Wednesday, July 20, 2011


...I need to stop believing that sewing up finished knitting pieces is any easier or faster than the rest of the sweater-making activity.

It's very finicky work. I've "invisibly" set in one sleeve (I'm starting on the sleeves, then sewing up the side seams) and it took 2 hours. And I don't think it's awesome work. Picking up bars on one side and stitches on the other is laborious. I don't care what the books say, unless you're an automaton - or the pattern works on row numbers (as opposed to length measurements) exclusively, you're not necessarily going to have the exact same number of rows on every piece.

Knitters: Can you corroborate that invisible seaming takes a lot of time and that you don't count stitch for stitch but just do your best to align everything? Of course, if you manage it with the aplomb set out in the books, be gentle when you advise me as much.


  1. The last time I set in a sleeve, I tried SO hard to make it even and do it right and yet somehow it looked like crap and took about four SOLID HOURS... and then I ripped it out. And then I somehow magically figured out what I'd done wrong, and did it again, perfectly, in about 20 minutes.

    The sad thing is, I took no notes and I bet the next time I have to set in a sleeve I'll go through the same process again!

    But yes - if you're matching up a top/bottom to a side, it's pretty much impossible to line them up perfectly. The thing is, it's actually quite forgiving, so easy to do intuitively, if you can let go. (My inner perfectionist hates this process, though, and always counts the rows/stitches while fretting away...) And while it IS possible to perfectly match up two sides, it's not actually necessary.

  2. I've just started knitting my first sweater. I've been wondering how it will work
    When it is time to put .the whole thing together. I think I will definitely be trying to doo the best I can without lining things up stitch for stitch!

  3. Absolutely agree - sewing seams is a pain and I often put it off for a long time after a project is finished before tackling it. A trick I’ve found works for me is eyeballing the surfaces that need to be matched and then pining them with safety pins at reasonable intervals, that way instead of worrying about very large pieces that needs to fit evenly, I go for more manageable chucks between the safety pins. And whoever says they count stitch to stitch is either flat out lying or knitting genius… I have yet to meet one of those.

  4. Can you just sew it together with a sewing machine? I saw that Jessica (green apples) did a buttonhole on one of her knitted projects, which I think would be much more tricky, so surely you could just sew it. And maybe it would be stronger that way? 'Course, I know less than nothing about knitting, so maybe you should just ignore me, LOL!

    I'm dying to see the finished sweater though...the pieces and inspiration piece looked so pretty!

  5. I'm not the perfectionist you are, and I still find seam-sewing really frustrating. After decades and decades of knitting, I still keep thinking I should take my LYS' course, Fear of Finishing.
    One useful technique one of the LYS women showed me is to grab one of those packs of plastic stitch-holders that look something like safety pins (or, obv., just use safety pins), and join the seams at the halfway point, then the quarters, then the eights, etc. depending on how long the seam is. Because you're absolutely right -- you're never going to get a bar-to-bar match-up on both sides and sometimes some judicious jimmying is required.

    In response to CGCouture's question, of course you'd lose the give you want and get some wonkiness in your seam, but back in the day when practicality was more an issue than style, my grandma used to sew up sweater seams, especially for her Cowichan-style (White Buffalo) sweaters.

  6. Golly, knitting does sound awfully complicated. I think I'll stick to sewing for now...

  7. I do what Andrea said. I measure the edge with tape measure then section off equally.

    I was so nervous when I started knitting because I kept reading on Ravelry that people hated seaming. But I don't find it hard. Just time consuming.

  8. I crochet rather than knit, but it's still hard to get the pieces to line up evenly. One reason why I look for garments that can be crocheted as one piece. Perhaps this is your next frontier -- conquering the one-piece knits?

  9. I hate sewing seams, and will do pretty much anything to avoid it... such as not making sweaters.

  10. Ms. M: I've given up on the perfectionism of row for row. It seems to look just fine...

    Karin: I'm giving you good knitting vibes! Don't worry about the stitch for stitch. I don't think it's necessary and it's almost impossible.

    Andrea: That's exactly what I did and it worked great.

    CGC: See mater's comment below - she knows the score. I really wanted to pull out the machine!

    F: As I said via email exchange, I want to attend that course! As always, thanks for sharing your expertise...

    Susan: It is, and it isn't. I think it's easier than sewing when you know what you're doing. Not that I fall into that camp :-)

    Raven: You're right! It's not hard but it takes much longer than you imagine. Probably 5 or 6 hours to do this sweater and it's 2 shoulders and 2 side seams.

    LSCG: Don't think the whole "knitting in the round" thing hasn't crossed my mind. May play a role in my next project...

    Audi: Touche honey. :-)