Thanks for the comments on yesterday's post. Much appreciated! And I have something cool to add today . . . at least I think so.
I know lots of people are afraid of steeks, afraid to cut their knitting, afraid that the results will be a disaster. At this point, cutting the steeks for me is like finally letting the knitting breathe. It's a huge inhale, lots of oxygen coming in, finally relaxing.
On March 7, 2006, I bought the book Norsk Strikkedesign and the yarn for this sweater at Shuttles, Spindles, & Skeins, in Boulder, Colorado. I've been working on this garment . . . adapting, adjusting, modifying, knitting . . . for almost exactly a year. It's not a year's worth of knitting—I've been going slowly, have had to take breaks for other, task-related knitting, have knitted smaller items that travel better, and so on—but it's still a chunk of time and materials.
And this morning, I cut open the four steeks. WHEE! Here's what that clump turned into:
That's not the greatest photo in the world, but it was 6 a.m. and still dark. I didn't wait for daylight to take a picture because I wanted to join the shoulders and take a look at how my solution to bridging the patterns from front to back had turned out. There are scallops along the bottom edge because the knitting presently curls up and I pinned it so the photo would show the overall shape better.
Yes, I measured a number of critical dimensions before I made the first cut, including the armholes and the circumference of the body. Once the steeks have been cut, there's no way to reclaim the yarn. (And I have been known to rip out whole sweaters that didn't work the way I wanted them to . . . or that I've worn for a decade but for some reason wanted a different style and didn't want to let go of the yarn . . . although that doesn't work if I've cut steeks.)
And then I got the sharpest scissors I could find, with the thinnest and most pointy blades, and snipped my way down the center of each steek.
Here's the mini-steek, or steeklet, at the back neck that I mentioned yesterday.
Although I rarely secure the edges of the cutting line of a standard steek (wool, fairly closely knitted) before I take scissors to cloth, I think that I will be finishing the edges of these steeks on the inside with blanket stitch. I prefer to work a close blanket stitch over an edge that has a bit of definition and body. The cut edges of stitches are secure enough for general handling, but not for stitching over in that way and in my opinion.
So I took strands of the four-ply yarn, stripped them down to singles, and worked a crocheted chain with that thin yarn through the vertical line of knit stitches on either side of the column that I would cut. In most places, this chain is nearly invisible and impossible to photograph. It also adds no noticeable bulk.
The image below, which shows part of the hem the way it will look when it's turned up, also shows just a bit of one of the chained lines because I worked it in the dark red along the front edge (and in black everywhere else).
Here's how the shoulders worked out. The knitted version will expand a bit, to be more like the charted version, when I wash the fabric. I'm pleased with the results!
The next step: attaching the sleeves. Then: front closure and neckline finish.