Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Steek Mystique (Mistake)

Well, my bodice is coming along nicely, I think. I also see definite improvement in the tension of my stitches as I get more practice with this fair isle. I am normally a Continental knitter, so doing English at the same time in order to do the 2-handed knitting was definitely a little slow at first.

I am now at the steeks, and had actually completed the steeks according to directions and then completed an additional 3 or 4 rows when I took a look at what I had done so far, and noticed this:

That would be a picture of the left armhole steek connected to the BO armhole by the last BO stitch. Since I'd never done steeks before, I made sure to follow the directions, and it said nothing about what to do with that last stitch (ie bind off also and start new). Even knowing nothing about steeks, I was pretty sure that this wasn't right.

I emailed another member of our KAL, Melissa, to see what she had done, as I saw on her blog that she was already past the steeks. She said she had the same problem, and had to rip back and do it over. I also decided to email the pattern author, Mary Jane, to see what she had to say about what had happened to my steek when created according to pattern and this is her reply:

"I think there is an omission in the pattern as another woman mentioned the same issue. You should bind off that last stitch, and then attach new yarn to begin the steek. You can save your work, by weaving in a longer piece on the body where it will be too short to cut, do you understand? go back 7-10 stitiches and follow along where the yarn goes, and then catch that naughty loop and weave it all in tight. Easier done than written about. It will all be in the seam anyway.In real shetland wool it wouldn't even be an issue because of it's natural felting properties. Does this help? I wish I could show you!

As an aside, I think that sometimes patterns are written or modified in an attempt to try and make them make more sense to a reader,(and to make the directions less wordy) when sometimes the knitter would actually, do it differently. I think I'd probably cast all of the armhole stitches at once, you know beginning in a previous round...but for clarity it was re-written???? or maybe I did that!"

At any rate, I am sort of glad to know that I am not the only one who made this mistake. I just wanted to post this info to ensure that no one else in our group does the same thing once they get this far. I will try to save my work using the technique Mary Jane mentioned, though if that doesn't work, at least it's only a few rows (and rows after the steeks are much shorter because of the BOs and decreases!).

Also, I just wanted to mention that I saw on Mary Jane's site that you shouldn't begin the steeks until the fair isle covers the bottom 1/2 to 2/3 of your breasts. You can try on as you go to determine this. For me, the 4" wasn't QUITE enough, so I kept going for another 1" or so.

Anyway, good luck, ladies! The KAL has now officially begun and I look forward to seeing everyone's work!


Jenny said...

Jennifer, thank you so much for all the great info! I can't even think about steeks yet. I am so not ready for that part. I started my nice, mindless ribbing last night. BTW, what is Mary Jane's website address?

Jennifer said...

Cool that you started the ribbing--it goes pretty fast, since it IS mindless.

Mary Jane's address I think I got from the first page of the pattern, but it is:

and the part where she mentions the tip on when to start the steeks is here:

Mary Jane said...

Hi! It's me, Mary Jane. I'm so flattered that you all are making the Mirepoix Bodice! I had a lot of fun with it.. it includes one of my favorite fair isle border patterns. I loved the colors in the Louets Gems too. I had no clue how much it would cost, I'm given the yarn to use and I can't seem to cut down the number of colors, I always want just one more! So I read with interest, your substitutions, and love seeing the different colorways. Happy Knitting, and if I can be of more help, please ask.

Jenny said...

Hi, Mary Jane! Thanks for popping in & offering your help! I was worried about the mid-boob ribbing too, but I saw on your blog that it's just bad modeling. Whew!

Knittymuggins said...

Thanks everyone for sharing their experiences and info on the steeking! I need that *so* badly! This is going to be quite a challenge for me so I really appreciate you passing on what you've discovered. Thank you!!