Steeked Sweater 101

  1. You do the shaping on each side of the steek, so it does show up presto-chango when you cut. :teehee:

  2. The steek will be folded to the inside when you pick up those stitches. I guess this is an instance where sewing them down would hide them somewhat. :think:

The first time is always the hardest. EZ recommends lying down in a darkened room after the first cut. :rofl:



I’ve been working on my 0-3 month size baby sweater with a steek for the front opening so I can make a cardigan and with armhole steeks. I made 10 stitch steeks in each place. The two colors I am working with are bamboo (green) and pink. I decided to keep pink on each side edge of each steek and alternated the rest green and pink. I finished all the knitting yesterday and was ready to sew and cut. I read everything here again and then went to Eunny Jang’s blog site where she has a lot about different ways to do steeks. I was going to sew with the sewing machine, but chickened out because I was afraid of foot pressure issues and other unknowns. I decided to try EJ’s idea for a hand-sewn steek. I did one of the sleeve steeks so far and cut it. :woot: Success so far. I want to cut them one at a time as I am ready to pick up to take care of them so they don’t have a chance to think about unraveling.

I have been working on picking up stitches around the sleeve. I want to pick up 44 stitches because 44 will work with my pattern stitch which is a multiple of 11. (It just occurred to me as I typed this that I could go with 55, and maybe that would be better. I had 44 so stuck in my mind that I couldn’t think beyond that. :lol:). Anyway I have more like 58 stitches that would like to be picked up, that includes the 5 I had at the armhole. My question is, “Do I need to pick up each stitch around so that they can’t go anywhere, or is it allowable to skip stitches as you pick up the stitches around the sleeve?”

Another thing that I have been pondering is doing the pattern stitch down the sleeve rather than up the body as I did. I’m thinking I just start at the top of the chart and work down instead of up as usual. Is that right thinking?

I look forward to an answer, because I don’t want to go off have cocked at this point. I will not proceed until I find out if it is okay to skip stitches or not. Then I will need to decide if I want to go with 44 or 55. :??

How is your project coming? Thanks for your help. :hug: Merigold

P.S. I’m using Brown Sheep, Nature Spun, sport weight weight wool for this project. I only have one skein each of the green and pink and I have a skein of white. So to try to stretch this yarn for a sweater I’m doing all the bands in white. :eyes: Just thought I’d tell you, in case you wondered.


You can skip stitches for the armholes. They won’t go anywhere. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can pick up every one and decrease on the next round–especially if you go with the 55 out of 58 stitches.

When I knit patterned sleeves from the top down, I just flip the chart upside down and work that way. I’m so used to reading from the bottom up that I don’t know if I’d like top-down charts. I’d probably get confused.



Thanks for the quick reply. :cheering: I went and looked at a few things and then refreshed the page and “presto” Ingrid was the last one to post on the steek sticky. That was really fast. Now I can get back to my knitting. Good idea about flipping the chart upside down. Will do. Over and out.:waving: Merigold


I am wanting to shorten a knitted sweater about 5 inches from the bottom, to fit someone else. I am contemplating steeking but do not know how to do this to shorten a garment. Most steeking directions are for making sleeves out of tubes. Anyone?


I don’t think steeking is the best way to shorten a sweater.

I think your best bet is to put in a lifeline, or destination row, where you thread a piece of yarn through a row of stitches just above where you want to shorten the sweater to. Then you can cut off the extra and bind off the live stitches again, or add ribbing, or whatever the style is.


Excuse me if you have covered this issue before in this somehwat lengthy thread, but I’m wondering if it is only wool, and indeed if it’s only certain types of wool which are “steekable”.


Mrs. Davis,

This was covered before; look at posts number 99 and 100 and maybe a few after that. Braden (formerly Contiknitter) says he uses it all the time on all sorts of yarn. I have heard that wool tends to stick to itself better than other yarns and is therefore a better candidate for steeks, that is why I chose it for my first attempt at steeking, but most any normal type of yarn will work I guess. I think it might be going to far to say[U] every[/U] yarn will work well, considering some of the weird stuff that is out there. :slight_smile:


So the type of yarn you are using determines what kind of steek you can use. T or F
What about if the yarn is machine washable, and the garment will certainly be washed in the machine? Would that make it inadvisable to steek?

How about DB cashmerino DK? Would machine stitching be necessary? Crocheted steek would work?


As long as the steek is secure, then it shouldn’t come undone. In the olden days, they didn’t secure the steeks because the wool felted. But I’ve used steeks for the armholes of a sweater made with superwash wool and it’s held fine. I machine stitched it. I have every faith that crocheted would hold, too.


How do you know how many stitches to place on a holder? And how to you know how many stitches wide to make the steek?


The directions usually either tell you how many steek stitches to use, or make a suggestion. A lot depends on how you feel about your sewing skills. The width of the steek doesn’t affect the size of the sweater in any way.

I’m not sure which stitches on a holder you’re referring to.:think:


Oh, well I’m really only asking because I’m wanting to make up my own sweater. But yeah since the steek size doesn’t affect the garment size, that’s good to know. I’ll probably do like seven stitches.
The ones on a holder, like, you put them on yarn before you knit the steek. How many do you do for the average armhole or something?


I always use an inch’s worth of stitches, and if that amounts to an even number, I add one more. I always use odd numbers.


FYI, I haven’t read through all of the pages…

but I read through the beginning when I first joined (under my other User ID)…

and I used the information on steeking yesterday to work on a store bought sweater for one of my sewing clients last night.

It worked famously. She wanted the sweater taken in by a total of 4 inches. I sewed a straight stitch up the sides and well into the arms of the sweater. I then serged the edges separately on one side. (experimenting)…

but found after the sewing up one side, down the other, the best effect was to serge from the arm down to the sleeve (to control the feed over the seams of the arm pit) to the hem without serging the sides separately first in a narrow hem. There was too much bulk when I attempted a ‘safety serge.’

I used Woolly Nylon in the Loopers and regular Gutterman thread in the needles. Regular 4 thread overlock, needles at 3, loopers at 4. Stitch length at 4 out of 5, differential feed at 1.0 out of 2.0. I only kept the foot pedal at about medium speed because going faster did cause one original section to not be serged. 4 thread not 3 because 3 tended to not always cover the cut edge.

It was a mid weight ribbed sweater.


I want to make a steeked sweater, but since I’m allergic to wool, I want to use cotton. Is that possible, or would the sweater unravel if I tried steeking it. If I have to, I’ll knit the sweater flat, but I want to prevent that, because when knitting with 2 colors, the purl side is like hell.


Any yarn can be steeked as long as it is secured properly before cutting. A couple of rows of machine stitching on each side of the cut should hold it quite well.


Thanks for the advice. I CO today, so it’ll take a few months to get to the cuttingpart, but I’ll secure it extra well (the pattern says only 1 row of machine stitching, but the pattern uses wool in stead of cotton)


Thank you Ingrid! Great photo tutorial!


I haven’t read all of the posts, so please excuse me if I’m repeating something. I’m working on a fair isle sweater that has a steek where I’m going to attach the neckband, this a straight across steek on one row. I’m doing crocheted steeks in the sweater, but I’m not sure how to do this with a single row steek, should I crochet across the row catching two loops from two different stitches on each crochet stitch? I’ve done so much work on this sweater I’d rather not have it unravel now.