Anatolia by Marie Wallin

So, have you seen Rowan Magazine 54 yet? I finally got my hands on a copy yesterday and there are some wonderful designs in there. My two favourites are probably Anatolia by Marie Wallin – a beautifully luscious yoked sweater knit up in rich shades of Felted Tweed – and Sarah Hatton’s Melissa – a neat and eminently wearable wee gansey.

Melissa by Sarah Hatton

As previously mentioned, I have a design in the Magazine for the first time (woohoo!) and Rowan have also kindly included a profile of me and my work in this issue.



Additionally, I have written an editorial feature about knitting in the round and steeking, and produced a steeking how-to for this issue of the magazine. My tutorial includes instructions for crocheted and machine-sewn steeks, while my feature explores different technical aspects of chopping up your knitting, along with the history and etymology of the steek (did you know, for example that in Scots ‘to steek’ actually means to close or fasten, rather than to cut open?)

As part of my research for the feature, I had a chat with lovely Stephen West. I am a great admirer of Stephen’s approach to design, and really love his style, and I was blown away by the steeked sweater-pants that he began to make last year out of his Amsterdam thrift-shop finds.


For the feature, Stephen sent me some fabulous images of a pair of SWANTS (Sweater-Pants) that he’d whipped up from a vintage Setesdal sweater, but as these didn’t make Rowan’s final selection for the magazine, I can (with his permission) show them to you here.


For me, Stephen’s SWANTS really sum up the approach to steeking which I have tried to get across in the the feature – viz – to just go for it and have fun . . .


I love the SWANTS!

If you’d like to have a go at steeking and refashioning your own pair of SWANTS, Stephen tells me that a tutorial or two will be forthcoming on his blog this Autumn. Thanks, Stephen!

40 thoughts on “steeks and swants

  1. Dear Kate, Lovely article in Rowan. I can’t wait to try steeking for the very first time. Quick question: At which point in this process do you soak and block the fabric? Thank you, Nara


  2. An article about steeking in Rowan magazine? wow!?!
    I have seen several patterns I like from Rowan, for example the Orkney cardigan (, and each time I am disappointed (and surprised) that an all over colourwork cardigan is worked flat, in five pieces, and seamed…! Maybe that will change after your article. Hope so!


  3. I wants me some Swants.

    SWants = Stephen West Pants
    SWants = Sweaterpants

    That Stephen, he is adorable, clever, and so kind to be forthcoming with a tutorial. Kate, you were so kind to share these *charming* photos of Stephen and his Swants. Congratulations on your Rowan Mag design, and yes indeed, that is a lovely image of you they’ve chosen for the piece as well.



  4. <>>
    But isn’t that what we do when we “steek” is close the knitting so we can knit in the round and then we “cut the steek”?
    Maybe I just see it a bit differently.
    Congrats on the Rowan article and it is great that you are getting the attention you deserve in the knitting community and BEYOND!


  5. Looks like a great mag, don’t know how to get it in Northern Italy but I suppose I can try to see if they ship over here. I did sewn steeks when I I first learned to knit but have been using much smoother yarns and set-in and/or raglan lately. Can you steek when you do a set-in sleeve?


  6. Hope some more knitters get on the steeking bandwagon Kate. Try as I may, so many knitters over here in the US are scared to death to cut their knitting. Good for you for getting Rowan to publish an article about steeking. And congrats on the design in their mag. Have a great weekend.


  7. Rowan 54 hasn’t arrived in my LYS yet, so I’ve asked them to reserve a copy for me. I’m eagerly awaiting your design and feature.

    Btw, how is your study of women’s uniforms doing?


  8. omg those swants are hilarious and inspiring!
    congrats on the Rowan feature and profile! i need to scout out a copy asap. <3


  9. So how do we get a copy of this issue of Rowan in the US? I want one now! So happy for the wonderful exposure you are getting, well deserved and so fun for me to keep on learning about the art and creativity of knitting.


    1. Jimmy Beans Wool is taking pre-orders of this issue on their website now. (No affiliation; I just like their service).


  10. The swants don’t do it for me, but perhaps I’m not adventurous enough. Much better, even delightful, is the photo of you. As I am an avid steeker, I’ll have to get a copy of the mag. Congrats.


  11. Nice photo of you with the mountains in the background. There’s a lot to like in Rowan 54 – and I’d include several of the “textural, everyday designs” like that very wearable jumper/sweater.

    And those swants! I bet they’re super comfortable. Go Stephen.


  12. Those Swants are awesome! I loved reading your feature on knitting in the round and steeking in the new Rowan Magazine and I love your Sontag shawl! I’ve also enjoyed reading your Textisles magazine too :)


  13. what fun and ingenuity ……swants! and timely, my sister goes to iceland in sept so sent her the link. will get that rowan when i make it into town……….not happy driving in a city with broken wrist :( probably not legal either………


  14. Rowan Magazine always publishes the most amazing knits. It is one of the best knitting magazines ever produced,always featuring certain designs to please. As for West’s pants: a definate thumbs down. Not the first time a sweater has been maligned and desiccated. West should stick to dancing.


  15. Love Stephen’s work and his Swants. Congratulation on your Rowan success. Can’t wait to pick up the issue. Fun post :-)


  16. Woohoo indeed! I must find a copy of this magazine, if I can do that here in the states. It will be good to read about you even more.

    Does Stephen West wear his swants on the street? I like them right away but they would probably be frowned upon here in Stodgeville. Bravo for creativity and self confidence!


  17. Love Stephen’s Upcycling! Elizabethan codpiece is hilarious :) I had better seek out new Rowan mag for your article – thanks for letting us know!


  18. What interesting timing. Last night I read your tutotial on crochet steeking. I have done only machine steeks in the past. I will look for the new Rowan as I am very eager to read your article there. Thank you for alerting us.


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