You don’t have to be afraid February 13, 2012 – Posted in: Mondays with Mona

Of finishing, that is.

I am teaching a Finishing Class tonight. For three Mondays in a row six eager students want to learn about the techniques that make a knitted project ready to wear. We cover everything from weaving in ends, sewing seams and picking up stitches to placing buttonholes, binding off with a sewn bind-off method and much more.

Here are a couple of the things I am going to tell my students tonight:

Good finishing work takes time. While the knitting will take most of the time to complete a project, the finishing time should not be underestimated. This, however, should not discourage you from making your project as well made and good looking as you can ? it is the step from not looking homemade but handmade.

Finishing does not start once all pieces of a project are knit up and ready to assemble. A lot of the finishing work on a project is prepared while knitting. Put some thought into your knitting and finishing will be much easier to handle. Here are some markers for successful finishing:

  •  If the project is knit in pieces, you want a selvedge stitch for the seams on all edges, meaning the first and last stitch is kept in Stockinette Stitch. Well written patterns supply the information about selvedge stitches and specify how to work them.
  •  All decreasing/increasing like waist shaping, armhole shaping etc., should not occur directly on the edge, but 1 or, even better, 2 stitches into the knitting. 1 stitch decreases are worked as k2tog or ssk ? this makes any seaming easier. Decreases that cover more than 1 stitch are usually bind offs.
  • All pieces that need to match (like the fronts and the back of a sweater) should have the same numbers of rows ? yes, even when the pattern says ?knit until piece measures xx inches?, count the rows and make sure they are the same on all parts to ensure even and easy manageable seams. Placing locking/split ring stitch markers every 20/50 rows prevents excessive counting. The row count on your sleeves should match also.

Regarding seams: My favourite seaming method is Mattress stitch. It is worked from the right side of the knitting and when worked row by row gives you a barely visible seam. Always take in one full stitch when seaming. If it turns out that you do not have the same amount of rows on all the pieces, with Mattress stitch it is possible to fudge the seam (for example taking in 2 rows on the longer side while only taking in 1 row on the shorter) and still get a good looking result. There are opinions about taking in one or two rows – I prefer sewing row by row.

Mattress stitch can be used to seam shoulders also. Instead of seaming row by row, you seam stitch by stitch and match them up accordingly. This way all stitches line up and that makes picking up stitches for neck line or the armhole finishing easier, that is why I do it that way.  There are other methods to seam the shoulders, after getting comfortable with mattress stitch you might want to venture out and try other techniques – I am always for learning new things.

If you want to know more and feel like taking a class, check our schedule on the Espace Tricot website. While there you might find something else that piques your interest and is worthwhile trying!

– Mona