What a lovely day we had on Saturday! We were honoured to host Kate Davies' Steek Sandwich class, and the mezzanine was transformed for the day into a workshop space, with plenty of space for the fifteen lucky attendees.
Steeking is a traditional Shetland technique, allowing complex stranded colourwork to be worked in the round even if the final article is flat, like a cardigan or a blanket. We got a chance to examine some really impressive work, including the beautiful cardigan dating back to the forties that she blogged in this post
- it's an amazing piece of knitting (Kate found it second hand on eBay!) and shows that steeking, well done, resists wear over generations.
But Kate's come up with a new spin on the technique which gives a smoother, neater edge to the steek, and that's what she was teaching on Saturday.
We had to do a certain amount of preparation before the class, working up a small piece of colourwork in the round using Studio Donegal 2 Ply Merino
. This turned out to be an ideal yarn for the purpose - with lots of colours to choose and contrast and excellent rustic "stickiness", it also works up fast.
The first thing to do was to stabilise the edges of the steek with a line of crochet - even people who didn't usually crochet found this fast and easy:
For the next stage, there was a certain amount of nervousness, which turned out to be completely unwarranted:
When the steek was cut, nothing bad happened at all!
The edges didn't fray, the knitting didn't dissolve. What happened instead was neatening and tidiness and a fair deal of smugness, which turned out to be completely warranted:
By the end of the class, there was a lovely expanse of confidently steeked and edged headbands, and fifteen knitters with a new technique in their toolkit. We can't wait to see what they do with it, but we're certain it'll surpass our wildest imaginings.
The thing about knitters is that they tend to be a good as their word. When we announced that Kate would teaching a class here, a certain contingent proclaimed that they would be there, with bells on.
See? As good as their word.
You can read Kate's account of her trip over on her blog
- she had as good a time as we did, it seems! We miss her dreadfully, and we're already thinking of how we can entice her back. So watch this space....