Because I used pure 100% Shetland Wool when I knit Rosemarkie I could have simply cut my steeks open, trimmed them and left them as is. The fleece of Shetland sheep has a propensity to felt and over time the surface hairs become entangled with each other so much so that it is reluctant to rip. I have left my other fair isles in this DO NOTHING state basically because I was lazy and so done with the project by the time I got to this point that I was ready to declare it finished and set it aside. But this time, with Rosemarkie, I decided to finish my steeks off properly! By doing this I was surprised with how nicely the seams flattened out so, in future fair isles, I will scrap the Do Nothing approach.
In my last post about Rosemarkie I demonstrated how a knitted steek is trimmed to a two-stitch width. Here I will show you the next step, folding the steek back and hand-stitching it into place. In hindsight, I should have used a finer yarn than I used to knit the vest with so that some of the bulk would have been reduced. Oh well, now I know!
To stitch the trimmed steek in place I cut the yarn in 18″ lengths so that they would not fray, threaded the length into a darning needle and secured it at the beginning of the steek. I used a ‘cross-stitch’ method of inserting the needle through the strands of the garment on the wrong side going at a diagonal all the way up and then ‘crossing’ that diagonal to make an ‘x’ all the way down. It looks kind of messy in the photo but it sure makes for a neat finish. I discovered this steek stiching was rather relaxing!
After finishing the steeks I pulled out my new steamer and steamed the backside of the vest. This was the first time I used a steamer instead of my iron on the steam setting and I really loved the results. I broke some cardinal rules though, one being to lay a damp cloth over the top of the knitted fabric to protect it. I started out doing that and then tossed it aside and tried placing the steamer plate directly on an inconspicuous spot and giving it a burst of steam. The stitches evened out so beautifully that I continued on down that perilous route. I may pay a price for that though. In my enthusiasm of watching the magic happen I forgot to lengthen the vest and now it is short and wide, a teensy too short for my long torso.
I have a plan but I’m not sure if it will work. I’ve heard that once fair isle is blocked it is forever blocked and I’m hoping this will be an exception. I’m going to wet soak the vest in some Eucalen and see if the stitches will relax enough to reshape. Then I will assemble my Wooly board, put the vest on it and see if it can be lengthened and dried.
In this state it reminds me of the Teapot rhyme we used to sing in childhood, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout….” So, here is my Rosemarke, short and stout. It can be worn in said state and will look just fine but would look all the better an inch or two longer.