Fun with colour. And scissors.

This weekend I hustled myself once more to Peterborough, to do a bit of hanging out with some knitter friends and do a bit of teaching. This afternoon we had a class on steeking, which I have to say just does not get old. I’ve done many steeks now and have taught this class many times, and it is still 100% fun. You get your stranded colour-work on, and then you get out the scissors, and everyone lives to tell the tale.


I always start by diving in with both feet – first we cut an unreinforced steek, then move on to various reinforcement and finishing methods. MAN, this is great. If it’s wrong to geek out over colour-work and steeking, I don’t want to be right.


And speaking of colour-work and steeking, with some bus knitting time at my disposal this weekend, I took the opportunity to start up on a project with one set of the purple/yellow-green combos I was looking at in my stash the other day. I decided to grab the Plum purple Tanis Fiber Arts aran-weight and a couple of other colours that were lying in wait as complements, and started up on a Velvet Morning cardigan.


This is a nice pattern for slightly advanced colour-work decisions, in the sense that it asks you to choose 4 colours instead of just 2, which means you need to actually stop for a second and make a decision about what colours you’ll be using. I knew the dark purple would be my main colour, and I knew I wanted to use the Lemongrass yellow/green as well. (Purple and yellow are colour-complements, so a yellowish green is approaching that nice happy colour theory balance. I dig it). So, I added in the light natural/cream to balance the pale brightness of the Lemongrass, and the paler Lilac purple to support the Plum purple with some variation in tone. I like how it’s coming out so far.


There is one main modification I’ll be making to this pattern, which should surprise absolutely no one – instead of working it flat, back-and-forth, I’ll be inserting a steek up the centre of the cardigan front to allow me to work in the round. (Since Tanis Fiber Arts Aran is a superwash wool, I will be steeking this later using a sewn reinforcement. Fun things like an unreinforced steek are only for the regular wools, sadly.) I’m a knitter who finds working with steeks more approachable than working colour-work on wrong-side purl rows, and am happy to proceed that way. (If you are the sort of knitter who prefers working wrong-side purl rows in stranded colour-work instead of steeks, I doff my cap to you good madam or sir. That is an impressive thing to me.)

The only problem about immersing myself in these techniques for teaching stints is that when it is over all I want to do is Knit All The Colour-work Things, and design a few more as well. One day. More shall come, one project at a time.

In my next post I’ll be pleased to introduce to you the two remaining Urban Collection patterns for the month of March – two relatively quick accessory knits to add to your wardrobe. In the mean time, happy knitting happy weekend, dear knitters!


  1. Ooooh, steeking! I love the pretty colorwork, even before the steek. I’m taking a steeking workshop in April at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. Finally, I’m going to do it!

  2. christine m. east of toronto · ·

    oh, i hope you will keep teaching the class! i have wanted to attend for quite some time, but the dates never seem to work out for me. keep offering it and i will keep checking the dates.

  3. Awesome. I love the colour combo that you’ve chosen for your Velvet Morning, I think the Lemongrass is really going to work! I’m pumped that you’re going to steek it! Yay for knitting adventures!

  4. steeking scares the H–L out of me….but I’m thinking maybe it’s not so scary if you guys love it so much…

  5. Oh, and I love your colours..beautiful..

  6. hi there i wet to look this up as i didn’t know what the term steeking is. then i looked it up and from the information i was wondering is it kinda form of ‘Fairisle’ but with a trendy term? perhaps am a little slow on this am not too sure.

  7. Colorowork is fun, but steeking looks scary!

  8. Marie Roche · ·

    Would you mind explaining if you made any changes to the stitch count to convert this pattern to working in the round? I would like to knit this in the round as well but am unsure how to proceed. Thank you for your blog and the explaining and detailing you give, it is very helpful.


  9. Glenna, I am dying to learn this technique! Are you teaching anywhere in Toronto? I’ve recently gotten addicted to color-work and want to learn all I can. (Love your color-way for the new sweater 🙂

  10. The colors you chose for that cardigan are great! It’s going to be beautiful. I haven’t steeked before, but I’m planning on making Oranje from Knitty later this year so I’ll have to learn sometime!

  11. thefatsquirrel · ·

    Is it wrong that I love how completely freaked out people get about steeking? I sometimes save the actual cutting process for when I have company just so I can see them all squirm. Hehehehehehe.

  12. I definitely find that colorwork is SO much easier worked in the round so I don’t have to think about the purl side. I haven’t had the nerve to steek anything but your posts are steeling my will 🙂 And your choices for this Velvet Morning are awesome! I love them!

  13. I wish I lived close enough to take your class! Steeks are still terrifying to me, and I really want to get over my fear of them.

    Also, your colors for Velvet Morning are beautiful 🙂

  14. O.K. When did Velvet Morning come out?!?!? That is a gorgeous sweater! You’re colour selection is lovely and fresh; very Easter. I second Marie and wonder if you’re going to make any changes to the pattern? This may be the project that gets me to take the leap into steeking.

  15. You amaze me! I am nervous about steeks, although I understand how they are supposed to work. I prefer working wrong-side purl rows with color work just to avoid them. One of these days I will be brave and try one, but start out on a small project first.

  16. I still haven’t tried steeking. Ok I admit I’m scared. Your colorwork is lovely. The thought of cutting that makes me very nervous.

  17. I’m also in the middle of Velvet Morning with TFA and some of the same colors! Mine is charcoal, lilac, plum, grape and lemongrass 🙂 No doubt yours will be done before mine!

  18. I recently purchased a Knitpicks kit that uses a steek. I’m both excited and scared.

  19. ooh, I lvoe getting an early glimpse of your Velvet Morning!! It looks amazing. I remember thinking carefully about how to approach the pattern, and I decided that people were probably more afraid of steeking than of WS colourwork, and I figured that knitters who want to steek would do just that- I’m so glad you’re doing it, I can’t wait to see! Yours is going to be amazing.

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