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Everyone loves the Turnstile Wrap in Field Guide No. 24: Spark. It’s so fabulously representative of Olga’s design genius—a completely new spin on a classic shape, with so many different ways to wear and drape and wrap it. See knitters in The Lounge WIP-ping them up for the knitalong here.

It’s a fun and relaxing knit, with enough interest to keep you engaged for lazy summer days, but not so tricky that you can’t enjoy the scenery from your comfy lawn chair, or your prime position at the beachside bar. 

There’s one bit that’s a little bit toothy, though: the two seams to join the shoulders. They’re short, so they don’t take long to do, but because of the angles of the shoulder pieces, they do require a bit of attention.

As per the pattern, it’s up to you which side of the fabric is the right side/outside. The instructions for the seam are the same no matter which way you wear it. In this tutorial, I’ll refer to right and left as they relate to the schematic. But when wearing it, it might be the other way around.

Before you start seaming, clip a removable stitch marker or tie a short length of yarn around a stitch near the cast on edge of the “right shoulder” piece. That’s the one where you started with a cast-on edge.

I recommend washing the piece before you sew up, as it makes it lie a little flatter, and the stitches you need to work with can be more easily identified. You don’t need to stretch or pin it for this – it’s just about tidying the edges of the fabric.

As instructed in the pattern, clip a removable stitch marker at the midpoint of the back piece. You’ll seam both pieces from this position out, towards the edges of the shoulders. 

Note that for many knit seams, you work with the right sides of the work facing, but this one’s a little different!

The right side of the seam—very tidy!

In my tutorial images, I’ve used different color of Atlas for the back piece (Seaglass), the shoulders (Mouse) and the seaming yarn (Barn Red), just so you can see what’s what. 

The wrong side of the seam—still pretty tidy!

Right Shoulder Seam

This seam is the simpler of the two, as it joins a straight cast-on edge to the side edge of the back piece. Do this one first.

Hold the right sides of the work together, aligning the side edge of the back and the crochet cast-on edge. Look at the tidy chains of stitches—they look like crochet chains. (On the right shoulder piece, these were made with the crochet cast-on; on the back piece, these were made by slipping stitches at the edges.) We’re going to use those.

Thread your darning needle with a length of yarn about twice the length of the seam. 

Leaving yourself about a 4-inch tail, and starting from the center-point marker, work across as follows: Feed your darning needle from bottom to top, under the full v of a ‘chain’ stitch from each piece, and pull through.

Move over to the next chain/stitch on the top, and feed the darning needle through that, and down back into the same chain you came up from.

Move over to the next chain on the bottom, and feed the darning needle through that, up and back into the same chain you came up from. 

And keep going!

Snug it up as you go, pulling on the yarn so it’s taut and tidy. If you look at the right side of the work, in the picture at the top, the seam isn’t visible, even though I used a contrast color yarn. Once you’re done, cut the tail to about 4 inches long, and weave that end in. 

Left Shoulder Seam

This seam joins the stepped bound-off edge to the side edge of the back. Although the method is exactly the same, this one can be a little bit trickier because the stepped bind-off tends to cause those edge stitches to be inconsistent in size. Although they’re all the same shape, some will be neat and tidy, some might be a bit stretched out, some might be snugged up and tighter. 

The circled chain stitch on the right is a bit stretched-out; the circled chain on the left is a bit smaller and tighter. These are absolutely fine and normal, no need to worry. Just work across as you did before.

Once you have done the first seam, you’ll be able to better identify the stitches you need to work with. Follow the same steps as for the right seam and you’ll be done—and styling in your wrap—in no time!

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About The Author

Kate Atherley is a teacher, designer, author and technical editor. She’s also the publisher of Digits & Threads, a magazine all about Canadian fibre and textile arts.


  • Thanks, Kate, for this timely post. I have a pile of sweaters that need to be sewn together.

  • This seems much easier than mattress stitch. Can it be used in its place?

    • Lots of good questions about this versus mattress stitch! Actually, the end result is the same, in that you’re “weaving” the yarn in the same place, in the gaps between the edge stitch and the next one over, catching the bars that run between that edge stitch and the next one over. Which means that technically, it *is* mattress stitch, you’re doing it from the WS rather than the RS. Mattress stitch gets tricky when there are sloped or stepped edges, or with cast-on and bind offs – which is absolutely true for this project! There are a couple of things that make this particular way of working perfect for this project: 1) The chain edges… the slipped stitches at the sides of the big piece, and the edge created by the crochet cast-on method both have tidy chains you can identify and match. (You’ll notice it’s not as easy on the bound-off edge, where the chain edge is less consistent and harder to see.) and 2) It’s a short seam.

      There’s a longer answer (which perhaps I can write out one day!) but this way of doing mattress stitch (on the inside, with the slipped stitches) isn’t great for garments. A lot of it has to do with the slipped stitches at the edges. Slipping stitches at the edges means that you only have half as many stitches there, so you’ve got half as many “joins”. This means that the seam is not as strong, and can be a bit prone to stretching out the stitches. It works great for wraps and blankets, but less so for garments where you need the seam to help create structure and stop the garment stretching out or sagging. Also – math alert! – there’s an assumption about stitch to row/gauge ratio when joining the cast-on and bound-off edges to the side seam which doesn’t apply universally. It works here because those edges are stepped and therefore diagonal, but it doesn’t work for joining a straight cast on/bind off to a side edge, slipped stitches or not.

      • Thank you Kate!! Great answer. I appreciate it.

    • What’s the name of this seaming technique? I just used it to sew all my crocheted afghan squares together, and just did it intuitively.

    • My question too. Why one vs. the other?

  • Excellent tip and best of all, being a Canadian resident/soon-to-be new citizen (how soon??) I am over the moon to find the Digits & Threads link! Thank you MDK for being all that I need and want!

    • Welcome to Canada!

  • In general knitting, how can I begin and end each row to achieve this “chain stitch” edge that allows for this way of seaming. (I knit mostly on single point needles.) Thank you SO much.

  • How do I find the sweater pattern shown on google

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