The term “steeks” may be a mystery to you or just a thing to fear, but it needn’t be either… Truly!

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

“Steeking” is the multistep process of cutting something you have knit in the round in order to create an opening in the fabric (for the front of a cardigan or an armhole, for example). Steeks make it possible to work Fair Isle in the round (much easier than flat!) and to then transform the tube into a vest or cardigan. And even if you’re not working elaborate color work but love to avoid purling, steeks may be your new best friend!

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

I designed our Learn-to-Love Steeks Blanket for just that: loving steeks! Taking full advantage of the tubular construction, I worked single-row stripes, much more fun to do in the round than flat. And knowing the end game, I knew the striping would doubly serve me: technically and aesthetically.

Technically, alternating rows of stripes act as a guide for two different steps of the steek process. And aesthetically, their graphic nature also adds beautiful detailing to the steeks’ finishing. Plus, instead of hiding the process of carrying up alternating yarns, I celebrate it by placing the pretty twist right at the center of the blanket. A rare opportunity I couldn’t ignore.

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

We knit our Learn-to-Love Steeks Blanket in contrasting colors of Worsted Twist, the softest 100% merino wool you can imagine. We then finished it with Cashmere Merino Bloom, an incredible blend of cashmere and merino. In such gorgeous yarns, this blanket will be as incredible to use as it is to create.

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

Along with this step-by-step pattern, we have also created a comprehensive new Steek Tutorial, both as a video and a still-photo how-to, all aimed at demystifying knitting’s biggest bogeyman. And so, I dare you… I double dog dare you to not learn to love steeks! -Laura

Update: Same Skill, New Project

February 2017

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

Have you learned to love steeks? Put your new skill to the test with our Tiny Stripes Cardigan +Vest!

Materials

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

Gauge

IMPORTANT: Make sure that whatever yarn you use the stitch gauge of Yarn C equals the row gauge of Yarns A and B.

  • Yarn A and Yarn B: 17 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on larger needles
  • Yarn C: 24 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on smaller needles

Sizes

Baby (Crib, Throw)

  • Finished Dimension: 24 x 32 (32 x 42 ½, 40 x 53 ¼) inches

SAMPLE: We show the Crib size here.

Notes

CONSTRUCTION: You knit this blanket in the round, then cut up the middle to create a flat fabric.

STRIPES: For tips on carrying the yarn when working stripes in the round, check out our Stripes in the Round Tutorial.

PHOTOS: In the instructional photos we use a contrasting color for Yarn C. This is just to clearly show the step, but of course, could be used as a design element as well!

VIDEO TUTORIAL: For a video tutorial on the entire steeking process, please visit our Steek with Knit Facing Tutorial.

Pattern

Knit a Tube

Cast On + Work Bottom Edge

With Yarn A and larger needles, cast on 47 (64, 81) stitches, place marker, cast on 59 (76, 93) more stitches. [106 (140, 174) stitches]

Place a different color marker and join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Round 1: Purl to one stitch before next marker, k1, slip marker (sm), p1, k10, p1, k1, purl to end of round.

Round 2: Knit to next marker, sm, p1, k10, p1, knit to end of round.

Repeat Round 2 two more times.

Continue, Striping

Join Yarn B…

Round 1: With Yarn B, knit to next marker, sm, p1, k10, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 2: With Yarn A, knit to next marker, sm, p1, k10, p1, knit to end of round.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until piece measures 31 ½ (42, 52 ¾) inches from cast-on edge, ending with Round 2.

Cut Yarn B.

Repeat Round 2 two more times.

Work Top Edge + Bind Off

Next Round: Purl to one stitch before next marker, k1, sm, p1, k10, p1, k1, purl to end of round.

Bind off knitwise.

Weave in the ends.

Steek

NOTE: Place a removable stitch marker or piece of scrap yarn on the bind-off edge to help you keep track of which end is which.

Prepare First Facing

Turn tube inside out, and orient it so the cast-on edge is closer to you. You will see two pronounced columns of knit stitches.

With one of the smaller circular needles and Yarn C, start at the cast-on edge and work towards the bind-off edge, picking up under both legs of each stitch of the knit-stitch column on the right.

Working these picked up stitches…

Row 1: Knit.

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 one more time.

Cut yarn and leave the stitches on the needles.

Prepare Second Facing

Orient the piece so the bind-off edge is closer to you.

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

With the second smaller circular needles and Yarn C, start at the bind-off edge and work towards the cast-on edge, picking up under both legs of each stitch of the knit-stitch column now on the right.

Working these picked up stitches…

Row 1: Knit.

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 one more time.

Cut yarn and leave the stitches on the needles.

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

Cut!

Turn the piece right side out.

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

NOTE: If the yarn you used is very slippery, or if you are worried that the stitches will unravel after you cut them, secure each side of the steek with thread before cutting. Sew one or two lines of stitches down each side of the center of the steek (on stitches 5 and 6 of 10), either by hand with a needle and thread or with a sewing machine. This step was not necessary for the sample because the yarn is sticky enough that it would not unravel easily in the time it takes to secure the facings.

Between the two purl columns there is a column of 10 knit stitches. Beginning at the cast-on edge and working towards the bind-off edge, carefully cut up the exact middle of these 10 knit stitches for the entire length of the tube. As you cut the fabric, the two new edges are going to curl under. That’s okay, let them.

There are now 5 knit stitches at each newly-cut edge.

Fold + Secure First Edge

Orient the piece so the cast-on edge is closer to you.

Identify the column of stitches in the middle of the left-hand edge, the third stitch of the five. In the following section you will work along this center column, picking up into each row and knitting the picked-up stitch together with a stitch from the corresponding Facing, working from the cast-on edge towards the bind-off edge and binding off as you go. Here’s how…

Beginning at the cast-on edge, insert the spare needle under both legs of the first stitch in the center column, then insert the spare needle into the first stitch on the circular needles, and with Yarn C, knit these two together…

…*insert the spare needle under both legs of the next stitch in the center column and the next stitch on the circular needles, k2tog…

…pass second stitch on spare needle over stitch just worked to bind off 1 stitch, repeat from * to end of column/last stitch on circular needles.

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

You now have a precise fold with the raw edge sandwiched and secured between the facing and the striped fabric.

Fold + Secure Second Edge

Orient the piece so the bind-off edge is closer to you.

Once again, identify the center (third) column of stitches between the purl column and the now-left-hand edge. You will work along this center column similarly to how you did in the previous section, but remember, you’re now looking at the fabric upside down, so you’ll insert the spare needle under both legs of an upside-down V rather than a right-side-up V.

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho

Beginning at the bind-off edge, insert one of the spare needle under both legs of the first stitch in the center column, then insert the spare needle into the first stitch on the circular needles, and with Yarn C, knit these two together, *insert the spare needle under both legs of the next stitch in the center column and the next stitch on the circular needles, k2tog, pass second stitch on spare needle over stitch just worked to bind off 1 stitch, repeat from * to end of column/last stitch on circular needles.

Finish

Use a tapestry needle and a length of Yarn A to sew closed the top and bottom of the channel created from securing the striped fabric to the facing.

Weave in remaining ends.

Learn-to-Love-Steeks Blanket | Purl Soho