Posted by: jinniver | November 5, 2008

Black Magic

Several weeks ago, my sister-in-law gave me my first knitting request–a white cardigan for my baby niece to wear to a wedding. The first problem I ran into was forgetting the importance of dye lot, but I managed to make lemonade out of those lemons.  The next problem I had was one that filled me with trepidation:  seaming.

I’d never really seamed anything before…at least, not properly.  I did knit two sweaters for Jeffrey when I first started knitting, but the first one just wasn’t nice and the second one was unwearable since I bound off the neck too tight.  I didn’t worry about the seams in the first because it was a practice piece, and the second sweater was knit from a fuzzy yarn so the seams were invisible.  My only other attempt was with Lexie’s Fiesta Dress, where the “unseemly seams” were the least of my issues.  After that, I looked for and designed patterns that could be knit in the round, trying to avoid seams at all cost.

So, once I’d finished knitting all the parts of Stella’s cardigan, I gave them a good hard look…and sighed.  I knew that it was time to finally learn how seam properly.

But it seemed like every time I read any discussions about seaming, they were always laments about how hard it was, or how long it took, or how badly the poster had screwed it up.  So I gritted my teeth and prepared to suffer lots of pain for a long time.

Oh, me of little faith…

The most important first step, I discovered, was to find a great tutorial on the mattress stitch.  I tried a few I didn’t like, both written instructions and videos, before settling on the tutorial offered by Knitty. The directions were written to be both detailed and concise, and the pictures provided exactly the illustration needed.  I picked up project and needle with much more confidence than I’d expected to have.

Once I got it started, I laid the project flat on the table in front of me and wove the needle through the stitches as instructed.

mattress seam stitch 1

Then I took a deep breath…

mattress seam stitch 3

…and pulled on the yarn.

mattress seam stitch 4

And that was it. After the first two iterations of weaving and pulling, I was feeling confident enough to lean back in my chair and hold my project on my lap, instead of laying it flat on the table (and, in fact, it was a lot more comfortable that way). In only a few hours, the entire cardigan was seamed. I challenged Steve to figure out where the seam was without touching it; he couldn’t.

mattress seam stitch 6

The sleeves were not quite as seamless, due to the stitch increases. I had trouble figuring out how to transition smoothly over the places where the stitches increased, so there’s a clear stair-step look.

mattress seam stitch 7

But that was a minor issue, because it was on the underside of the sleeve and not likely to be visible unless my niece spent a lot of time with her arms in the air.

Stella's Wedding Cardigan (10)

Like that…


Responses

  1. The sweater looks great… your niece is a doll! It was hysterical to be scrolling down reading your commentary and looking at the pictures and then getting to the end!!!

  2. It is truly amazing how magic that mattress stitch is… I was completely blown away the first time I did it. And Ria is correct: your niece is just a sweetie!

  3. The sweater (especially the seams) looks great! I love the ending photo, it was an unexpected (and hilarious) twist!

  4. What a fantastic photo of your niece! The sweater looks great – particular the seams😀

  5. […] particularly mind seaming–I posted on my personal blog my belief that the mattress stitch is awesome black magic–but I know not everyone feels that way. I see frequent posts on Ravelry either bemoaning the […]

  6. […] particularly mind seaming–I posted on my personal blog my belief that the mattress stitch is awesome black magic–but I know not everyone feels that way. I see frequent posts on Ravelry either bemoaning the […]


Categories

%d bloggers like this: