Wednesday, 14 November 2012

how to steek in crochet work ::

Recently I was designing a sweater that was going to be crocheted in the round, but required a opening.  I thought long and hard about how to achieve this without working the rows of the part of the opening as rows, rather than rounds.  I didn't want a noticeable difference in stitch patterns which would occur from working part of the sweater in rows and part in rounds.  I did think about working the sweater in rounds but joining and working back and forth on each round, but I really prefer the way double crochet looks in the round vs rows.  So I did a bit of research on steeking.  I've heard this term a lot in knitting and though I've never tried it, I'm keen to give it a go some day, for the pure thrill of cutting through my knitting! Yes I know it will be terrifying, but terribly gratifying if all goes to plan.  There's a wiki entry on it here and Kate Davies has a great series on steeking on her blog starting here.

In all my research I couldn't see anywhere any reference to steeking crochet work itself, though it sometimes plays a part in knitted steeking.  I'm sure I'm not the first person to want to do this in crochet and I'm sure I won't be the last.  So after a bit of playing around, and a few disastrous attempts, I came up with a technique that worked.  I have no doubt that others have used steeked crochet work before and I'm sure there are other ways of doing this, some possibly more successful than my own, and I would love to hear of any you've come across.  But for now this is what I did, I've set up the tutorial in a PDF to download if fancy having a go.  Have a test run first, the most important thing about doing it this way is to make sure you only work through the front loop of the stitches either side of the steek section, as this is what will ensure your end will catch when it is cut.

I've written the tutorial in double crochet (single crochet if you're using US terms) but it will work in half treble and treble too.  I've written it so that the opening is at the beginning of you your work, but you can just easily add it in half way through, close it up again (perfect for thumbholes) or leave it open to create an opening at the end of your work.

I hope to work on a pattern using this technique to self publish in next week or so.  Enjoy and if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email, or you can find me on ravelry, facebook or twitter.

download now


  1. I've been working on a sweater design and dithering over how to make the sleeves. Having just read Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears, steeking came to mind as a possible solution, with chain stitches forming the gap. I wasn't sure if anyone had ever used steeking in crochet work, so off to Ravelry for a search. I'm glad to know that someone else has had the same idea!

    Did you ever use it in a pattern? How did it work out for you?

    P.S. Congratulations on all your published patterns!

    1. Hello, glad you found what you were looking for :)
      I've used it in a sweater design for a child, where I used it on the neck opening and I've more recently used it on some hand mitts worked fine both times, you do end up with a lot of ends to weave in though.

      PS knitting without tears is a fabulous book isn't it?!

  2. Thank you for this! I'm planning to crochet an Icelandic sweater, colorwork and all, and this may prove useful. Can't believe there isn't anything out there on steeking in crochet...

  3. Though on reflection...if I'm going to weave in all those ends, as you show, I might as well just work the dang thing flat (it's tapestry, so I have to go all one direction) and weave in all my colorwork ends. Ick.

    1. Yes unfortunately it doesn't really lend itself well to big sections, due to all the weaving :( I'm trying to discover a way to avoid this but have yet to discover one. Icelandic crochet sweater sounds amazing!