How to steek – crochet method

Steeking means that you cut right through your knitting. Now, don’t get your scissors out just yet. You need to prepare your attack: secure your stitches first to avoid the rest of your work unravelling.

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.
How to steek


Prerequisites: You need to know how to make the following crochet stitches:

  • slip stitch
  • single crochet 
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
    How to steek - crochet method
  3. 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.
    How to steek - crochet method
  4. Make a slip stitch on your crochet hook.
    How to steek - crochet method
  5. 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.
  6. Do a single crochet in the first V of your steek.
    If you’re start  the first stitch
    left-handed on the left. How to steek - crochet method
    right-handed on the right. How to steek - crochet method
  7. Repeat in each V on the verticle line.

    Left-handed Right-handed
    How to steek - crochet method      How to steek - crochet method
    How to steek - crochet method How to steek - crochet method
  8. 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.
    a thumbhole
    • 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.
  9. Bind off.
  10. Put your hand underneath your steeking area, and stretch the stitches as wide as they go.
    How to steek - crochet method

    Note: You can also lay your garment flat and pin it down, if you find that easier.

  11. 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.
    How to steek - crochet method

Finished!

How to steek - crochet method      
How to steek - crochet method

How to hand sew a blind hem stitch

Using a blind hem stitch is the best way to hem garments without stitches being visible. You might be able to do so using your sewing machine, if you have the right presser foot. But keep in mind that you can only use your machine for heavy fabrics. If you do so for lighter fabrics, you will still see stitches on the outer side of your hem.
In my opinion, the best way to sew a blind hem is doing it by hand. It takes longer, but it looks better. And, on top of that, it’s also a great excuse to what, say, Grey’s anatomy while doing it 😉

Preparations

Before you start, you need to make sure that you have prepared your garment well:

  • Turn your garment inside out.
  • Iron your hem. Make sure that you have at least 0,5 centimeters/0,2 inches hem allowance left (on the inside of your garment).
  • Fix your hem with pins.
  • Get your needle and thread ready. Since this is going to be a blind hem, you can use any colour of thread you like, but I prefer to get a colour that is very similar to the garment. Don’t use too long a thread, or it will get tangled. 50 centimeters/20 inches should do the trick.


Do the hem

  1. Start at a seam. This gives you a better overview of your progress. For trousers, for instance, I always start at the inner leg seam.
  2. Fold the upper bit of the hem allowance towards you and hold it in place with your thumb.
  3. Make a few local stitches to fix your thread.
  4. In the folded-over hem allowance, gently pick up a fibre and pull your needle through.
    blind hem stitch

    Note: As you may be able to see in the picture, I’m left-handed. The right-handed way looks exactly the same way, except that your needle point will look the other way.

  5. In the garment itself, pick up a fibre and pull your needle through.
    blind hem stitch

    Note:

    • If you’re left-handed, move your needle from left to right, but stitch from right to left.
    • If you’re right-handed, move your needle from right to left, but stitch from left to right.
    • Your hand never shadows the stitches you’ve already done.

  6. Repeat steps 4 to 5 until you have completed the hem.
  7. When you have completed the hem, make a few local stitches to fix your thread.

The result looks as follows:

blind hem stitch
Once you fold the hem allowance back in place and turn your garment outside in, no stitches will be visible at all.