Raise Your Bodkins!

I will confess that I have spent most of my knitting life avoiding seams.  I discovered Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears in my university years at the Ottawa Public Library and never looked back.  Avoiding seams made sense to me.  It still does.  However, I have come to see that there are times when seams make more sense.

I was recently pondering this when someone linked to a Twist Collective article called ‘In Praise of Seams.”  I don’t know that I am praising them, but they have their uses, and it seems just as silly to avoid them on principle as to insist on them.  (I confess I haven’t read the article yet, but I printed it out and now I just have to find it…)   Perhaps there is an underground movement going on of secret seamers.  Or is it that sort of zeitgeist that results in 10 little girls showing up for kindergarten all with the same unusual name?

Case in point – my new pattern, the Avery Vest.  I called it Avery then after having it out for a while added Vest because I found another pattern just out called Avery.  Did they also name it for a cute 2 year old?

Remember the football zooming by the baby a few posts ago?  It was during this photo shoot, when a little football allowed me to keep a fussy 2-year  entertained enough to take his picture.

My recent conversion all began on the road to Damascus as I was knitting up a v-neck vest in Gems sport for a new nephew.  I wanted a vertical pattern but not a true rib.  I worked up a nice seed stitch-rib pattern that had you knitting and purling on one round, then a plain knit round.

The problem was, I kept zooming by the marker on auto pilot and would end up with several knit rounds I had to rip out.  The small size of the project certainly contributed to this problem, but I’m sure I would have done it several times in an adult sweater.

Would it really take me longer to sew seams than to keep ripping out the body because I am a space case?  The body would only get worked in the round up to the armholes after all.  At the same time, the folks at Frogtree asked me for a pattern using no more than two skeins of  Pediboo.  Sizing the design in the round and then writing it up in a clear and concise way was quite challenging.  It was simpler and more understandable to write it out as a seamed vest.  (My tech editor might not agree with this last part.) Certainly anyone who wanted to knit it in the round up to the armholes could easily adapt the pattern to do so. (And there are people who don’t like to knit in the round, or with circular needles at all, as odd as that seems.  Right TikkaGale?)

For me, the beauty of a seamless sweater is to simplify.  If being seamless makes the knitting less simple or straightforward then insisting on seamless is rather cutting off my nose to spite my face, as my grandmother would say.  (There is probably a perfect word to use, but I can’t think of it.)  Your preferences re. flat/seamed/seamless, fellow knitters?

I must confess that I am currently working on several designs with seams.  (Gasp!)  One benefit I continue to see is when I need to rip out.  Just this week I had worked the entire front of a man’s large sweater up to the armhole and then realized I hadn’t switched to the larger needle after doing the ribbing.  Another example of my auto pilot idiocy that clearly isn’t stopped by knitting flat. Ripping just the front instead of the left front/back/right front, however,  was a bonus.

So after all that, here is my concession to seams – Avery – a v-neck vest in 5 sizes.

Do you think he’s a little jealous of the new baby?

The baby kimono will be up soon.  It has seams, too.  I’ve gone to the dark side, forgive me EZ.  Off now to track down Sandi Rosner’s article and see if we agree.

MLE

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10 responses to “Raise Your Bodkins!

  1. *makes arcane signs to ward off seaming*
    Although that IS an adorable vest…

  2. You know me well. And now I know you went to school in Ottawa! Are you from that area ML?
    I love seaming. The whole finishing aspect of a sweater is just that final flourish of colour on that cake. You know. The pink writing on the chocolate frosting. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to see those ends being woven in, and the whole thing coming together. Love it. Love seams.

  3. It’s not the seams I object to, it’s the knitting on more than one needle. Those sleevelesss sweaters are great on the wearers. Strong colours = good.

  4. That is a lovely vest 😀
    Re. seams etc.. It seems to me that we UK knitters are much more used to knitting flat than US knitters. And I’d rather have a well worked seam than that little jump at the ends of rounds. As with all things the trick is preparation don’t you think, e.g. working the right kind of selvedge for the seam you have planned. That said I avoid seams if they aren’t really necessary. Although I did get a little annoyed that my recent pattern for a sideways knit baby jacket with three needle bind off seams was seen by some as an attempt to avoid sewing … it wasn’t. So yes, I agree, seams are fine, just not too many of them!

  5. That’s a great vest! With regard to seams, I generally prefer seamless, but most of my sweaters have actually been knit in pieces and seamed. One sweater pattern I knitted with seams the first time (it was a test-knit), and then in the round the second time. I think I prefer in the round unless there’s a specific reason to do it flat…

  6. Seamless all the way here. A few years ago I made a baby sweater that had to be seamed together. Seemed like it took as long to seam it as it did to knit.

  7. Love the vest, and the photos of sibling rivalry.

  8. Neat vest! That little boy is going to be a heart breaker one day.
    I used to think I hated seaming, then I did a sweater (Arwen) without seams, only to realize later that it would have been much better with. And then I did a sweater in the round which got so heavy, it started causing damage to my wrists and fingers. After that, I went back to seaming and realized it’s not as bad as I thought. It only takes me an hour or two to sew up a sweater, as long as the construction isn’t hugely complicated. Having said that, I really do want some of those plastic seaming needles so I don’t have to keep checking the match up as I sew. And hats. I will never knit a hat flat and then seam. That’s anathema to me.

  9. Flawless logic about writing the pattern with instructions for flat knitting and letting people adapt for “in the round.” And I know what you mean by zipping by the marker. And also, I love the neckline on that vest! Wonderful as usual!

  10. Top down sleeves aren’t such a good idea either when one decides to redo the upper body so I have lamented my dislike of seams, at least once.

    All Avery related articles should be named for him. He’s adorable.

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