Steeking is a knitting technique where the garment pattern has several vertical rows of stitches that the knitter cuts apart to create a vertical opening. It is like a seam allowance that sewers use to construct garments, and knitters often use it for armhole openings or for cardigan sweaters. To learn the technique, you may find lessons online through experts' blogs and websites or at in-store classes and workshops, or you may learn from an experienced knitter. Traditionally, family members teach each other the technique, but with its increase in popularity, you can find lessons in many different places.
Usually, you will use a pattern specifically designed for steeking. Retail yarn stores normally sell these patterns, and they are generally available through online stores. Experienced knitters may alter patterns to include the steeking technique, but beginners do better when using patterns.
Norwegian and Fair Isle knitting patterns use steeking because the knitting patterns are complicated. It is easier to knit a pattern in one direction and continuously in a circular piece than to work the rows back and forth. Knitters find it is easier to work even simple, one-color stitches in the round rather than in alternating rows. Learning the technique can simplify your knitting.
Many retail yarn stores are now beginning to offer steeking lessons. If a store does not offer lessons in the technique, you can request that they consider it. Often, retailers do not know that customers are interested in learning to steek. Several book authors are interested in giving workshops.
You can learn to steek from a book. Before investing in a book, however, scan through it and make sure the pictures and instructions are clear. Often libraries can obtain books through other library systems; therefore, if your local library does not have a knitting instruction book that teaches steeking, ask if it can borrow one from another place. Many authors have an online presence, such as a website or blog, where you can request more help.
Online sources are a good place for a knitter to learn the basics. Choose an online instructor who is an expert knitter and has excellent photographs of the technique. When searching for online resources, try searching for "steek stitches," which is the Scottish term, and "cutting stitches," which is the Norwegian term. The techniques are the same; in both a temporary bridge of stitches is cut apart to provide an opening.
A few online instructors offer online workshops. Usually these are fee-based, but some may be free. When learning to steek online, you may learn more by using two or more sites for instruction. Each online teacher has different talents. Many online instructors offer email support.
Other sources to learn the steek technique include knitting clubs, private tutorials, and television shows. Frequently, book authors offer video lessons, and some television stations broadcast these as part of their seasonal schedule. Often televised knitting shows are general instruction shows that feature steeking in one or two episodes. You may have to research the episode schedules to find the steeking technique shows. Sometimes people contact a public broadcasting station to request shows about their hobbies, and station personnel may be able to help you find videos about knitting.