19 September 2006

Steek Virginity Lost

I did the deed.

Just once. I cut the first sleeve steek, and have picked up my stitches and begun to knit down. Phew. There were some dicey moments, but right now everything looks good.

I followed Eunny's tutorial to the letter for the crochet-reinforced steek, although since my pattern had already had me knit an even number of steek stitches (10), I deviated slightly in leaving two whole, and two half stitches (one on each side of the whole ones) in the middle of my steek. I have to say, I felt rather safer this way in any case.

I prepared early by going out and purchasing a pair of designated steek scissors. They're small, very sharp, and more than a little scary. I got them at Pearl River Mart where, coincidentally, you can also get sets of 4 super-long DPNs like people used back in the old days before circular needles, in a variety of metric sizes. Anyway.

This is what the crochet lines look like. It was remarkably easy, actually -- and this from someone who hates crochet and really did need Eunny's detailed instructions to remember how to do even single crochet.

Then I cut. I confess, after the first snip, when the little cut yarn ends jumped up and fell apart, my hands started to shake and my heart raced a bit. I paused, I breathed, I called to Hubbster for support -- "Help! I cut it!" "What?!" "No, I meant to, but it's scary!" "You'll be okay!" "But it's cut, my knitting is cut!" "I thought that was the point." "It is the point, but it's scary!" "Breathe!" -- and then I kept cutting.

(click for bigger version)

I think it's fine. There was no trouble. I still can't quite believe it happened, though. What you see above is the inside, cut edge of the steek. Eunny says to trim this, but I don't dare, and don't think I need to, as it folds under neatly all by itself anyway.

(click for bigger version)

This is the steek from the outside. See out the line of single crochet makes a nice, neat, firm edge and the cut ends fold under?

(click for bigger version)

This is me picking up stitches. Not sure if I did it "right," but I like the results.

I knit four rows into the pattern, enough to do one decrease and to get a feel for managing the floats over the two "corners" formed by the Magic Loop (it is a little harder to maintain the right tension on the sleeves, as Cookie pointed out, but so far so good).

Then I switched to the sock for a little R&R. I got to the point I (thought I) was at by the end of my Day of Knitting Adventure on Saturday, and will probably finish it today or tomorrow.

By the way, the hardest thing about making this sweater might have been managing all the different colors, since the color-coded chart doesn't exactly match the actual colors of the yarn (actually, not even close to exact, but close enough not to confuse you when you're only reading row by row). However, whether by brilliant planning or coincidence, KnitPicks does not wind this yarn in a center-pull ball, thus allowing clever folks like myself to fold the label with the color name facing out and tuck it securely into the center of the ball, so I always know what it is:

Me so clever, clever, yes?

Meanwhile, I'm back to work, on the next chapter. I hate Microsoft Word. Hate hate hate hate it.


Love you all, will show you some mismatched socks soon.


The Purloined Letter said...

Well--I got a little dizzy watching that--but WOW! Congrats! You did it!

I love following the whole process of this sweater. Great series of posts.

Veronique said...

Wow. Deep breaths, indeed!

Marianne said...

I didn't realize it but I was holding my breath throughout the steek thing...wow, I am so impressed, seriously. whew. Congratulations, indeed!

Lynda said...

Good job! - I'm impressed, and I'm SO glad you did it first! I'm still ignoring that that's coming up soon...

I think I'd need a stiff drink after that. Must remember to buy tequila.

Nishanna said...

woah. I have yet to attempt a large fair isle project mostly to aviod cutting into my hard work incorrectly. You, dear, have nerves of steel. Excellent work.

sogalitno said...

Cant wait to see the WHOLE thing! Congrats on your first Steek - woohoo!

Susan said...

Oook, that made ME shake and all I was doing was sitting at my office computer staring at the screen!

FANTASTIC job - your host mom(s) would have been very proud! ;>

Good luck with the chapter - hate MS Word if you must, but just remember that at least it's *there* - I remember my mom writing her dissertation when I was in high school and she had to use a good ol' word processor - - worse yet my stepfather had to use a typewriter for his!

spider said...

Thank you for the tip about long d.p.'s and "sharp" scissors (SO necessary for steeks!) at Pearl River. My son and I stumbled on P.R. this past summer. It's a goldmine of wonderful stuff. I wish it was in VT. Congrats on your steeking - looks great!

Julia said...

I am so happy to see someone else is making this. My box of Palette and the pattern arrived last week. Haven't started it yet, but I know I will be reading your posts on it very, very closely.

Actually, I think I put the yarn away when I read steek and lost my breath.

You are doing such a beautiful job on a sweater that I think is so pretty, it hurts to look at it.