Steeks and Stones

It was a cold, March morning in 2009 when I received the craziest email ever. The email that made me think maybe I was still asleep. Maybe I was dreaming. The email was from Debbie Stoller, and I thought NO WAY. The Debbie Stoller who wrote that book I borrowed from my friend, then bought for myself because I couldn’t keep borrowing it over and over? The Debbie Stoller whose words and pictures and patterns taught me to knit, but even more, taught me to love knitting? The Debbie Stoller?!?!?! Yes, indeed.

She had come across my blog, which at the time had a picture of my latest project:

I was knitting a cardigan for Jerry. It had steeks, and it just so happened that Debbie Stoller was looking for a steeked project for her upcoming book about advanced knitting techniques. She asked if I would write the pattern, finish the sweater, and send it to her. In a week.

How could I turn that down? (Well, I suppose there could have been many reasons to turn it down, but I had so many other reasons to just say yes.) So I finished the sweater, wrote the pattern and sent it to Debbie Stoller. Here are some in-progress shots that I took.

Before cutting the front steek (the green down the front is crocheted):

The sleeves almost killed me, but I worked it out:

And some finished pictures before I sent the sweater to Debbie Stoller.

The successful sleeves:

The inside, after tacking down the facings of the steeked edge (before the zipper went in):

And the sweater, on the front porch (also before the zipper):

Here’s a six-year-old Jerry modeling his sweater.

The back of the neck has some garter stitch short rows for shaping:

Jerry loved it, and even though I received replacement yarn to knit my own (Debbie Stoller gets to keep the original) I have not knit it for him yet. I really should!

Here’s the picture from the book:

Image copyright Debbie Stoller

I think it looks great! That boy is no Jerry, but he is still pretty cute.

I’m going to do another post in the coming week that will showcase some of the other patterns in the book. The publisher has agreed to let me do a giveaway, too! So check back for your chance to win!

Note: Not all of the patterns are listed in Ravelry yet, but here’s the page: Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar Knitting by Debbie Stoller.

Buy it from Amazon.
Buy it from Workman.

More info about the Steeks and Stones sweater on Ravelry.

this girl

How sweet is my girl? I know, I am her mother so obviously I think she is the best girl in the world. But I’m here to tell you. She’s the best girl in the world.

Although I finished this vest a while ago, it was hot all summer and I couldn’t bear to make Maggie put it on for pictures. But then I decided pictures needed to be taken, and even though it was in the 90s that day, I made her put it on anyway. She’s a good sport. In the span of about 10 or 15 minutes, we took nearly 200 pictures (click on the following pictures to see them bigger).

The vest was knit entirely in the round, and steeked at armholes and neck. I picked up stitches and finished the edges with simple ribbing.

I added an afterthought pocket.

The edge of the pocket was finished with i-cord, and is perfect for all the little treasures that four-year-olds love to find and collect.

I think my favorite part of the vest is the hidden personalization in the hem.

It says “MAGGIE [diamond motif] 2010”. I situated the message so that when the wearer flips the hem, it is readable to them. You know, if they could read.

I have sensed that there is some interest in a pattern for this vest. I plan to write the pattern, and I’ll let you know when I do.  I hope to get to it in the next few months.

For more information about the yarn (including specific colors of Chickadee that I used) check out the Ravelry project page (visible to Ravelers and non-Ravelers alike).

Like I said, we had a brief photoshoot. Here is the last picture we took.

And when I got the hand, I knew it was time to call it a day.

Don’t forget to enter The Red Collection Giveaway before Friday at 7 pm EST!


I should have taken more pictures of this vest in progress, but I was too busy knitting it! I have finished weaving in all the ends but there’s still one small detail left to do before I call this finished. It’s something I’ve been meaning to put on a Maggie sweater for some time. Any guesses?

vest for Maggie

vest for Maggie

vest for Maggie

It will get a pocket! As an afterthought (though I planned it ahead of time).

The yarn is Chickadee from the new yarn company Quince & Co. It is so soft, the colors are to die for, and I loved working with it. The yarn is, as far as I can tell, a worsted spun yarn, meaning the fibers are all aligned nicely and it has a very boing-y quality to it. It is very stretchy and delicious and plump.

The trouble with a worsted spun yarn is that it doesn’t have a tendency to stick to itself like a woolen spun (Shetland style) yarn does.  I used steeks, all the while knowing that the yarn isn’t as felty as I like it to be when using steeks.  I reinforced my steek using the crochet method and I’m not too worried about it, but the yarn is not ideal for steeking.

Still, I love this little vest to pieces. I think I’ll make one for Jerry* and write up the pattern.

*Jerry assured me that, while he doesn’t necessarily want a vest, he will “wear it for pictures”. Good boy.