It’s here at last! The official first day of Fall (sweet Fall!) and knitalong cast-on day! FIRST: I’ve posted a page where you can find everything you need to know about the Amanda knitalong (aka #fringeandfriendsknitalong). There’s a link in the right rail of the page if you’re looking at this on a standard (non-mobile) browser, but I also made the URL easy to remember: fringeassociation.com/amanda
Note that there is some new information there: specifically additional errata plus PRIZES and how to win them. So be sure to click over and check that out. For a chance to win, throughout this week leave comments on this post linking to your knitalong photos wherever they may be. I’ll announce my first WIP of the Week pick on Friday.
Special thanks to Anna Dianich for the photo of her gorgeous back piece above!
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Now, let’s get to casting on! Several of our panelists are starting with sleeves, but I’m going to keep the blog posts for this series in pattern order, so today we’re talking about casting on for the body — and specifically revisiting who is knitting it in three pieces vs one, and what other pattern tweaks people are making. Here we go:
WHO’S KNITTING FOR TEAM SEAM, AND WHY?
Kate Gagnon Osborn: I am, forever and always, TEAM SEAM! While I have knitted/designed seamless sweaters and find them to be useful, especially in colorwork patterning (Meltwater, Isadora, Adelaide, etc), seams in a garment provide structure and create a longer-lasting item. Many of the sweaters I design incorporate seams in some way: Erin, a heavily cabled cardigan in Savannah, uses seams at the sides and armholes to support the weight of the cables; Fable’s seams provide structure to balance the drape of the Terra; and Fargo has seamed set-in sleeves for structure and fit, just to name a few.
Another benefit to knitting a sweater in pieces and then seaming is that you can use your sleeve as a secondary gauge swatch. I will always knit and then block one sleeve first before diving into the body, just to be sure my calculations and measurements were correct. And, finally, since much of my knitting is done on-the-go — while in the car as we run errands on the weekends, sitting at the playground after work/daycare, at my desk as I wait for images to upload/files to process — smaller pieces are much easier to manage. And there is something very, very satisfying about seaming pieces and pulling the working yarn up and watching the pieces come together beautifully!
Anna Dianich: I am Team Seam because I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and I know I will have great support here with the expert panel. Also, as Kate mentioned, the seams will give this heavily cabled sweater some structure.
Rebekka Seale: I am staying on Team Seam! Mostly because it rhymes. (Jk.) I just really want to knit this as written. I haven’t knitted an adult-sized cabled cardigan before, so I feel like my best bet is to follow the pattern exactly this time, so I can know what mods I want to do next time.
WHO’S KNITTING FOR TEAM SEAMLESS, AND WHY?
Meg Strong: I switched teams! I had originally stated that I would be knitting the pattern as written.
What I have learned about myself via knitting is apparently I do not like to repeat the same process twice within a given project. The first cardigan I ever started, I was so excited, I worked the back, one of the fronts, skipped ahead in the directions and worked one of the sleeves, and then, I was done. The excitement was gone. But I still had the other front and sleeve to do! Same thing occurred when I knit my first pair of gloves. Can you guess what happened when I decided to embark on a pair of socks? Pair?? Over the years, I learned that you could actually cast on and work two pieces at the same time. Genius! So I would work the right and left fronts of a cardigan at the same time. Learned the magic-loop circular method so socks could be worked at the same time.
After studying the Amanda pattern, I decided to cast on for the left front, back and right front and work them seamlessly. There is no waist shaping in the pattern so nothing to modify there. However, I will work the sleeves flat (two at a time!) and seam them. The strength and support that a seam provides is not something I am willing to give up on my sleeves!
Jaime Jennings: I have to choose?! I mean, I don’t love seaming, but I’ll do it. I definitely prefer seamless sweaters. I love the quickness of knitting a sweater seamlessly — I can just get in my groove and cruise over all the stitches at once. I also love to try on as I go. I will usually look at a pattern and try to determine why it’s seamed and if I should keep it that way or try to work it seamlessly. As you can see, I’m not afraid to change things up in a pattern :) For this sweater, I’m going to go Team Seamless. I’m using a very hardy wool that doesn’t necessarily need the extra stability.
WHO’S STILL UNDECIDED?
Amy Christoffers: Well, I’ve been flip-flopping. Seamed sweaters hold up better over time and through lots of washing and wearing. They are often faster to knit because the pieces are more manageable and more portable. Also there is a bonus: It is far less painful to rip and correct errors for pieced sweaters then seamless sweaters. And in this case there is the urge to be lazy and not think too hard about pattern conversion.
Seamless sweaters are satisfying because they mold to the wearer, and bottom-up-raglans knit seamleslys are beautiful. If I’m going to knit a seamless sweater, this is my favorite way to do it. There is something satisfying about knowing that the fronts and back are all going to match because they were worked at the same time, although with no waist shaping that’s not really an issue for this sweater. Despite what I said about laziness, pattern conversion is pretty simple and there is something satisfying about getting the whole body of a sweater done to the underarm all at once.
Karen Templer: I’m also waffling. I’m tempted to knit it seamlessly for the same reason as Meg: I’d like to be done when I get to the underarms rather than having two more trips to make through those same rows. But my sweater will be very lightweight, and while I can’t stand a drapey sweater, I also don’t like one that sticks to your shirt and doesn’t hang. So that side seam will give some ballast as well as structure and longevity. I think I’ve decided to knit it as three pieces but all at the same time, on one long needle. Is that crazy? That way it is one trip and I’m done; I know I finished all three pieces on the same row, etc. The downsides are: 1) managing three balls of yarn at once, and losing that portability factor of pieces, and 2) my gauge is very different from the pattern gauge. I’ll be casting on the large knowing it will come out a little bit smaller than the medium. So the smart thing would be to knit one front piece first and make sure my sizing is as projected by my calculations. If I dive into all three and my calculations are off, it will be a lot more wasted knitting.
FOR TEAM SEAM, ARE YOU DOING THE SELVEDGES AS WRITTEN?
(i.e. garter-stitch selvedge for the side seams)
Kate Gagnon Osborn: I’m doing them all in stockinette. Since the pattern isn’t openwork and I’m not using a very slippery or drapey yarn, I don’t need the added structure of the garter edges, and since I’ll be blocking all pieces before seaming them, I’m not too worried about the edges curling.
Amy Christoffers: Stockinette selvedges all the way — especially for the button bands. Stockinette selvedges look especially nice on the wrong side, which is reason enough, but I think they’re easier to sew as well.
Anna Dianich: I honestly didn’t even think about not doing them as written.
Meg Strong: Although I’m Team Seamless, I still have the button-band selvedges, which I am working as written.
Jaime Jennings: I will work the button-band selvedge stitches as written.
Rebekka Seale: As written, for the same reason stated above :)
FOR TEAM SEAMLESS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT THE SIDE SELVEDGE STITCHES?
(i.e. dropping the “seam-allowance” stitches or incorporating them in some way)
Amy Christoffers: You could work the honeycomb over the side seam, dropping all the edge stitches, and that would look nice on the body but might be awkward on the sleeves with the increasing. So I think that working a faux seam in stockinette stitch makes more sense.
So to convert the sleeve to the round I would drop 1 stitch from the cast on. To convert the body stitches to working seamlessly I would cast on: the front number (minus 1 side edge stitch) + the back number (leave the edge stitch at each end but work it as a stockinette ‘seam’ stitch) + the front number (minus 1 side edge stitch).
Meg Strong: I’m leaving out the side selvedge stitches — so only modification was to reduce my cast on, for all three pieces, by a total of those 4 stitches.
Jaime Jennings: I am going to leave in one selvedge stitch on each side and work it in reverse-stockinette stitch. I love a good faux-seam. I’ll do this as well for the sleeves.
And now, dear readers, how about you? I’d love to hear your answers to the same questions. Please leave ’em below! And don’t forget to point me to whatever photos you post on the web this week!
PREVIOUSLY in #fringeandfriendsknitalong: Jaime shows us her math
[For all the posts in this series, click here. For the knitalong overview, click here]