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The deeper I get into knitting, the more I love it and the more I realize I still have a lot to learn.

Learning how to steek a sweater is one of the things I have wanted to do for a really long time. I know you all know I love sweater knitting—I also really love cardigans but hate purling. Knitting a sweater in the round and including steek stitches would make it so much quicker for me to finish a cardigan.

I knew this, but I never tried it on my own. So I did what I always do, I signed up for a class at my local yarn shop. Whenever I want to learn a new technique I always go to my local yarn shop to find a class. 

Recently, I took the virtual steeking class with Ann Budd at Fibre Space and finally learned the techniques and tips I needed to get over my fear of steeking. Whenever I learn a new technique I feel like I grow and enrich my knitting. Even steeking a little cup holder made me feel so accomplished because I conquered my fear and got excited about steeking again.

A Quartet for your Queue

Since I’m in a steek state of mind I thought I’d share some patterns that involve steeking to get you interested in learning a new technique too. All pattern names link to Ravelry and designer names link to the designer’s website or Instagram.

Budding by Anna Johanna

The blossoming colorwork on Budding makes me think of spring and flowers in full bloom. This cardigan is at the top of my steeked designs list. Plus all of the color possibilities are already swirling around in my head. 

Palmetto by Emilia Jensen

I remember when I saw Palmetto way back in 2017, I knew I wanted to knit it. Then I read the instructions and saw it had steeks and I just tucked it away for later. Perhaps four years is long enough to wait on a sweater? I love contrast stripe details on the shoulder and ribbing and I feel like I could come up with such a creative color combination. I’m itching to give this one a try once school is out. 

Melting Point by Caitlin Shepherd

Melting Point feels like a bold project to take on for a first steek, but I’m feeling brave and bold. Maybe you are too. I also know that the cardigans I wear around the house the most are my long cardigans because they just feel so cozy and comforting on chilly days. 

Briyoke by Matilda Kruse

Two color brioche knitting really is my absolute favorite kind of knitting, so of course I would find a brioche cardigan to steek. If you’re afraid of brioche and steeking, this might be a daunting project to take on, but just taking a pattern line by line is the way I like to work. It’s okay if you make mistakes, hopefully you’ll learn something valuable from them. 

Whether it’s tackling colorwork, trying steeking, dipping a toe into brioche, or just attempting your first sweater, don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back. Enrich yourself with more knitting knowledge through your local yarn shop or an online class. I promise, you’ll feel so much braver after you do. 

Save it for later. Keep Dana’s Edit recommendations handy in your MDK account. Here’s how.
Photo Credits: dana williams-johnson, anna johanna, emilia jensen, caitlin shepherd, matilda kruse, PomPoM QUARTERLY, Laine MAGAZINE

About The Author

Dana Williams-Johnson knits every day. Knitting is what brings Dana joy, and she shows that through her use of color (hello, rainbows) and modifications of favorite patterns into replica sweaters for her dogs.

You can read about it all on Dana’s blog, Yards of Happiness, and watch her video podcasts on YouTube.


  • Whenever I see a new update from Dana, I am ALL OVER IT. I love her spirit and joy, and her way of explaining things makes me think I might actually be able to do something that looks complicated and hard. I am always cheered when Dana writes. Extra bonus? Her color choices are the BEST!

    • I completely agree! Thanks for these suggestions Dana, I added 2 to my favorites.

  • Daaaaaaaana (hear the whine of a desperate knitter lol) noooooo! Why? Why? After I just purchased two sweaters worth of wool yesterday do you give us these beautiful sweaters? Interesting choices! I just added Budding to my queue. Melting Point may get another glance.
    So, (sarcastic tone) thanks a lot. Lol!!
    But really thanks! Good choices!
    Happy knitting!

  • Every sweater showcased was absolutely wonderful. I have favorited them all. Thanks for bringing them together.

  • You are always an inspiration! I bet you are a terrific educator!

  • My day just got better because I started it with Dana.

  • I love Elizabeth Zimmermann’s instructions on steeking, which instruct you to “cut on basting, then lie down in a darkened room for fifteen minutes to recover.”

    • When I watched Anne Shayne’s video on steeking, an involuntary cry escaped my lips when she made the first cut. I think EZ was right about the emotional aspect of steeking: it’s about the antithesis of knitting, but it isn’t. Gotta lie down now…

    • I learned to steek from EZ too and have remembered and loved that advice. I still have her DVDs and watch them from time to time when I need to “knit on with confidence and hope through all crises.” 🙂

  • Thank you for highlighting these designers, had a wonderful time looking at all their designs and of course my que is even longer now.

  • I share your fear. To me, as a sewist, steeking is the antithesis of knitting …to cut a fabric that you created w ‘string’? But on my list of skills to learn.

  • Glad you found that steeking is just a technique and not something to fear. My first steeked item on my own was Kate Davies Rams and Yowes. Kate’s tutorial made it incredibly easy and my finished blanket earned a First Place at a local fiber festival. It’s on my Rav page.

  • Ooh I’d love to make Palmetto! Maybe someday (soon?!)

  • These are great choices and I love your little cup cardigan <3. Thanks for another inspiring post Dana.

  • Hi Dana, what is the pattern for the cardigan you’re wearing in your latest picture? Can’t see it well but I like the look of it. Thanks, Teresa

  • Budding has been in my queue for so long, but I also need to learn steeking. I know the principles and have seen videos of people steeking, but I haven’t done it. I need to do a cup cozy, then maybe I can finally move on to Budding!

  • Another great post. I’ve been wanting to learn steeking for eons. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • I love Dana’s edit; full of good advice and beautiful pattern recommendations – thank you.

  • Dana, Thank you so much for sharing this. I have a pair of socks just waiting for a “true afterthought heel” but I’ve been, honestly, too afraid to cut for them. In this pandemic I have no knitting buddy to guide me. It takes me 3 months to knit a pair of socks and the thought of ruining them has needlessly paralyzed me. Now I will take the time to knit a swatch (or a sock for a baby) and then practice picking up the stitches and starting the heel.

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