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It’s done, it’s done! Here are the finished shots of my Epic Knitting Project:

Project Details:
Pattern: Prairie Earth & Sky from Fearless Fair Isle Knitting, by Kathleen Taylor
Yarn: Cascade 220 Solids & Heathers
Needles: Sizes 7 & 8 circular (Hiya Hiya interchangeable, 4″ tips)
Size: 36″ bust (I’m a 35″)
Special Notes: Sleeves knit tandem, or as Taylor calls it, the “totally fearless way.”

I often joke that it takes as much time to do the finishing on a sweater (seams, buttonbands, weaving in ends, blocking. . . ) as it does to knit the sweater, but it was very true with this project!  I took a lot of pride in making the inside of my sweater as neat and perfect as the outside, and believe it really makes the difference between a “homemade” and “handmade” result.  And of course, I had a little help: Taylor’s notes on steek preparation and buttonband/collar pickups were terrific, resulting in a very professional finish.  I was also able to draw on my previous steeking experience with the Sleepy Monkey Blanket, for which I’d asked a few of the instructors I work with at Trumpet Hill for their input.  I also surfed knitty.com for past tutorials, which were extremely helpful!

My takeaway message: steeking isn’t nearly as scary as it seems.  Think of your knitting like any other fabric — you can cut it without fear that it will somehow speedily unravel, implode, or burst into flames.  Promise.  And it’s even a little bit fun!  There’s nothing like opening up a sweater to reveal the gorgeous stranding on the wrong side, where you can fully appreciate your awesome knitting skills.  There’s also no weaving in all those different ends — they’ve been cut away!  And, of course, no purling rows because you’re always on the right side of the work, knitting ’round and ’round.  If you’re feeling the itch to steek, go for it!