Sunday Stitch – How to Put Steeks into Knitting


Are you ready to cut up your knitting???


Steeks in knitting

Okay. Are you ready for me to cut up my knitting while you watch? Good! Its that Sunday where I get to show you how to put in a steek. I even have a finished (baby sized) pullover ready to go so I can cut it for you on camera!

How to Put a Steek Into Your Knitting

Last week I demonstrated how to cut horizontally into your finished knitting to put in afterthought pockets (or button holes or heels or whatever you like). This week I’m cutting vertically. Before I can make that cut, however, I have to put in steeks.

Steeks in knitting can be done in different ways but they all accomplish the same thing. Steeks secure the yarn and keep it from unraveling after you’ve cut. I put mine in with a crochet hook, for which I thank Meg Swansen (daughter of Elizabeth Zimmermann). I learned how from an old video of hers. Steeks can also be hand sewn or done with a sewing machine but if I can do it with a crochet hook I’m gonna.  Thanks Meg!

FYI, this video got long. What can I say? I love steeks and none of my in-person students have ever let me teach it to them. I’ve offered. I’ve asked nicely. I might have even begged a little. They just shudder and say no thank-you. This might be the only chance I have to show steeks to anyone, ever.

So I got a little long winded. If you’d like to skip to the “good parts”:

  • Starting a steek begins at 1:55.
  • Finishing a steek at 4:20.
  • I cut into an actual finished sweater at about the 8 minute mark.

Pretty cool right? Steeks can be used for different purposes but most knitters use them so they can avoid back-and-forth flat knitting. Plenty of patterns are easier when worked in the round. Stranded knitting is a good example. Personally I hate to work stranded knitting patterns flat. That purl side is a pain. So when I want a stranded knit cardigan, I knit it in the round like a pullover and then cut up the front. Presto! Its a cardigan. I could have put in sleeves the same way. Instead of raglan sleeves, I could have knit the body of the sweater (from bottom edge to the neck) as one big tube and then steeked in the arm-hole openings. Elizabeth Zimmermann has a few sweaters that are made like that.

Don’t be afraid to try steeking. Its very empowering. Once you can do this, any sweater pattern is a cardigan pattern (for you). Boat necks can be turned into v-necks. Waists can be taken in, armholes can be deepened. You can do whatever you want. Its your knitting.

Go nuts.

More Helpful Stuff

Enjoy this? Great! Check out our other free tutorials on the Tips, Tricks, and Videos page. And if you have anything you’d like to see in a future Sunday Stitch let me know in the comments section.

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7 Comments on "Sunday Stitch – How to Put Steeks into Knitting"

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Love it! Am I correct in thinking that Steek is also just another term for duplicate stitching? It looks very similiar….


It does look like duplicate stitch but its not. Duplicate stitch goes over the V’s and steeks go over the bars that run between Vs.

If you can crochet, even a little, you can steek!


Excellent video!!




I have steeled once but still find it scary!


lol. Its just yarn! It will never hurt you.

The first steek can be nerve-wracking. But after that is gets easier.

Deidre Marks

Reblogged this on Deidre's Knitting.