Yesterday I went to my Webs class that Brian got me for Mother's Day from the boys. I learned to steek, which as I mentioned before, is cutting your knitting on purpose. Some reasons why you would do this: necklines, fixing certain mistakes and turning a pullover sweater into a cardigan.
This was the first class that I ever took at Webs and man, I would certainly go back again! There were five of us in the class, and I was obviously the one with the least experience. Three of the women were in the "Expert Knitting" program, which almost sounded like a college degree. One of them was very excited to have gotten into the Elizabeth Zimmerman knitting camp in Wisconsin next week. That is also very beyond my expertise on the subject but hey, maybe someday. The instructor, Annie, was very knowledgeable and made the class fun. She brought several sweaters and even a shawl to show examples of steeking. My favorite example was a rainbow-colored toddler vest. It turns out that Annie has three boys that she knits for frequently and when this vest was done, it wouldn't fit over her toddler's head. So instead of having to rip it out and start over, VOILA a steek was cut and a button closure, and Little Man could wear his vest!
Steeking is a very nervewracking thing. We brought swatches that we worked on at home, and she showed us how to make a neckline steek first. I had to quickly learn some crochet techniques from scratch and Annie was helpful in that as well. Cutting my first steek was both exhilarating and terrifying! But I did it and was amazed that my swatch didn't fall apart.
Next we did a cardigan steek. This is where you would knit a sweater in the round, and then cut it to turn it into a cardigan and then pick up stitches for a button band. This was quite intriguing, because nobody likes the back-and-forth knitting of an adult-sized sweater. (Seriously....who doesn't shudder at "cast on 210 stitches and then knit back and forth in stockinette stitch for 7-9 inches??? Boredom City zzzzzzzzz)
Here's my swatch. I chose orange yarn because it was kicking around in my stash with nothing to do. I used contrasting yarn to do the picked-up neckline and the button band, because I was having a heck of a time learning how to do it with the same yarn. I just couldn't see which stitches I had to pick up! So for learning purposes, the contrasting color worked out really well.
This was such a positive experience, as I am no longer afraid to take scissors to my knitting. And now that I've done a class at Webs, I seriously want to take their colourwork class this fall.