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30 Things Before I'm 30, Item 6: Learn Steeking

Finally!!! My Little Birds cardigan is done!!!

This sweater was a learning experience. I set out to learn stranded knitting and steeking, and of course, I could've chosen a smaller, simpler project, but this pattern has had be bewitched since I first saw it. Of course, even though I bought the pattern, I lived in fear of it for a couple of years before I finally decided to take the plunge and buy the yarn.

I decided to knit it with Knit Picks Chroma, which is a fingering weight, single-ply color-changing yarn. (Well, "Bare" is not color-changing - it's just plain white.) The colorway I chose for the bird/leaves motifs is called Regency, which as you can see transitions between gray, magenta, and purple - all colors that I love. I was too chicken to try a brighter colorway, so I picked one that was safely within my comfort zone :)

The knitting part took forever - it was months before I finally finished even the beaded ribbing portion of the body, and then getting started on the color motif took a while because I was several rows through before I realized I had the wrong stitch count and had to rip it all back. Ugh. (And then, of course, I kept putting it off to work on other things.)

Most of the rest of it came together within the last couple of months - the sleeves knit up quickly, and I finally joined them with the rest of the body a couple weeks ago. And these past two weeks alone I've been really absorbed in finishing up the rest of the knitting portion so I could get to the whole point of this project - cutting the steek!

So here's the steek - it's the column of checkered stitches in the middle, which is where the sweater will be cut open to create the front of the cardigan.

Of course, as anyone can tell you, cutting open your knitting means unraveling! And I think only the fuzziest of wools might stick together well enough not to require reinforcement, which Chroma is not, as evidenced by how little trouble I had ripping it back. So I decided to go with a crochet reinforcement, using Eunny Jang's tutorial to help me.

Close-up on the reinforced steek & center line that will be cut
First cut, oh my god.
 (My heart was pounding this ENTIRE TIME that I was cutting. I'm not kidding.)


Seamed up the shoulders

Cutting successful!

Buttons sewn, edging added
Yay!!! Done!!


  1. Hi Thu,
    I just found your blog post on your Little Birds cardigan via Ravelry. I am almost at the end stages of mine ( and have just cut the steek. It seems ok at the moment, as I used shetland spindrift, but I am utterly paranoid about it unravelling with wear. So, having seen your nice illustration of the crochet reinforced steek, I'm considering adding that in to mine. My question is, how have you found the steek holds up as you wear the cardigan? Has it unravelled at all, even with the crochet reinforcement? Or is all good? Congrats on a most beautiful cardigan :)

    1. Thanks!

      I haven't worn it much, actually (I keep meaning to sew in little snaps where the top buttons are, because they keep sliding out of the button holes), but I definitely feel like it's pretty sturdy.


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