Tag Archives: techniques

Knotted steeks anyone?

Yikes, I haven’t posted on here for a while. It’s not that I haven’t been knitting diligently, but none of it is very bloggable at the moment.

This week though, I have been playing with a new technique: the Knotted Steek. What is this crazy steek? It’s when you leave trailing ends at the breaks in your fair isle knitting and secure those ends by knotting pairs of them together. There are some better descriptions in this blog post and this excerpt from Principles of Knitting.

What interests me is how unbulky and simple this steek is. I’m rather familiar with the crocheted steek but it’s not suitable for everything. Knotted steeks though…they seemed at first glance like they would work on plain knitting. Naturally I tested that hypothesis with the discipline and rigor of a professional science-person. Nothing says “crafts!” quite like empirical evidence, don’t you think?


Above you can see my test subject, an old swatch I have lying around from a previous yarn review. I have unpicked the cast-off row and re-knit it so that 6 stitches are still live and unsecured. Once the needle is removed, they can be unravelled all the way down the swatch and those loose strands will be knotted.


Snip! The first thing to do was knot the cast-off row strands properly so that no other stitches on that row would unravel. You may notice that I have cut straight between two columns of knitting for neatness.


I then picked out pairs of ends at a time and tied them in a basic overhand knot, held together as one strand. There is a bit of a problem with unravelling washed and blocked knitting – the “ramen noodle” effect.


It isn’t neat, but it’s knotted!


Tucking all the ends out of the way shows a lovely neat edge though. I’d be happy picking up a buttonband or sewing another piece onto that edge. It’s sturdy. It holds! Pulling it about doesn’t do much!

Conclusion: Although it produces a ton of ends to be dealt with, I think I like it. I have a real need for plain cardigans at the moment, and I like the idea of be able to churn out a tube of knitting I can cut and knot to my needs. Another technique, another string to the bow!



Filed under Ramblings

The Improved Eyelet Buttonhole

The smallest possible buttonhole you can make in knitting is only one stitch wide, and one stitch tall. The classic eyelet buttonhole is simply yo, k2tog. It leaves a one stitch hole in your fabric, but it’s also a rather weak hole, prone to stretching out over time.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while – how to make the basic yo, k2tog buttonhole better. After some trial and testing, both by myself and some lovely people on Ravelry, I think I’ve got something worth posting about.


The Improved Eyelet Buttonhole is quite symmetrical and doesn’t have any single strands of yarn to take all the stress, unlike the yarnover eyelet. It’s also surprisingly stretchy considering how sturdy it is. It works best with a springy yarn, and a background fabric gauge that’s a little on the tight side. It’s particularly sturdy widthways, so I think it would work fantastically on baby cardis with knitted-in buttonholes, or button-up cuffs on gloves. Or anywhere where you need a small buttonhole really!

I happily admit to taking inspiration from the Tulips buttonhole by Techknitter, which is a rock-solid and perfectly symmetrical horizontal buttonhole. I’m a big fan of her approach to knitting construction in general. If you’ve also tried out the Tulips buttonhole, then maybe you’ll like this too.

The Improved Eyelet Buttonhole (IEB!) is worked over 3 rows and 1 stitch, and doesn’t require any extra equipment. The hole comes out at roughly the same size as a yarnover in the same yarn, and it’s centred on the second row. This eyelet involves significantly more steps than a yarnover eyelet, in much the same way the Tulips buttonhole requires more steps than a Bind-off/cast-on buttonhole, but hopefully it’ll prove worth it.

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Filed under Guides/How-to's