Saturday, October 31, 2009

Better Late Than Never

I was somewhere else - at least mentally. I am about six posts behind schedule (so much for schedules) but here I am, back at last, and I am going to talk about something I used to despise a lot and now only despise a little...


I don't know what it is but there are some of us (you see how I am making you an accomplice so as not to be the only one guilty) don't like the finishing on knitting. For me, it's because I never expected it. When we are learning how to knit, no one says, oh by the way, there's going to be some finishing work like seaming, blocking and there's also going to be math. They never tell you that up front. They always throw it in as an aside. "When you've finished casting off, sew in your ends." Why don't they tell us up front in the stitches and technique section of the pattern that you are going to have to come to terms with sewing in knitting. You will have to purchase a needle. You will have to thread the needle with yarn. You will have to work that thread and needle through the fabric you've knitted or you will not have a bag, sweater or soap holder.

They should tell us that.

But they didn't so I had to come to grips with all that and when I learned there was more than one way to make a seam, it got slightly more interesting and a lot more frightening. Which one do I use when? If I don't use the right one, will the finishing fairies come and take my Chibi away? (Not sure that's a bad thing.)

You know what made it all OK? Crocheting the seams.

I love crocheting the seams together. It's so much easier. The seams are neater and stronger and blend better. Once I discovered I could crochet seam just about anything, the other seaming stitches weren't so bad. I kinda like grafting. And I've turned the three needle bind off into a seaming technique that works really well. And mattress stitch will work when I can't crochet a seam (rare, I tell you, rare.) So, following is a small explanation on how you can seam your work together without fear.

First, make four swatches: two will be stockinette and two will be garter stitch. You will need these because your are going to mix them up and use them to practice your seaming. If your eyesight isn't the best or you just want to be able to see more clearly - use a big needle - like a thirteen. I personally would make the swatches with the needle size I use most often so I can get real time practice. So I would be somewhere around the 8-10.75 needle range. You'll use these swatches over and over as you practice your stitchery.

For now, we'll talk about my favorite method of seaming - crocheting you two pieces together.

1. You'll want the right sides facing each other unless you want a slight raised effect on the right side. You'll work from the right to the left.

2. Take your crochet hook (it should be the approximate size as your knitting needles) and push the hook from the front to the back going through both swatches. Wrap the working yarn around the hook and pull it back through to the front. You should have one loop on your hook.

3. Push the hook through the next two stitches (one from each side.)

4. Wrap the working yarn around the hook and pull back through to the front side. (You should have two loops on the hook)

5. Pull the first loop on the hook through the second loop. (You should have one loop on the hook.)

Repeat steps 2-5.

When you get to the last stitch, you will pull it through just like you would the last stitch of a traditional bind off.

That's all there is to it.

If you need photos or to watch a video, YouTube has a few you can look at or put 'crocheting seams' in a search engine and you will get plenty of results.

It's fast and easy and makes a great looking seam. If you do it in the same color yarn, it's an almost invisible seam and if for some reason you need to take it out, it rips out like a dream. I don't mind doing seams like this.

Hopefully you'll find it useful,too.



KSD said...

That's how I was taught to put things together --- crocheting. Using a darning needle is what I came late to!

Beverly said...

I wish someone would have told me about crocheting the seams together earlier, but then I may have never learned to pick up the needle at all and it does come in handy sometimes!

Thanks for your comment!


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