I'd noticed in comments and emails that there's some confusion over the difference between Norwegian-style and Fair Isle-style steeks. The Steek Series (now edited and re-organized for your coherent reading pleasure!) focused on Fair Isle steeks exclusively, though the principles of decreasing and placement are useful when working with Norwegian steeks, too.
I kept meaning to do a little piece on the difference, but kept putting it off - last night, I noticed that the steek series was getting fairly frequently referenced and linked-to (which rocks! Woot!), but occasionally in the wrong context. I'd really hate for anyone to try to follow it and have their project fail, so, without further ado - Scottish v Norwegian Steeks
While Fair Isle steeks use extra stitches cast on mid-row to form a bridge of waste stitches at armhole and neck, Norwegian-style sweaters knit in the round are formed as one continuous tube from ribbing to shoulder. The traditional drop-shoulder shape means no decreases are done at along the armscyes, and no stitches are held at the armpit. When the body is completed and the shoulder stitches bound off or held, it looks something like the diagram on the top left:
If the tube is flattened to put the side "seams" at the center, it would look like the diagram at top right. The center stitch is marked as the location of the armhole (thick dotted line).
A machine, set for a small stitch, is used to sew all around three sides of the center stitch (thin dotted line), taking care to completely surround the cutting line (bottom left). Finally, as at bottom right, the armhole is carefully cut open, keeping clear of the machine stitching on all sides.
The sleeves of a Norwegian sweater aren't picked up and worked from the body; rather, they're knitted seperately with a little extra length at the top and sewn in, with the extra length forming a facing to cover the machine stitching on the inside.
The main difference between Norwegian and Scottish steeks lies in that the body off the sweater itself is cut for Norwegian sweaters, while a flap of waste stitches seperates the cut edge and the body of the Fair Isle jumper. While Fair Isle steeks done in traditional Shetland wool need no reinforcement (the minimal fray doesn't matter, since the fray is well away from the knitting that matters), Norwegian steeks absolutely need machine sewing to create a sturdy edge.
It seems like an inelegant, sort of awkward system to me. I've voiced before my opinion on sewing machines and handknits - that is, they don't mix, period. To my mind, the wonderfully fluid, cushiony, drapey quality of handknit colored knitting is spoiled when the edges are squashed and stiffened by the one, two three lines of polyester-threaded machine sewing people put in to guard against fray. There's no reason why someone knitting Norwegian-patterned sweater couldn't put in some extra stitches at the armpit and use a hand-sewn or crocheted steek instead.
(I haven't discussed neck steeks in Norwegian sweaters because, frankly, I don't know how they were done traditionally. If the armholes are going to be steeked to allow circular knitting, of course you'd steek the necks to. But then, why do all the Norwegian sweater directions I've seen direct one to cast off center neck stitches and work flat, reattaching the yarn at the beginning of the knit row to maintain pattern continuity? In fact, I have my suspicions that the steek in drop-shouldered Norwegian knitting is a recent innovation borrowed/adapted from truly circular Fair Isle knitting, mostly because of its reliance on the sewing machine - anyone care to educate me? I love learning about this stuff).
Anyway. Look what I got!
Ironically, this picture sucks because the Ott Light is still in the box and not yet brightening my room with its "clear, accurate, comfortable" light, the one that'll let me see "with amazing clarity". It might have to perch on top of my printer because my desk is tiny and I don't see me suddenly becoming an organizational wonder anytime soon, but I'm glad to have it.
So-Called Argyle Socks
Thanks for all the nice comments! The pattern is a lot of fun to knit, though it grows pretty slowly.
The yarn is great -- do they make Baby Ull in that gorgeous red?
Which totally cracked me up - boy, do you guys have my number. Yes, I love Baby Ull (and it actually does come in a bunch of vivid, grown-up colors and not just insipid pastels), but I wanted something tightly spun, with a little more stitch definition for these. Which brings me to what Jess said:
What yarn are you using? It's got great stitch definition
It's Meilenweit Cotton, a cotton blend sock yarn from Lana Grossa. I bought it ages ago for the Austrian Knee Socks, but cannibalized them for this project. I might get back to those someday; we'll see.
For everyone who asked whether this is from a chart or my own - I did chart this out for myself, though I'm sure the idea's not very new. I started with plain purl blocks and moss stitch blocks, but the rhythm of the cable crosses meant that some blocks are odd-numbered and others even, which is very noticable in moss stitch. I like the twisted lines even better - and, to answer the topic Purly brought up, they pretty much act like 1x1 rib, drawing the sock in. I'm hoping this means a supportive, hugging fit, with no droop.
Yes, there will be a pattern. Yes, it will be free. It might wait until after the Olympics, but I'd be delighted to share this with you guys.
Speaking of patterns, the larger sizes for the Deep V Vest are on the way - very, very soon, I promise. I'm just double-checking the math now, and should have them up tomorrow night - thank you so much for your patience.