One of my Unfinished Objects (UFOs) has become airborne again. One reason I put it aside is that before I could continue, I had to take my scissors to it. Cutting into something I've spent months knitting still makes me nervous even though I've done it quite a few times. However, I no longer hyperventilate (much).
A steek is a vertical set of stitches that are inserted in stranded knitting as a place to cut later. Since my Mayan Dreams sweater is to be a cardigan with sleeves, I had a steek the entire length of the front and steeks on each side beginning at the underarm.
Many people sew along each side of the steek with a sewing machine before they cut it. Some add a crochet chain before they cut to stabilize the edge. But since I am very lazy, I do no preparation. This works for both Shetland yarn or the Kauni yarn I am using for this sweater because these yarns are so sticky they don't want to unravel. I proved this to myself by cutting a swatch and pulling at the edges. It's also the method recommended by Alice Starmore. By the way, I am so pleased that Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting has been reissued by Dover. It's the best book I've seen for both techniques and inspiration for Fair Isle knitting. Considering that I paid $24.95 in 1988 and the list price is again $24.95, it's quite a bargain.