Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Assembling a Pullover, Part Three

Thank you for joining me in this three-part tutorial on assembling a pullover. I know you're ready to finish up and wear your beautiful sweater, so let's get this done.

Now we come to seaming the side seams and sleeve seams of the pullover. This will be a breeze now that you've tackled that sleeve cap.

Let's seam the body first. As you can see, I usually like to leave a good, long tail when I cast on for each piece so that I can use that tail to seam. 

First, clip the edges together to keep your place.

To prepare for mattress stitch, make a figure eight by taking the working yarn into the first stitch opposite to where your yarn is emerging, back into the first stitch (where the yarn is originally attached) and back into the other piece again. Then tighten that up and proceed with mattress stitch.

Here is a my video on mattress stitch. I hope it's helpful!

As I have mentioned, I am working this finishing on my Figheadh Fundamental Women's Pullover, which is edged with garter rib stitch. Once you seam it, the edge is continuous. Nice.

Proceeding up the Stockinette stitch part of the body, work a few stitches and then zip them up, as we did on the sleeve cap. Keep working mattress stitch until reaching the underarm. Then cut the yarn, leaving about eight inches to weave in later.

That's when we can move on to the first sleeve seam. Clip those edges together and seam it the same way you did the body.

When you reach the underarm, you will have an intersection with all these crazy yarn ends. I had a few more than usual because this yarn is a hand-paint and I alternated skeins every two rows. When you weave in all these ends, close the hole well and weave them in opposite directions. I like to weave them into the seams--down the body and up the sleeve and then along the armhole seam one way and then the other. This keeps you from having so much bulk in any one seam.

There ya go. All ends tidied and ready to clip them a little closer. But first let's seam up the other side, add a collar, and wash and block it again. All this finishing adds yarn that has not been relaxed by washing and blocking. You will be very glad if you take that last step. If you're getting impatient, you can at least stretch out your finished sweater, pin it in shape, and spritz or steam the seams and collar. Either way, let it dry and then you can happily wear your work of art!

Thanks again for joining me! I hope this series has taken a little of the trepidation out of making a pieced sweater. See, it's not so bad!

Assembling a Pullover, Part Two

Welcome to part two of our tutorials about assembling your Figheadh Fundamental Women's Pullover! Of course, this will work on any of the Fundamental pullovers, and for any other pullover knit flat. 

Let's do this!

Once you have joined the front of your pullover to its back by seaming the shoulders, you can proceed to setting in your sleeves. 

Lay your pieces out flat with plenty of light. Using stitch markers or clips, find the top center of your sleeve cap and attach it to the shoulder seam edge. Then clip the edges down at the underarm where you first bound off stitches for the sleeve cap shaping. Then attach clips halfway between those two points. Then attach more clips halfway between each of those points. This will all help you to keep everything aligned as it should be. If you really want to make sure the halves of your sleeve cap are equal, you can start at the top center and work out from there. I usually just start at the righthand edge and work all the way up to the shoulder and back down the other side.
Let's try it underarm-to-underarm. Start at the right hand edge where you bound off stitches at the base of the armhole and work an invisible horizontal seam across all those bound off stitches. This is sort of akin to duplicate stitch in that you are creating stitches that mimic the knit stitch between the two edges. Keep it loose for a few stitches as above. 

Once you have worked a few stitches, tighten them up. Then work across the remaining bound off stitches and tighten those.

Once you have the bound off section seamed, you can transition to mattress stitch to work up the side of the sleeve cap until you reach the next set of bound off stitches at the top.

Working back and forth for a few stitches loosely...

...and then tightening every few stitches will help keep the edges visible.

Here is my video to show mattress stitch in action.

When you come to the bound off stitches at the top of the sleeve cap, revert to invisible horizontal seaming again. As before, work a few stitches at a time before tightening.

And you have the first half of your sleeve cap seamed! Yea!

Now work back down the other half the same way until you reach the bound off stitches at the other side, where you will work the invisible horizontal seam again. 

You made it! Now sit back and admire your work for a few minutes.

I won't lie to you and tell you that this is easy, but once you get some practice with this technique, you'll feel better about it all. 

And it's really fun to work this on a striped sweater. The stripes keep you in line!

Now it's time to seam the sides and sleeves. Go and rest a few minutes, and then read on for my last post in this series. Thanks for reading!

Yarn details: First sweater was knit with Cascade Lana D-Oro and the striped one is with Cascade 220.

Assembling a Pullover, Part One

We have recently updated the Figheadh Fundamentals Women's Pullover pattern to improve the sleeve caps and the shoulder/neck area, so I'd like to give you some pointers about how to put your pullover together. This will work for any pullover knit flat, but I hope you will try ours!

Once you have completed your four Fundamental Pullover pieces--front, back, and two sleeves--and blocked them all nicely, you're ready for bringing them together into one piece. Set aside a few hours for this, especially if this is your first. You will want to take breaks in between steps, even if you're a seasoned knitter. I like to take a whole day to do the assembly so that I know I have plenty of time to go slowly and carefully.

Let's examine the steps one by one so we can focus on the details. The first step is to seam your shoulders. There are a couple of different ways to do this, but I usually choose the 3-needle bind off. It keeps your stitches aligned perfectly and it's kinda fun!

To prepare for this bind off, place each set of shoulder stitches, front and back, on a separate needle. Take care to make sure each stitch is positioned correctly and not twisted. I usually use the longer circular for one set of stitches and the shorter circular for the other set of stitches. Then I use the other end of the longer circular to work the bind off--thus, the three needles. 

You can use straight needles or dpn's for this technique, but I shun the dpn's  for this. I like to be sure that the stitches in repose at the non-working end do not slip off while I am paying attention to what I'm doing on the business end. Whichever type needles you use, position the knit pieces right sides together with working ends of the needles together as shown here.

Attach a good length of your working yarn so that it comes from the back set of stitches, unless there is already enough length there from when you stopped knitting. Bind off as you would normally, but insert the right working needle tip into two stitches (one from the back and one from the front) instead of just one. Once you have knit two stitches (two double stitches, that is), pull the first completed knit stitch over the second. Repeat until all stitches have been bound off, cut your yarn, and pull the end through the last stitch.

Here's a link to my video showing this technique in action.

Work the same procedure on the other shoulder and you're done with the first step of your pullover assembly. It matters not whether you start at the armhole edge or the neck hole edge. Either way there will be ends to weave in.

Our next post will cover the second step of your pullover finishing, how to set in your sleeves!