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I was just zipping along with my Heather Hoodie, feeling inordinantly proud of myself and my first sweater. I’d even cleverly translated it into being worked in the round, since Nicole and seaming are not BFFs. So just when I thought that I’d need to borrow a hand to give myself as many pats on the back as I deserved, I realized that I hadn’t set aside stitches for my armholes. Oh. Hell. No.

So I had a couple of options. The first was to frog, just the thought of which made my girlnads shrivel up. The next possibility was to steek. And I’ve wanted to steek for so long!!! But I knew that this would be a dicier option, since I hadn’t included any extra stitches for a steek, so anything I would cut would technically be something that I probably wanted to keep. I went to my LYS and asked how I’d do a crochet steek, since I don’t 1) own a sewing machine or 2) know how to use one. Their suggestion was that I frog back to the point where I would have put in the armholes. I could see how this would be a reasonable and safe course of action to take, but once I explained that I preferred to try steeking, they gamely looked on youtube to see if they could find anything to help me.

The good news is that we found a video (although I’ve never been able to find that one again; humbug), and the bad news is that I think we misunderstood it. So I crocheted just one leg of the knit stitch that would form the edge of the steek. That didn’t seem exactly right to me, and I was unwilling to cut until I was as sure as possible that I was doing the right thing, so I put that aside and went back the evil socks. I finished those, and the final post will be up in a day or two (or whenever I’m over the 4.5 hours of end-weaving I did).

I had seen Eunny Jang’s steeking chronicles before,  but they didn’t make sense to me until I actually had a swatch, some contrasting yarn, and a crochet hook in front of me. I also found Jared Flood’s largely visual explanation of steeking quite useful.

My swatch, with the two crocheted line of stitches

My swatch, with the two crocheted lines of stitches

The first time I did this, I did it wrong. I know, you thought I’d do it perfectly right from the gate. Not so. The first time I crocheted my two sets of stitches, I left a leg of a knit stitch in between. Why? I no longer know, but it made sense four hours ago.

Even that provided acceptable results.

Look, not connected, and not unraveled!

Look, not connected, and not unraveled!

I just hated the fact that I’d unnecessarily burned a stitch. So I tried it again.

Second set of crocheted stitches.

Second set of crocheted stitches.

This time, there was no knit stitch between the two lines of crochet. Pulling apart the two sides looked like some sort of obscene grimace. Needless to say, I loved this.

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

You can see the purl bumps in between the crocheted stitches. This is what is cut.

Not that I’m an expert or anything, but I am now gaining confidence in my ability to crochet steek. I’m still looking for a way to shore up my cast on and bound off edges, as those are tricksy to secure. Both Jang and Flood mentioned this, so I know that there is an acceptable solution out there, and since the fabric of my sweater is bulky, I am not opposed to just adding to the bulk by putting in a million securing stitches. It all gets folded under anyway (or so I’ve heard, I haven’t gotten up to that yet)!

It’s late and I’m tired, so cutting into my actual sweater isn’t a good idea at all, but I’m glad that I now have a better idea about what I’m going to be doing.

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