We're almost ready to cast-on for this fall's most magical adventure - the Meadow Wrap Knit-A-Long together with awesome designer extraordinaire Dee Hardwicke. After weeks and weeks of preparations, we are nearly there, the excitement is building and I am so eager to get that wrap onto my needles I can literarily taste it!

Meadow large version

In preparing, picking the most gorgeous colour combos for our kits, wrapping up those lovely bundles, showing you all the pictures and talking about it on our socials, I've also done a bit of experimenting. The Meadow Wrap is made using quite dense stranded knitting, giving it an almost woven look and feel (with all the squish you could possibly want for), and the pattern calls for it to be worked back and forth. Along the way several of you asked me 'can the wrap be worked in the round?' Originally planning to follow the pattern to the dot, your question intrigued me and then had me going - could this be done? I decided to find out...

So obviously, working an asymmetrical flat shape in the round will require some cutting. A technique called steeking, and which I am not familiar with at all, but one I have wanted to try for quite some time. My first question was how would this turn out on the needles, and giving it some thought I found that the solution would be to knit according to the pattern keeping all decreases in place, and just add the steeking stitches, the result will then be a cone shape rather than a tube, and when cutting ... voila ... you'll have the same shape as when working the wrap flat.

Meadow in studio

My next question was, would steeking work with with the yarn we're using, the ultra-lush super-soft John Arbon's Knit by Numbers? My limited knowledge about seeking is that pure wool makes magic, the coarser the yarn the better, the more grip it has the more willing will the fibres be to stick together. I know that slippery and smooth yarns are not ideal for steeking, and I've heard that super-wash Merino belongs to this category. But the Knit by Numbers is a non-superwash Merino, and all though very soft it is a 100% wool for sure. I had a chat with lovely Sonja of John Arbon and she thought it would work brilliantly, and so my next step was to make up a swatch to find out for sure. Of course, on top of this was the considering of the design itself, my experiment had to stay true to this. I wanted the end result to be as close to the original as possible. You've probably noticed what a beautiful edging the Meadow Wrap features, and maintaining this was paramount to me, so I had to come up with a way to do this where the steeking would not interfere with the final look.

Ok, so off I went - and my set up was this:

I will cast on the amount of stitches required in the pattern, and work the 3 rows for the lower edge back and forth as instructed. Then the first row of the chart until there are 3 sts remaining, place those 3 last edge stitches and the 3 edge stitches at the beginning of the row on holders, to be worked later when picking up for the edges. Now to set up for the steek, at the end of the row (now to become a round) I cast on 1 right side edge stitch (for picking up for the edge later), 3 steeking stitches, and 1 left side edge stitch = 5 more stitches. And close to work in the round. When working the Meadow pattern from now on, you will follow the pattern between those edge stitches except from the first and last 3 edge stitches you've got on the holders. I didn't include the decreases in my swatch, but those 2 stitches described in the pattern will then happen at the end of the round. Remember 2 rounds equal a RS and a WS row, so your decreasing will happen every other round. You will carry both of your working yarns across the five new stitches, I kept the colour of edge stitches as in the pattern, and I did the steeking stitches checkered only because I've read that it makes it easier to keep track of your securing later, but I believe you can just as well do them striped if your prefer that.

Swatch ready for edging.

So, my swatch is knitted up, next thing I did was to cast off those 5 extra stitches and place the remaining working stitches on a holder. Please note, as I did my swatch as a tube and not a cone, when working the actual wrap we'll end up with far less working stitches at this point, I think 3 sts and we'll work the tip as instructed in the pattern.

I also think that this is a good spot to weave in all ends, which I didn't on my swatch, but it will make for a cleaner surface when picking up the edge, which is the next thing to do.

Picking up stitches for the edge

As we are working edges that are supposed to meet at the tip of our wrap, it is important to pick up from the top working down to the cast-on edge, so that your working yarn ends up where you have your 3 edge stitches waiting on holders. We are picking up through both loops of our edge stitches. I've always found it easier to pick up stitches neatly using a crochet hook. Facing the work I did the left side of the steek first (which will be the right side of your wrap when cut), then the right. I used a long circular in combination with a double pointed needle working my edges and did as follows:

Left edge: Pick up sts making sure working yarn is at the cast on end. Now turn work so you'll start at the WS when edging. Picked up stitches needle in your right hand, shorter dpn in your left.
Place 3 sts from holder onto left needle, slip 1st st from right needle onto left needle = 4 sts.
WS row: K2tog through back loop, p1, k1, turn.
RS row: k1, p1, k2tog through back loop, with yarn in front transfer 1 st from left needle to the right, turn.
Repeat these 2 rows until all picked up stitches have been worked into the edge, leaving 3 sts on holder to be worked later.

Right edge: Pick up sts making sure working yarn is at the cast on end. You'll start at the RS when edging. Picked up stitches needle in your right hand, shorter dpn in your left. Place 3 sts from holder onto right needle, slip 1st st from left needle onto right needle = 4 sts.
RS row: k1, p1, k2tog through back loop, with yarn in front transfer 1 st from left needle to the right, turn.
WS row: K2tog through back loop, p1, k1, turn.
Repeat these 2 rows until all picked up stitches have been worked into the edge, leaving 3 edge sts in the end.

When doing my swatch I then placed all the working stitches onto my needles and worked the top edge maintaining the seed stitch. After completing my edge, I then wove in all my ends. You want to weave your ends onto the corresponding wrap side, and not across your steeking stitches. When working the tip of our Meadow wrap, we will have 9 sts in total, and will work the tip as instructed in the pattern. Another note: For easy swatching and illustration purposes, I did my edge in one colour, when working on my actual wrap I will change the edge colour according to the colours established in the pattern, when done I will pull my ends through to the back of the work and weave them in before proceeding to secure my steeks.

Swatch edging complete

Right, so this is where the nerve wrecking fun begins! Securing the steeks before cutting. You can do this using a sewing machine, but mine is rather moody and I don't trust it at all, so I opted for a crochet alternative. I've seen his been used quite often, and I do think it makes a lovely edge inside the edge of the wrap, so that it is coherent with the design. Also, I am considering using a contrast colour of some sort to add a bit of surprise to my wrap - but please know that the bright blue I used here is solely to make sure my pictures became as clear as possible when showing the process. And also, while I'm at it, please excuse the lack of styled, well lit and pretty pictures in this post, I've basically just snapped them sat in my living room working through this experiment.

I found this tutorial by Kate David the most helpful and basically did exactly what is described there, and this is how it looks like when done.

Steeks secured

Off to make the cut ...

Making the cut

Every proper experiment needs a proper conclusion right? Did it fail or is it a success?

I'm over the moon telling you that my experiment definitely worked, and my conclusion is that I will knit my Meadow Wrap in the round. If you want to join me in this, please do, I'll be sharing further thoughts and the process on this as we are KAL-ing over in our Ravelry group. But note, the pattern is written for working the wrap flat, and our KAL is not a steeking workshop, if you join me please look at it as your own experiment and you're doing it at your own risk.

Also, I did make a video of the actual cutting, which I'll try to get up on the KWA Instagram TV later today.

Personally I think that this adaption of the pattern stays true to the design, and this way of steeking gives a very discreet difference on the wrong side that will lay flat along the edge after weaving in the ends and blocking.

Swatch back
Swatch front

I'm no expert on steeking at all, but pop your questions in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them - if nothing else I think that showing you my first attempt steeking proves that it really isn't a hard technique to do, it mostly requires some confidence... Final note - I've not done any calculations or measuring of how much yarn used - but I do believe that when working in the round, with the separate edging and the steeking, you will need a bit more yarn that what is called for in the Meadow Wrap pattern.