Steeking is usually done in circular knitting. It’s said to be very useful to get your armholes right in fair-isle work, or for turning a knit-in-the-round sweater into a cardigan. I have made a steek to create a thumbhole into a sleeve.
To steek using the crochet method, you can work over 3 or 5 stitches. In my case, the garment was already knit when I realized I would be doing some steeking. So I did it over 3 stitches, so as not to lose a lot of stitches. Doing it over 3 stitches means that you will reinforce the outer stitches with crochet stitches and will then cut through the center of the center stitch. Doesn’t that sound simple?
What you need
- A small, sharp pair of scissors
- A piece of yarn in a contrasting colour
- A tapestry needle
- The garment you’re going to attack
- Some left-over yarn you want to use to crochet the edges of your steek with
- A crochet hook that is a slightly smaller size than your knitting needles. For example: if you used size 4.5 needles for your knitting, use a size 4 crochet hook.
Prerequisites: You need to know how to make the following crochet stitches:
- slip stitch
- single crochet
Decide where you need to cut your garment.
Example: If you’re turning a sweater into a cardigan, you will need to make a steek in the center front. To make the thumbhole, I needed to steek in the center bottom of the sleeve. I was lucky, I needed to do it in between the grey and the black of the sleeve. That was a nice visual aid.
- Take a close look at the stitches where the steek should come. Look for the vertical line of V-shaped stitches that make up the cutting area.
To make it more clear, I’ve indicated the V-shapes in red in the picture.
- Take a piece of yarn in contrasting colour and, with a tapestry needle, weave it through the center of the V-shaped stitches.
This piece of yarn will function as a visual aid while you cut through the center of these stitches.
- Make a slip stitch on your crochet hook.
- Look at your garment again and turn your work so you can start at the bottom of your steek.
Note: You’ll be crocheting through the V’s of the stitches on the left and right of your soon-to-be-steeked V’s. The stitches look just as crochet stitches when you hold them like that.
- Do a single crochet in the first V of your steek.
If you’re start the first stitch left-handed on the left. right-handed on the right.
Repeat in each V on the verticle line.
If you’re making you will need to a cardigan
- bind off at the end of the line; and
- repeat step 7-8 on the other side.
- do a single crochet at the top/bottom of your center steeking row, so as to join one side of the thumbhole with the other side;
- repeat step 7-8 on the other side; and
- do a single crochet at the top/bottom of your center steeking row and join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet you made.
- Bind off.
- Put your hand underneath your steeking area, and stretch the stitches as wide as they go.
Note: You can also lay your garment flat and pin it down, if you find that easier.
- Look at the contrasting-coloured yarn you weaved in and carefully cut the horizontal bridges of your stitches.
Important: Pay close attention so as not to cut the V’s themselves or the adjacent crocheted stitches.