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  • This is a terrific article that every knitter should read.

  • What about styles traditionally knit wholly or partly in the round? There must be reasons for choosing that option, as well. How and when do designers make those choices? I would think it may be difficult to know the difference between a designer’s personal preference and a choice based on objectively “better” construction. I’m going to assume editors no longer switch out construction styles (I recall EZ’s first published pattern, which the editor changed from round to flat).

    • Those designs are MEANT to be knit in the round. I, sadly, was not doing a yoke construction from a hearty wool. Nope, I took a pieces sweater, knit in negative ease, and converted it to in the round AND knit it in superwash (sigh). Yes, I think (hope) the days of a publisher ignoring the designers construction choices are a thing of the past.

      For me, if it’s a designer I know and trust, then I know they’ve thought out the construction, the ease and their fiber choice. Oh how I wish I had honored the pattern I knit all those years ago.

      • That seaming video is super helpful! Magical.

  • Thank you for not just telling us to do things properly, but for actually taking the time to show us how…and, most critically, helping us to see why things work.

    Thank you too for reminding us that the time we invest in creating a garment needs to be acknowledged with special care in making sure it is finished properly. I have a sweater that is in the queue to be re-knit because I just did not do it right the first time. It is too big. I chose the wrong size because I was worried about it being too small. (If I had checked the gage and the measurements I would have realized that actually knitting it in my size would have worked out.) The buttonholes on the front are not evenly spaced because I did not think it would matter if I was off by a row or two on the center button. It matters. It is the first thing I notice every time I look at this sweater. (Very plain patterns demand very perfect finishes.) Because these mistakes frustrate me, I do not wear this sweater. And, because I love the pattern and the wool. I am going to give this another try.

    • I think you’ll enjoy seeing the GIANT sweater I knit (linked to from the Patty’s Big Box of Knitting Fails). I ripped it out and re knit it. I cried a little, but did it and I was sooooo happy I did. ❤️

  • Well, darn it all. I do see your point, I really, really do.

    What about stranded knitting? I would dearly love to eschew 99% of purling on a stranded sweater; would making a steek be an acceptable sub for knitting in pieces? After all, you have to sew it up at the end. I just want to avoid purling in stranded sweater designs like the plague.

    • It’s not about converting patterns that are DESIGNED to be knit in the round to flat, it’s about respecting / trusting that the designer chose the right construction for the design. Most fair isle is designed in wool and designed to be knit in the round.

      • There are several Marie Wallin sweaters I would like to jump into, and they are all knit flat. So my question was an honest one. Could a steek be used so I could knit in the round, cut it open, then seam it?

        • Echoing Eastskye’s question: what about converting a knit-flat stranded design to knit it in the round?

        • Ohhh. I’m not familiar with flat fair isle patterns. I would say that question is best directed to the designer since I don’t know what the reasons might be (for instance designing on a super wash or other yarns not great for a steek).

        • I did once take a fair isle sweater from Rowan Magazine and convert it to be knit in the round with steeks, and it worked out just fine, it was scary as heck though, especially figuring out how to do set in sleeves with steeks!

        • Hey, just saw this! Knit in the round, then steeked and seamed – https://knitty.com/ISSUEw20/PATThalmstad/PATThalmstad.php

  • “I Fail Hard So You Don’t Have To”
    Thank you! I learn so much from you’re mistakes- I’m sorry that you had them, but I greatly appreciate that you share, and explain, so that others can learn.

    • Don’t be sorry! If I didn’t make all those mistakes and keep pushing myself until I understood my knitting, I wouldn’t have become a knitting teacher!

      • I had one of those below-the-knee sweaters. I didn’t realize there was a difference between worsted and heavy worsted (Aran). I pulled out about a foot of it so it was tunic length when it was done, but it was two-color stranded knitting and so warm I could only wear it outside. If I was just standing and not doing anything. Now, I take the time for swatches unless I am knitting with the specified yarn AND it is something where exact dimensions aren’t crucial.

  • Patty is endlessly entertaining and her advice is WISE!

  • As a sewist I appreciate the structure seams give a knitted garment.
    But so many designs today have sleeves knit in the round – which I detest and try to avoid.
    Is this laziness? Or hate of seaming?
    I contemplate knitting the sleeves flat … but then default hoping the designer was right.

    • I pretty much always knit those flat unless there’s color work. I like the structure seaming gives, and I hate knitting small things in the round. Back and forth for me!

  • This was so convincing, Patty. I keep watching your visual Kitchener video so I can follow your advice. And on top of that you now have me wondering what that piece of felted wool and acrylic looked like. Was it really terrible or could it have been cut up and salvaged as a square in a modular quilt blanket as a textural element. Probably not worth the trouble but I am always looking for ways to repurpose my mistakes. Oh, and an example of firm in-the-round sweater construction – Jared Flood passed around one of his first Cobblestone sweater samples in a class I took once. The yarn plus his precise gauge …That sweater looked like it would remain un-torqued forever. Don’t know if non-Jared Flood knitters had the same experience, though. Chloe

    • I wore that scarf for years (you can actually see it in the Patty’s Big Box of Knitting Fails link). It just kind of went in and out at the edge, it curled in for the un-felted acrylic sections and it lay flat in the felted sections.

      As for Cobblestone, just to clarify, knitting in the round doesn’t make a project torque around our body. I took a pattern that was in RIB and in NEGATIVE ease (oy!) and converted it to be in the round. Think of wearing a tube sock and walking around, does that rib stay straight up and down! Heck no. My Volition is designed to be knit in the round, but it has positive ease and swings away from the hips.

      I don’t want you to think the act of knitting in the round is not okay. It is very okay. We just have to be careful when we take a design that was meant to be worked flat and convert it to be in the round. That might not be okay.

  • Good news / Bad news. Good news: I read your article, watched the seaming video, grabbed my current project, ripped out the awful three needle bind-off I had at the shoulders, and re-seamed using your tutorial. Thank you! My sweater shoulders look great now. Bad news: I can’t stop uttering my new mantra “under the skinny part of the vee, back where it came from, under the skinny part of the vee, back where it came from….”

  • Patty, love how honest you are about your mistakes so you can help the rest of us avoid them. You are exceedingly generous. Thank you!

    • It’s easy to be generous with my mistakes since there are SOOOO many to go around (haaaaaaa)

  • I never cast off and then on again on a collar. But I do often stabilise it afterwards by threading fine clear elastic through, especially on a crew neck cardigan where I go right around from the centre front. A line of chain stitch or stem stitch embroidered on afterwards in the same yarn is another way. This works if I have no side seam and decide afterwards that more stability is needed. You can do it from the inside or the outside Please rescue that lovely sweater, all is not lost!

    • You are so sweet. All is lost for that sweater, but it taught me sooo much. The biggest issue wasn’t the neck, but knitting an all rib sweater in negative ease, in superwash and converting it in the round. It will always spiral around like a sad tube sock. But it taught me about the power of seams, so it’s the most valuable thing I’ve ever knit!

  • Thanks for the tutorial lesson. I have learned a hard lesson with a pattern by Yay for Yarn Slouchy Cardigan. I seamed the shoulders and it puckered. I tried to unseen it by picking the seams. Then the unmentionable of horrors happened. I ripped out the shoulder seam exposing live stitches. I’m willing that its going to be ripped out and start a different pattern. But I like the pattern because it’s in one piece and only requires sleeves to be made separately. At this point I’m very .

  • There is another version of the three-needle bind-off that lies flat. It’s called “modified three-needle bind-off”, and I discovered it in a tutorial video from Purl Soho on YouTube. They show it worked wrong sides together, which creates a nice chain on the front of your work, but you could work it the other way, which creates what looks like a row of reverse stockinette.