Friday, June 7, 2013

Making up is hard to do

The other day, a customer came in with her first ever jumper and made me aware of the limitations of making up instructions! The pattern said "Join the shoulder seams". With no guidance as to what shoulder seams actually were, she'd accidentally attached part of the front neck to the back of the garment. Very easily fixed, but it made me think - patterns for newer knitters really, really need to include diagrams showing how the pieces fit together.

Shoulder seams
When you look at a cast-off back or front, you will notice that there are 'steps' up the top of the knitted piece. Usually, the two pieces fit together with the highest steps joining (the neck edge), then the next, all the way down to the lowest (the sleeve edge).

This is the shoulder seam. To join the two pieces, thread a wool needle with the same yarn you used to knit the garment and sew a horizontal seam. Berrocco have put together a very good video on how to do this - I don't want to even try to write it out, it is much easier to show than to explain. Personally, I sew from the edge into the neck, but there is no right or wrong direction as far as I know.

Once you have the shoulder seam in place, put your garment flat on a firm surface. If I'm making something up for myself, I usually sit it on the bed or the sofa - for customers, I'll lay the work out on the counter just to make sure that I have it perfectly flat and even.

Take the cast off edge of the sleeve and fold it in half: pin the stitch at the halfway point to the shoulder seam.

The sleeve will have two 'points' about halfway down, where you did your first shaping cast offs. Pin the points to the matching points on the front and back of the garment. (If you look at the photo below, you can see the point on the back clearly).

Sleeve ready to be pinned

Sew the top of the sleeve into place: I usually begin at the centre and work around to each point.

Once you've set the tops of the sleeves in, pin each side. I usually pin the hem, the armpit and the cuff: you may want more pins to hold the work more securely. Sew one long mattress stitch seam from the hem up to the armpit, then down the sleeve to the cuff to finish your garment.

Thread any loose ends into the seams and you're done!

If you want more information, there's a good article about seaming on the Vogue Knitting website with illustrations and Interweave TV has a Seaming Primer episode that is pretty easy to follow. I think it's always worthwhile taking a bit of time to review seaming techniques before you start making something up - after going to all the effort of knitting or crocheting a garment, you want the finishing to be as perfect as possible!

Jo Sharp Moebius Scarf (worn as cowl) Jo Sharp Moebius Scarf (worn long)
In other news, the Jo Sharp Moebius Scarf is off the needles. I love it! Funny, I would never in a million years have thought to knit it for myself, but it has quickly become my all-time favourite scarf. Very warm and soft!

Unfortunately, my Moebius class prep is not coming along quite so well. Garnstudio has an idiot-proof Moebius cast on - unfortunately, in Norway, they have really smart idiots. 
When I try it, the continental cast on is so tight that I can't pick up the stitches into it. I'm working on the Cat Bordhi idiot-proof Moebius cast on after I finish this blog - maybe I can get a version of that which won't leave half the class fighting to drive their needles into a cast on edge? Stay tuned...

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