Saturday, October 15, 2011

Seaming Knits on the Sewing Machine

I knew a knitter who hated seaming a sweater via traditional finishing methods that she just tossed them on the sewing machine and seamed them with thread. This always amazed me. How didn't it just rip the knitting? How did it move the knitting along? How do you keep the seam even? Is it strong enough? And on and on my doubts went. At the root of every question really hid my fear of the sewing machine.

I've been taking some online sewing courses and I started using my sewing machine to stitch in my Brownie Knits labels on my hand knits. A few nights back, I announced to Patrick (liked he really cared!) that the next project I knit flat would be the one I tried to seam on the machine. The next day, I came across a Baby Surprise sweater that I knitted years ago.

A short history of this sweater...

  • I originally purchased the yarn before my now 8-year-old nephew was born. I planned to make a neutral colored sweater for him/her. That was the beginning of my knitting career and I quickly became sidetracked and he was 4-years-old when I found the yarn again.
  • When my SIL was pregnant with my nephew Jack, I knitted it up thinking it J was a girl. I was 100% confident. Well, what do I know? 
  • So...I then needed a purpose for the sweater. I wrote up some class materials and decided to teach it at my LYS. I did that for several years. I left the top of the arms unseamed so that students could practice on it. 
  • Cut to last year when I was in a clean out mood for my yarn studio. I got rid of the partial ball of yarn thinking there wasn't enough to do anything with it. Forgetting that I still needed to seam the arms of the Baby Surprise sample.
You can see where this is headed, right? I tried to find a yarn in my stash that matched well enough, but that didn't work out. I thought, why not try this on the sewing machine? It is the right size for Ella to wear it during this fall/winter.

I threaded the machine, pinned the right sides of the sweater together, and went for it. It turned out okay, but I did learn a few things...
  1. Do not use a foot that has any little pieces sticking out that can get caught in knitting. I switched from my standard A foot to a quilting foot and that worked MUCH better.
  2. Go slow... really slow...
  3. I need to figure out how to be more consistent on how far in the seam is. You can see that my seam shifted drastically. Given that this is a baby sweater out of garter with lots of room in the arm, I didn't worry about it and left it. However, for an adult sweater out of St st, I would want a consistent 1 stitch seam.

Verdict: I WILL be giving this a try. If I can make the seam consistent, it will be much faster than traditional finishing. AND, the seam was super strong. This little sweater that started a journey some 8 years ago is now headed up to Ella.

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