Knit your way through Field Guide No. 7, one ease-ful pattern and one fabulous yarn at a time.

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69 Comments
  • I’m with you on the 3-needle bindoff on shoulder seams. Makes them nice and hard-wearing with less tendency to go ‘pop’.

    • I would have done mattress stitch on both. I love how it looks and it seems like you went through alot for 3nbo but like you said its all what YOU like. You are the one wearing it. Right? Who cares what others think.

      • I would hand it to my mother… I never get those darn seams right. And guess that a sewing machine is out of the question, right?

  • I think I would have done exactly what you did including the first ripped out 3nbo on the shoulder.

    • So funny! Just what I was thinking. Amazing how many false starts it sometimes takes to get to where you want to be.

  • I’m a big fan of 3NBO, too. But you’re so right: we’ve got to look at our preferences and the edges we’re joining!
    Just recently, i had plans to join the side seams of my Gelato tunic* with a 3NBO, but found the stitches too hard to pick up, so I did a mattress stitch seam instead. I’m with you, too, on pushing forward to do the finishing. I always feel like I have to tie myself to my table and force myself to get it done.

    Now I really want to see how your Savage Heart looks on/ fits. I hope you’re delighted with the way it came out!

    *I loved knitting this Berroco pattern by Amy Christoffers. I used a beautiful Noro yarn, Kibou. But even with an understanding of grist ( tho perhaps not enough, and not knowing what it was called until MDK taught me!) the drape that was evident on my needles isn’t so much in evidence in the garment. The short sleeves stick out, rather than fall gracefully.

  • I’m a huge fan of 3nbo, but if I’ve learned one thing about seaming it’s this. If I’m not in the mood to do it, it’s not going to be done right. My latest method, regardless of which kind of seaming I’m doing is to lay out the garment on my dining room table, get a start, let it rest and inch my way up periodically as I pass by. Kind of odd, but it saves on the frustration of looking at a finished seam, sighing or swearing, then ripping it out and starting over, and again. Am eager to see you model this one!

    • I like this approach!

    • I love this idea!

  • I seam by crocheting the pieces together with a chain stitch! it’s clean and quick!

    • I am with Felicia. Crochet chain all the way. Super fast and how it’s done in RTW.

    • Love this idea. I can’t matress stitch worth a darn, but I can channel my maternal grandmother for some tasty chain stitching. Thanks, Felicia!

    • I’m totally going to try this, thank you for mentioning it! All those years of crocheting experience pay off. . .

    • What a great idea. Definitely going to try this on next garment!

    • Genius, right there. Going to try this and keep it in my arsenal of seaming techniques!

    • Thank you so much for saying this. I am still a newbie seamer and this saved me from trashing two all-but-the-seaming sweaters. Maybe someday I’ll be able to do mattress stitch, but not yet.

  • Mattress seaming 4eva. I find it easiest to do when the stockinette is the RS. When the reverse stockinette is the RS, it’s more tedious because it’s like you are seaming garter stitch to garter stitch. I used to have a lot of trouble seaming my shoulder seams (the BO to the BO) but I’m getting better at it with practice. I’m super close to finishing my Carbeth Cardigan (just picked up the buttons and will hopefully sew them on tonight) so I’ll be casting on my Savage Heart soon.

  • I love your choices and am not sure that I would have been clever enough to think of this.

    • Yep, I agree. Great choices, and I wouldn’t have been that clever. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  • I would also hand it to Laura’s mother.

    • Ha ha! Me, too!

    • I think Laura’s mother could start a nice little business. Now to think of a creative name!

      • “Laura’s Mom Seams to be the one”
        ??

  • All I’ve got to say is thank you for all of this since I’m working on Savage Heart right now!

  • I love what you did on the side seam. To me it looks distinctive, like a designer detail and worth all the work. I am also intrigued by Felicia’s crochet chain method. Sounds simple, but I think I need you tube to learn to do it. Although like most people I put off seaming, it is not nearly as loathesome as popularly felt, perhaps because I used to sew, and seaming is just sewing up in my book. Absolutely love the back of Savage Heart. The Vertical lines and all that. Please model.

  • Instead of going to the conventional mattress stitch for the reverse stockinette part, I would have tried mattress stitching on the wrong side (the actual stockinette side). If the edges are even, and the increases and decreases were made one stitch in so that there are no lumps and bumps, it would have closely mirrored the look of the 3NBO that you did at the shoulder, that is: there would be a slight ridge that serves as a decorative raised seam. Nothing wrong with what you chose, but closer to what your original idea was.

    I have, as it happens, 3NBO’d long seams before. Because they aren’t as elastic, they are good for fabrics that you think need extra stability. and it does add an interesting little designer flare to things sometimes to have a visible seam or join.

    • Question please – is a provisional cast on when you get to the side seams possible in order to have live stitches ready for that lovely 3nbo instead of picking up stitches thru your cast on? Thoughts knitters?

  • Imade the baby cockleshell cardigan and have never had success at seaming so I dropped it off at my girlfriend’s house and she seamed it – I couldn’t tell you how but it looked great lol
    and I will gladly pay for an Indian restaurant for lunch in exchange!

  • Seaming – ugh. So far in my knitting life, I only do top down seamless sweaters just to avoid this altogether!

    • My sentiments exactly, Wanda!

  • My question Kay is do you love the sweater now that it’s done?

    • YES YES YES. (Photos forthcoming, probably next week?)

  • Take to the mattress or whatever The Godfather said!

    • I do agree on the 3 needle bind off for shoulders, it’s genius!

  • Are we still allowed to backstich? The sewer in me loves the durability of those seams, particularly on heavy duty garments.

    • You’re “allowed” to do whatever you wish—your project, your seam, totally your choice!! If you don’t like the outcome you’re “allowed” to do it over again.

      • Veronica, there was meant to be a smiley face after the last sentence, I was trying to make a funny (and be reassuring)…it comes off as a little snippy without it: : )

    • I never liked the bulk of backstitching but I think it’s great for coatigans and other heavy items. In embroidery, I love back stitch like a baby, especially how it looks on the WS.

      • Backstitch was my mum’s go-to seaming method for all her knitting. When I showed her mattress stitch a few years back, she was amazed

  • I’m so glad we knitters have many choices and that there are no knitting police. I say do it however it works for you. Looking forward to seeing this modeled.

  • I cast off a sweater this weekend and blocked the pieces. It is still sitting there waiting for seams. I have cast on two new projects since then …

  • Seaming? That gets sent out if I’m foolish enough not to make an item in the round. I have never mastered mattress stitch, sad to say. Even with private lessons. Sigh. It’s my Nemesis.

    But I love me some 3NBO!!

    Good for you for making the sweater your own, Knitters overcome!

  • I don’t see how you could resist trying it on, while the clips were holding it together. I would have carefully put my arms in those sleeves and paraded in front of the nearest mirror.

  • I love 3NBO for most horizontal seams. Yours looks great, and you were right to do it over so it was reverse stockinette. Beautiful. Mattress stitch for the vertical sleeve seam, yes. I used to crochet chain stitch those, but mattress stitch is so satisfying…

  • I’d encourage anyone to watch John Brinegar’s Craftsy class on seaming. If you want to see exactly how to apply mattress stitch to all kinds of situations, he covers it. He demonstrates all the basics but also shows creative seaming – and how to break the rules. I never considered so many seaming possibilities for knitting before seeing his presentation.
    Kay, thanks for your willingness to bring up this topic and show how you approached it. Nicely done! Enjoy wearing your cardigan.

  • LOVED the line about wearing the sweater with the clips on! Delightfully funny!

    • It is a design statement, and her choice…although I would have chosen lime-green pipe cleaners instead.

  • My absolute, all time, favorite seaming method is to stuff it into a bag and think about it for awhile and then pay my friend Sandy to do it for me. She’s an expert, does a beautiful job, is very speedy and can use a little extra cash now and then so it’s a win for us both. Unfortunately, she recently moved out of state so those 3 bags of FEFSOPUSFTBEASOB (finished except for seaming or picking up stitches for the bodice edging and sewing on buttons) are now all on me and grandbabies grow like weeds in a newly seeded yard so that tiny Go Army Beat Navy! letter sweater and cute little dress (and whatever is in the third bag) need finishing PDQ (pretty damn quick!!). Sigh.

    • I would mail your projects to Sandy! Include return mail and a nice gift certificate! I mailed the Gurasol shawl to my sister when I just could not complete one section correctly after multiple restarts. She knitted that part and mailed it back. Unfortunately, she’s no longer with us and my Mom passed away a few weeks ago. Time to do it all myself, as I’m the only one left. Got to find a knitting buddy.

      • Sheila, so sorry for the loss of your sister and mom.

      • Two important losses, Sheila. I’m so sorry.

        I hope you find a knitting buddy — they are priceless! Have you looked to see if there’s a knitters guild in your area?

      • I’m so sorry for your loss, Sheila. Does your LYS, coffee shop or public library have a drop in knit group? When I moved to CO 13 years ago from NY I visited most of the knit groups (with my 4-1/2 yo in tow!) until I found a couple that fit and helped start a small weekly evening group with friends made at some of the larger groups. My local library district sponsors monthly or bi-monthly knit and craft groups at several branches, all of the LYS have a weekly group and the local Barnes and Noble sponsors a weekly knit and crochet group in their coffee shop. I hope you are able to find a buddy or group. Like sheep, knitters like to flock together!

      • Condolences on the loss of your sister and mother. May knitting bring you peace and comfort.

  • I admire your ability to seam at all. If a project cannot be done without a seam, I do not do it. Your work looks very nice.

  • I wonder if you would have gotten that furrow on your first attempt if instead of ‘pick up and knit’ you just picked up edge loops, with no knit or purl. Would be an interesting experiment, although it might make the actual binding off a little more fiddly…

    • Picking up that way gets too tight for my liking. Agree that it would eliminate the furrow so it might be worth trying it with smaller needle, or picking up stitches and binding them off one at a time or something like that.

  • Kay, how did you seam the shoulders of your Shakerag top? If 3nb, how did you do it? (So many bindoff steps).

    • To me it seemed (lol) like the only way to join those stepped bindoffs was mattress stitch. If I’d thought ahead a little bit, I could have worked those “steps” as short rows and then did a perfect nbo. But they are very short seams and mattress stitch was relatively painless and looks nice.

  • I don’t have anything that needs seaming right now, but I think I need those clips.

    • They are a Good Thing. Just handy to have around. Always finding new uses for them.

      • Hi Kay, I couldn’t find a comment box….could only leave one by clicking on a reply. Not sure why, but I am having some strange computer/server issues on my end, so that’s probably why.

        Anyhoo, I am SO late to this party, but loved this piece. I also love all the replies. Has anyone told you and Ann that you are the best at encouraging a lively conversation? And while, I’m at it, I love how you obviously read, and care about, all of your commenters. Kinda like the best dinner parties don’t happen without a superb host. Kudos and XO

        P.S. I’m looking forward to seeing this cardi!

  • EBTF is my Myers-Briggs personality type! Or it used to be before I took up knitting, and rather oddly became a FISO (a Finisher in Short Order) and largely a serial knitter. I am also inordinately fond of the 3-needle bindoff, and, like you, would have used it for as much of the garment as was practical. I may or may not have sucked it up to finish with mattress stitch. If I’m really telling the truth, I am One of Those Knitters who avoid patterns with seaming as much as possible, so it probably wouldn’t have come up! (True MB type: ENTP)

  • “A knitter is wise to cross the seaming bridge when she comes to it, and to cross it the way that makes the most sense to that knitter.” WELL SAID!

  • O.M.G. “Put that in your Clover and clip it”. “That’s Gold, Jerry, GOLD”!!!!

  • My own obsessive thought about this project is that mattress stitch on reverse stockinette is hard to do and tends to look ugly, or at least visible, and not in a decorative way. The raised 3-needle bindoff adds a lovely Sonia-Rykiel je-ne-sais-quoi to your lovely garment (And there goes my hyphen quota for the day).

  • I hate seaming. No doubt, this would go in the UFO pile and maybe by 2032, if I’m still alive, I would find someone else to seam it for me.

  • I never knew about crocheted seaming! And I enjoy using the mattress stitch. Here’s a nice video on crocheted seaming.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VDjX4NUZpEI

  • ‘m saving this! The purl version of the lovely (to me) cast on-bind off 3NBO process is inspired and I will do it. Except for outliers I love the shoulders joined with a 3NBO; it makes for such a fine finish.