A Little Help From My Friends

When I was a teenager, my route into the house after school was around the back, across the deck, and through the sliding door. One day, I came home to find  a rope strung across the entrance to the deck. I didn’t feel like walking all the way back around to the front of the house, so I ducked under the rope and finished the last three yards of my trip home from school.

My father, it turned out, was sitting in the living room, reading the paper and drinking his coffee. He wanted to know why I’d ignored the rope.

“I couldn’t figure out why it was there,” I said.

My father pointed out that the deck was darker than it had been that morning, that he’d spent most of the day staining it, and my decision to ignore the rope was now permanently recorded on the downstairs carpet.

We could attribute this to the fact that I was fourteen years old at the time, but the truth is I’ve always been the person who needed to find out, first-hand, just how hot that stove is, whether that paint is still wet, if that man-eating tiger is really asleep. The number of times I’ve actually been eaten by that tiger haven’t outbalanced the times that I haven’t. And this is why I thought I could get away with using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for a steeking project.

Of course, Eunny Jang’s instructions for the Deep-V Argyle Vest make it clear that one should only use a single-variety yarn, and that superwash yarns won’t hold up to steeking, but I thought I could, you know, get around that. After all, I’m the guy who ripped out three inches of an Aran cardigan, fixed a mistake, and slipped all the stitches back on to the needle, all inside of a 25-minute commute on BART. During rush hour. Surely I could figure out a way to get a combination of merino, cashmere, and microfiber to hold together after I cut it all up with scissors, right?

Well, what you see in the picture above is my ass being saved by Bugamor, who works at my local yarn shop. Bugamor possesses a great deal of skill with a sewing machine—skill that I’m (conspicuously) lacking. And it wasn’t just my ass she saved. As the steeked edges began to unravel, this vest became the most cursed project I’d ever knit. I couldn’t even bring myself to pick up the bag I’d hidden it in, lest my soul be filled with the darkest, heaviest weight this side of the river Styx. Bugamor, and her sewing machine, dispelled the curse.

Of course, I still have to sew down those steeked edges, weave in the yarn ends, and block the m***er f***er. But aside from all that, it’s pretty much done. Next up? Making a rock climbing rope using I-cord! Just because it’s never been done doesn’t mean you can’t do it! I’ll even use 100% wool this time!

By the way, you may have noticed a few changes around here. After three and a half years (!!!) I decided it was time for a new look.


  • Rodger says:

    I can’t believe you tried to steek cashmerino without sewing them first. My head, it spins. The spinning, it is intense. Please stop the ride, I’d like to get off now.

    On the other hand, it’ll probably be the softest Deep-V ever made.

  • yarn boy says:

    To clarify (and to stop your head from spinning), I did use a crocheted reinforcement before cutting, and the yarn I used was 100% wool. It actually held up reasonably well, and may have kept the sweater together for a little while . . . but it clearly wasn’t enough.

  • Carrie K says:

    As if steeking in itself wasn’t horrifying enough, to have a lying swatch tell you it could be done? Oh, the inhumanity (of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino? Maybe).

    The cable fix on BART is pretty impressive though!

  • Talena says:

    But why, oh why, do all the apostrophes show up as non-appearing characters (a little box)?

    I’m very impressed with the Aran-saving venture. And I would probably have tried something like this, too.

    Um, does “blog face-lift” give hope of “more frequent posting?”

  • jera says:

    Great… another site I can bookmark and never come back to

  • snarkapuss says:

    ah, a knitter after my own heart. what are these ‘instructions’? surely they are meant only for other, foolish people! i’m sure _i_ can do it differently!

  • Debby Smith says:

    Climbing rope from wool? Maybe you should use hemp.

  • Malena says:

    I know what you mean. Sewing in ends is the ugly side of knitting and choerct. The bit they don’t really tell you about in books… I hate it until you get to that last end. The last one I can cope with 🙂

  • Tamil says:

    I know what you mean. Sewing in ends is the ugly side of knitting and corhcet. The bit they don’t really tell you about in books… I hate it until you get to that last end. The last one I can cope with 🙂

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