Some of my mitts patterns (e.g. San Marco and San Donato – coming soon) involve working a tube of stranded colourwork in the round, then creating a thumbhole using steeking. Additional columns of steek stitches are created as the mitt is worked.
I prefer the crochet method of reinforcing a steek, and can thoroughly recommend the tutorial by Kate Davies which can be found here. I used this tutorial the first time I ever tried steeking, with total success. It is not really as scary as it might seem!
Anyway, for someone new to steeking these mitts are a great way of practicing the skill on a small project first, as the steeks are quite short.
The photo below shows the 7 columns of steek stitches worked as part of the San Donato Mitt:
The technique involves first working a row of crochet stitches from the top edge of the steek down through the left side of each stitch in column 3 and the right side of each stitch in column 4. The crochet hook I used was 2.5mm (this works fine on stitches knitted with a 3mm or 3.25mm needle) and I used an fingering weight yarn which was stronger than the Spindrift used for the mitts (although for the San Marco Mitts I used the same Tukuwool fingering yarn throughout). See the Kate Davies tutorial for detailed explanations.
The same steps are then repeated from the bottom to top, joining the right hand side of stitches in column 5 to the left hand side of stitches in column 4.
Here’s a picture of the finished steek before cutting down the middle of the stitches in column 4.
And here’s a picture of the steeks in the San Marco mitts, after a fair bit of wear, showing how the edges have not frayed.
For greater detail on this technique, see the Kate Davies tutorial, noting that her example uses 5 instead of 7 steek stitches (therefore stitch 3 in my example equates to stitch 2 in hers).