just knitting with
So, you’ve finished knitting and now comes the boring bit - putting the pieces together, adding buttons if necessary, and tidying up. Here are a few hints. Well, maybe some people find it interesting to see the whole thing come together! Here are some recommendations (the procedure I currently follow for my own work):
• CHECK the pieces will fit together. Lay them on the floor or table and satisfy yourself that the back and the front are the same length, the armholes match up, the sleeves are equally long and the front shapings are mirror images of each other. It won’t take long to put things right if necessary - better now than after you’ve seen up.
• RINSE your pieces. For a start, you can check the colour doesn’t run. Secondly, if using pure wool you can get rid of the lanolin smell. And thirdly, you can ease the pieces to the right shape and size while still damp. I like to gently squeeze out then leave the pieces on a towel for a while before laying them flat somewhere at room temperature to finishing drying. Some people do a process called ‘blocking’ which means pinning out each piece. This helps open up lacework to its full beauty and is necessary if your knitting is a bit scrunched up.
•SEW IN yarn ends. Thread them on to an embroidery needle and just weave in and out of the knitting near an edge, then cut off close.
NOW you’re ready to sew up. Knitting patterns are quite good at giving instructions for this, and tell you to start with joining the shoulders. Use a backstitch for this as it needs to be strong. Use quite small stitches, aim for a smooth straight line close to the edges and do not pull too much.
Set in the sleeves next. Fold a sleeve longways, and align the top of the fold with the shoulder seam. Pin into place, then continue pinning around the armhole in both directions, easing gently.
You can then sew up the side and sleeve seams in whichever order you like, but I usually pin first. Count your pins to make sure you remove them all later!
Sewing stitches - some people use ‘mattress stitch’ which they say is less visible, but I have gone back to using a careful backstitch for everything as it is quicker and I really can’t see any difference.
Ribbing - when you get to the ribs, oversew in small stitches for a flat finish which is more comfortable than having a bulky backstitch seam on the bare flesh of wrists and neck.