The final three: afterthoughts, colour dominance, and nail-biting steeks

The final three A Year of Techniques projects for winter were all about demystifying techniques that some knitters find particularly intimidating.

December’s pattern was Jim’s Hedera Helix Socks which featured afterthought openings. Inserting waste yarn to later add a heel or thumb has so many benefits. If you’re using a self-patterning or gradient yarn, or in the rhythm of a lovely Fair Isle or cable pattern, using the afterthought method allows you to continue your knitting uninterrupted.

Jim’s Hedera Helix Socks feature an afterthought heel, which means you can focus all your attention on the gorgeous twisted stitch cables and work the sock heel later!

Jim’s Hedera Helix Socks feature an afterthought heel, which means you can focus all your attention on the gorgeous twisted stitch cables and work the sock heel later!

I’m personally a big fan of afterthought heels and thumbs, but I’ve noticed that when I talk about them with other knitters, they often think they sound very complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Jen demonstrates in the video tutorial that accompanied this project:

The December knitalong resulted in some really lovely versions of Jim’s design, as well as other gorgeous projects that made use of afterthought openings, including fun striping socks and breathtaking mitts and mittens. Innovative Sara even used the technique to add a pocket to her stunning Top of Techniques!

January had us learning about colour dominance in colourwork knitting with Fair Isle master Ella Gordon’s Shaila Mittens. The small peerie motifs of Ella’s design provided a great opportunity to practice holding our yarns in a consistent way.

Angelika ( Noahsark5302 ) knit her very neatly stranded Shaila mittens in just a week!

Angelika (Noahsark5302) knit her very neatly stranded Shaila mittens in just a week!

Steeking was the final technique, which featured in Mary Jane Mucklestone’s adorable Oorik tank top. Steeking sends some knitters into a cold sweat — after all that work knitting (and maybe managing colour dominance as well), it’s understandable that the thought of taking scissors to the project might cause a bit of panic. But it’s actually easy — especially when you’ve used a super sticky wool like Jamieson & Smith Jumper Weight. Jen’s video for the February technique takes you through steeking step-by-step, including details on how to crochet reinforce your steek:

Whether it was their first steek or their fifth, knitters in the accompanying Ravelry knitalong produced a lovely array of steeked objects (you can browse the photos in the Ravelry thread here).

And just like that, our year of learning and fun came to an end! If you missed out the first time around, we’ve got copies of A Year of Techniques in the shop. We also still have kits for Shaila Mittens and the Oorik Tank, as well as several shades of the Schoppel Admiral 6-ply used for Jim’s socks, in stock!

Not long now until we’ll have full details on the next A Year of Techniques … do sign up to the newsletter if you want to stay up to date!