked for the rest of the evening.

The next day I was blessed with snow, and my office being closed due to icy road conditions (when it snows in Seattle, you have to realize that it's wet, icy snow, and hills we are dealing with) so I pulled the sweater back out and thought. Then it sewed the crap out of the steeks, back and forth about 4 times, AND zig-zagging. Murph.

One side came out great with the covered steeks... then I got cocky on the other side and tried to trim it down to size. Bad. But I'm learning.

A few things that I learned:

2) If doing light colored covered steeks, don't do your steeking stitches in black.
3) Don't trim too closely no matter how tight your machine stitches
4) zig-zags are good.
5) It's good to have a real Dale of Norway sweater beside you to look at (thank you Karen!)

Techniques tried with this project:

1) 3 needle bind off
2) steeking (natch)
3) reverse knitting (again, thank you Mary Ann)

It's a learning experience, and I think, as soon as I find a cardigan pattern somewhere, that I will do a miniature one more time.

Steeking Links I used:
Wendy Johnson, courtesy of
Eunny Jang, at See Eunny Knit


SwissKnits! said...

What a wonderful way to get in some steeking practice!! I shall have to remember when I am brave enough to try.
Good job!

Anonymous said...

I steeked for the first time. It did fall apart in some areas. !!!?#***! Hate steeks!