Friday, September 27, 2013

30 Day Sweater Challenge - To Seam or not to Seam

Today's post comes from Diana Jimenez, who is a yarn store owner in Southern California. She is working with Craftory Media to promote what is hoped to be the biggest knit-a-long ever. She has included  a free link to the Sweater Planning Guide further on in this post.

Due to my sewing background I tend to make bottom up seamed garments. Last year I worked with Deb Gemmell of Cabin Fever on a top down plus size book. I had done a few garment with this construction in the past and I'm well aware that many designers have long lists with good reasons as to why they don't like seamless garments. My take on it is, all methods of construction have pros and cons. If the knitter feels that the pros outweigh the cons for them then they should make their own choice. I'm in favour of anything that gets knitters making garments and I suspect some of those knitters will move onto alternative constructions as they grow their garment making skill set.

I was given a demo version of the course to play with. I'm working on a top down and reading through their material as I create my own. It's a customized plan with a number of fit and design choices. There are videos included to assist the knitter. From what I've reviewed so far it seems to provide a good basic guide to get a knitter started on understanding the process.

Diana has contributed her thoughts on the issue of seamless sweaters in the paragraphs below. 

To seam, or not to seam: that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The time and taxing of outrageous sleeve caps,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And instead knit raglan To rip: to whip;

No more; and by a seamless knit we end

The heart-ache, and the thousand troubles come

with the choice to seam….

Just kidding, I won’t make you read about why you should try knitting a seamless, top-down raglan sweater in poetic verse. But I would like to take a few minutes to share some of the advantages of knitting a sweater in that particular style.

Knitting an entirely seamless garment from the top-down has many benefits — the most significant being that you can make something that fits perfectly. This type of shoulder construction is very forgiving and easy to adapt and you can change rate of increases to modify the sweater easily to your body. Because the sweater is knit top down it is a popular style for knitters who like to be able to check fit and length as they work. A seamless top-down sweater can easily be “tried on” by slipping it off the needle and onto some waste yarn or long circular needles, this makes it easier to judge the length and adjust accordingly (for example, you could make your sleeves longer or shorter simply by adding or omitting a few rows).

My favorite thing about top-down, seamless raglan sweaters is that they are incredibly versatile! You can knit just about any kind of sweater you like including, crew neck, v-neck, shawl collars, pullovers, cardigans, color-work or texture. An endless array of options come to mind and because of the way it is constructed the arithmetic is very simple if you want to change things up or add extra details.

This type of sweater is that it is ideal for beginners. If you know how to cast on, knit and purl you could certainly tackle a top-down raglan sweater. Conversely, because you can adapt the design and fit of this style of sweater so much, it also keeps more experienced knitters interested and excited.

The last and most obvious reason people love knitting seamless, top-down raglan sweaters is that there is virtually no finishing involved! It is great fun to be able bind off your sweater and be able to put it on immediately (then take it off and block it) without having to spend an extra hour or two seaming your pieces together.

So if you have never knit a sweater or if you’re a sweater knitting veteran I encourage you to grab some needles and try knitting a top-down, seamless raglan sweater!

If you’d like to learn more about preparing to knit your next sweater, download our free Sweater Planning Guide. In this guide we talk about choosing a suitable yarn, how much yarn to buy and how to plan a sweater that you’ll love!

This guest post is a part of the 30 Day Sweater Challenge promo tour. If you’d like a reason to try knitting this style of sweater (or any other style for that matter) we have a great opportunity for you! Join us this October as we help 5,000 knitters around the world knit a sweater they’ll love, in 30 days. To sign up just visit and download your free Sweater Planning Guide. It will help you get started on the right foot! See you in October!

1 comment:

  1. I think a knitter could knit any of the cardigans in our book, Need A Plus Cardigan, in 30 days. You have the option of 4 sleeve lengths, including cap sleeves. That makes it possible doesn't it? A knitter could also use the Basic cardigan as a jumping off point to make a new design. The challenge is exciting.
    co-author of Need A Plus Cardigan along with Robin