Tuesday, April 5, 2016

No seam knitting

The bit I hate most about knitting is making up the garment once I've finished actually knitting all the pieces.  Maybe it's because my tension tends to be fairly loose and the seams end up looking quite holey.  Or it could be my inability to keep the end stitches even in size, so lining up the pieces properly can get a bit tricky.  I decided that I'd overcome this personal headwreck by using circular knitting needles.  Presto chango! No seams :D

Then my son asked me for a hooded cardigan, instead of a jumper.  So bang went my circular knitting plan.  But I figured that I'd try to make it in one piece, working back and forth along the circular needles instead of around.  I don't know if that's actually a thing or not, so I didn't bother looking for any patterns to tell me how to do it.  Instead, I took inspiration from regular cardigan patterns and basically stuck the instructions together in my head.  It was pretty easy until I got to the shaping bits for the sleeves and the front.  That got a little complicated, so I ended up making a chart in excel so that I could more easily keep track of the shaping.

I tried to do something clever to knit the shoulder seams together, but I couldn't quite figure out how to do what I was trying to do, so in the end I had to go old school and actually sew them together, but that was the only bit of seaming that I needed to do.  After that, I knit the sleeves in working from the top shoulder seam down, casting on directly into the arm hole, so again there was no need for separate sewing in.  I worked back and forth on the circular needles until I got from the top of the shoulder down to the join under the arm, then I was able to work the rest of the sleeve down in a single piece without any seams.  (I used a shorter circular needle for the sleeves than I did for the main body!)

Finally, I picked up the stitches around the neckline to work up the hood.  The last test of my patience was the request for a zipper up the front instead of buttons.  The whole point of this exercise was to avoid having to sew anything!  But nothing else would do him, so in went the zipper.  I was terrified that I'd mess up the tension along the zip and end up with either side of the cardigan puckering unevenly along the front.  I pinned the closed zipper in place to make sure that it was even and then sewed it in.  It wasn't quite as awful as I had anticipated.

Bearing in mind that I was not working off any actual pattern, and my son is at that awkward stage where he's too big for children's patterns, but not quite big enough for men's patterns, I was guessing the sizes and holding things up against him to see if they were long enough.  Clearly, I overestimated - or I've got the Irish mammy "He'll grow into it" syndrome - but he likes his sloppy cardigan.  He also likes that the hood makes him look like Emperor Palpatine.

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