Next Stage Completed… and A Disaster Averted (Whew!)

While this knitting project is definitely a challenge for me, this part of it – which is the front and back of the bag knitted all at once – was actually a lot easier than the strap, because I was always on the knit side of the piece while working. Also, the pattern repeats were shorter, making the counting a lot easier.

Bag front and back, with only one side pinned down to show the pattern.

I was more than halfway through with the knitting before I realized I had twisted the piece when I joined up the cast-on stitches. For those who have never knit in the round: this was knit on a circular needle (two points with a cable attaching them to each other). A long circular needle. Which means, after I cast on my 470+ stitches, I had to be super careful with the first stitch I knit, making sure that the cast-on stitches were all lined up properly to avoid a twist. I checked multiple times before commiting to that first stitch, but I still messed up.

There I was, with weeks of work done and a major problem on my hands. Because of the decreasing row lengths, my piece needed to lie flat so I could get the circle I ended up with (as seen above). Only this twist was going to make that impossible. My first thought was that I was going to have to rip everything out and do it all over. Not a happy thought. I’ve ripped things out to fix mistakes before, but considering all the counting and different yarns involved in this project, I knew that once I pulled it apart, it would be a long time before I started on it again.

Then I had a great insight. Cut the steek! Because this is actually two separate pieces being knit all at once, the stripey section running through the middle of the circle is a bridge or steek – extra stitches that give you a place to cut the two pieces apart*. I realized I could just cut one part of the steek early, untwist the piece, and go right on knitting. Man am I glad I thought of this. Not only did it work, but it saved me major hair-pulling and swearing, and means I will be finishing this bag sometime soon, instead of never.

Close-up showing where I cut the steek in order to untwist the piece. You can just see the white thread I used to reinforce the steek before cutting.

Next to do: cut the front and back apart, then knit the bag flap onto the back section of the bag.

*Steeks have to be reinforced before cutting – you stitch or crochet on both sides of the place you are going to cut to keep the knitting from unraveling. I tried to find a good quick on-line explanation of this technique and was seriously disappointed. Lots of detailed instructions, but they were light on clear illustrations and they assumed too much knowledge up-front, which is why I wound up with the bland but clear Wikipedia definition for my steek link.

2 thoughts on “Next Stage Completed… and A Disaster Averted (Whew!)”

  1. Hmmm. Maybe I need to post something somewhere about steeking, since that’s one of the classes I teach. The question is what format.

    SO glad you discovered the secret exit door to your problem, via the steek! Can’t wait to see the bag.

    1. It would be GREAT if you posted something about steeks. I’m only starting to use the internet for knitting help and I’m astonished at how often the information I find is overwhelming – the authors apparently can’t see the forest for the trees.

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