One major barrier I was reluctant to tackle in knitting was the concept of steeking. To steek is to knit an item, then take a sharp scissor and cut the knit fabric (which may have taken months to create). I had some practice when I cut an old sweater sleeve for Shirley to make a cat coat. But there was no risk there. The sweater was already rejected by all who came in contact with it.
Why would one want to steek? There are lots of times in knitting when it is easier to knit something in the round – in one big circle. Fair Isle garments, with their colorful patterns, are knit in the round, which is fine for a hat or a pullover, but if you want a cardigan, or even sleeves in the pullover, it has to be cut. In my case, I wanted to knit a cardigan with a striped yarn. So I added a few extra stitches in the middle, knit the whole sweater in the round and then stitched two protective seams just off the middle and cut between them. I fiddled around with adding a button band and sewing down the cut edges and voila, a cardigan knit in the round.
I’m off to cut up all my knit items. Or to learn how to knit backwards.