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Old 09-14-2008, 12:01 AM   #1
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help finishing a sweater, please!
hi! i am knitting my first sweater, and so far it's going quite well! i am using this pattern from

i have all of the individual pieces completed and am ready to join everything together and finish up! however, i am a bit intimidated by the process of joining it all up. here are the instructions in the pattern for finishing the sweater:

"Sew sleeve seams. Fold Hood in half and sew bound-off edge to form back of Hood. Sew Hood to neck edge. Weave in ends. Sew buttons to Left Front, opposite buttonholes."

the pattern doesn't mention anything about sewing the sleeves to the actual garment. should i sew them into tubes first and then attach them? and do i attach them before i attach the hood? i am confident that i will be able to attach everything pretty well; i just don't know which order will be easiest!

here is a different pattern for a very similar sweater:

it has images of the individual pieces, which is helpful, and it does include the sleeves in the "finishing" instructions:

"Sew shoulder seams. Sew sleeve seams. Sew in sleeves. Fold Hood in half and sew bound off edge together to form back of Hood. Sew Hood to neck edge."

from these instructions, it seems i should sew the shoulders up first and then attach the sleeves (after sewing them up); then, i should do the hood. does this sound ideal?

thanks in advance for the advice!
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:12 AM   #2
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It would be easier to sew the sleeves into the armholes first, then sew the sleeve seams.

Have you looked at the video on Finishing yet? It shows how to seam.
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:22 AM   #3
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I graft the shoulders (you don't bind them off to do that), attach that tag end to the center of the arm and go around half, start another tag (or use one if that's there) and go around the other half.
Then I run one of those tags down the arm and the other down the body.

Doing it this way you have to make sure you are keeping your seams even so when you get to the end everything matches up.
Otherwise you can stitch up the arm and up the body and if you're wrong it's hidden in the armpit.

This ebook has some chapters on seaming.
Petroleum based knitter, removing that nasty oil from the ground one skein at a time.

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Old 09-14-2008, 02:33 AM   #4
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You need to do the shoulder seam, however you choose, first. Mike says he grafts (I think this is the same thing as Kitchener stitch or as EZ calls it, "weaving", isn't it?) shoulders. That seems like it wouldn't make a very stable seam to me, although it is invisible and on a baby item might be all you need.

I think I would probably use a 3 needle bind off, but this also means you need to undo the bind off. You need to take the same number of stitches on each side of the back that you have on the fronts, and keep them live, and bind off the middle stitches. A bit of a bother if you did it the way they said. That e-book that Mike gives a link for has a good method for doing the shoulder seams if you want to leave them bound off and just sew them up instead of either Mike or my suggestion.

Some folks like sewing on the sleeve after the sleeve seam has been sewn. That is the way the teacher of a finishing class I went to said she likes to do it, but I have almost always sewn the sleeve on and then sewn the side and sleeve seams.

Where it says to fold the hood and seam it, it also seems like a handy place to use a three needle bind off or grafting. You have to have live stitches for either of those techniques, but it is not real hard to undo the bind off.

Grafting is a real slick technique to know but needs careful attention. Its object is that the work looks perfectly seamless. Elizabeth Zimmermann in her book Knitting Without Tears offers this advice on page 29, "Garter stitch weaving (same as grafting I think) is even simpler (she just told you how to do it on stockinette), but you must be careful to have the correct sides of the fabric together, or you may end up having two 'purled' rows too close together or too far apart. The best way to ensure that the fabric is facing the right way is to have the working threads hanging together at the right end when starting to weave. Break off one, and weave with the other. When finishing a pointed garter stich hood knit to the middle of the row and fold the sides together." So those hints would help you if you want to graft.
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:10 PM   #5
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thanks to everyone for your help! i have used the mattress stitch before, so i am confident that i will be able to do a pretty good job on these seams - i just wasn't sure which order to use.

alas, i have bound-off everything, and i am not really confident in my ability to reverse that and try grafting and other new (to me) techniques. but, i am making this sweater again soon for a different baby, so i will try that stuff out then. thanks again for the great advice!
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