To Seam or Not to Seam

July 3, 2012 at 8:25 am 2 comments

If you’ve spent much time in the knitting blogosphere, you’ve probably picked up on the seam or not to seam debate. There’s a lot of tradition around each approach, but in recent years the knitting culture has been largely influenced by the work of Elizabeth Zimmerman (proponent of bottom-up seamless knitting) and Barbara Walker (proponent of the top-down approach) as our modern day knitting matriarchs. And while I think they’ve brought a lot of innovation to the craft of knitting, I think a lot of us have forgotten the magic of seamed sweaters.

Until recently, I’ve considered myself to be a seamless knitter. Top-down, bottom-up, didn’t matter as long as I didn’t have to pull out the darning needle for anything other than weaving in ends, and even that was a chore. What’s funny about that is I actually do have a pretty solid sewing background, so it’s not like sewing needles scare me. I think I just loved the simplicity of seamless knitting. You just cast on and knit, pull off a couple of cool maneuvers and before you know it, and entire sweater is sitting on your needles. It’s kinda fun to show off when knitting in public. And when you bind off, you’re done! That’s it! Very little finishing work to do.

But I think I’m broadening my horizens a bit with this current project. A while back I was reading the Yarn Harlot’s blog, and I don’t remember what project she was working on, but it was a sweater knit in pieces. And it was just so fun to check her blog every few days and see exactly what she’d accomplished. She’d finished a piece of the front, or a sleeve, or the back. She was always hitting a very significant milestone in the production of her sweater. I reallized that that was something I was missing in seamless sweater knitting, the milestones. So I decided to take a stab at knitting a sweater in pieces.

I’m in love.

There’s nothing like progress to create motivation. Especially in the life of a young mom who has very limited time to work. Feeling like there’s forward momentum can make it so much easier to carve out an extra 5 minutes here and there, because you feel like that 5 minutes will actually make a difference in the progress of the garment. And guess what! That means your putting in extra time, meaning the sweater gets done even faster! It really is exactly the sort of knitting I need right now.

What’s even more fun is that I feel like a more balanced, well-rounded knitter. I like seamed knitting for it’s virtues, and I love seamless for it’s set of wholly different virtues. 🙂

Which approach do you prefer?


Entry filed under: Knitting. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Knitterly Musings on a Hot Afternoon An Entertained Knitter

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Catherine  |  July 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I love knitting things seamlessly. Although I also sew, I find it hard to sew up knitting neatly. But I recently recognised that missing milestones thing, and although it is great to avoid the sweater equivalent of second sock syndrome you also have to do a lot of straight knitting for a bottom up sweater before you get to the relief of decreasing. So perhaps the next sweater I make will be in pieces and I shall try and learn to sew more neatly

    • 2. elegant economy  |  July 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      I totally agree. I think there’s a trick to seaming knitting that I just haven’t mastered yet. Of course, the constant stream of seamless knitting hasn’t really given me much of an opportunity of learning has it? I’m thinking this’ll be the project that I really sit down to learn it well.


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