Friday, 5 September 2014

The Perfect Finish

Finishing a knitted or crocheted project brings a huge sense of achievement whether it is a small pair of gloves or a large blanket.  But for me one of the projects I most dread finishing is one that needs to be sewn up.  I have a couple of projects languishing in my craft basket.  One of them is an intricate Fair Isle project that I spent ages knitting and the other is a mass of small granny squares. They won’t take long to put together, not compared to the amount of time they took to make. It’s very common for knitters and crocheters not to look forward to putting a project together because they aren’t confident of their making up skills. I have seen many beautiful pieces of knitting ruined by poor finishing and sewing up.  But there are a few simple steps that will really help. 
Before you even think about sewing your pieces together we recommend that you block them.  Many of you will be familiar with blocking for lace shawls, but it is also very important for garments.  If your tension means that your knitted piece is not quite the same measurements as the pattern, you can use blocking to ease it to the correct dimensions, making the fit so much better. When making squares for blankets, some might not be the uniform size.   By blocking them you can make sure they are all identical making sewing up so much easier.  We recommend that you don’t put your iron directly on your piece of knitting but rather pin it into the shape you want, hold the iron above it and press steam.
Jane Crowfoot, who wrote the book Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitting recommends one technique very highly when it comes to sewing two pieces of knitting together.  It’s mattress stitch or ladder stitch and it is really easy to pick up. Your two pieces of knitting face you with the right side of your work facing and you zig zag your sewing between one piece and the other.  The reason it is so revered is that when you pull the yarn that you’ve been sewing with tight, the seam that is created is almost invisible. 

Have a look at this video.

For a really neat finish on a shoulder or to finish a pair of socks, grafting or Kitchener stitch is a really valuable technique to learn, giving you a really neat finish. The formula for Kitchener stitch takes a little memorising but once you get in to the rhythm it’s great fun to see your project looking so good.

So when you put so much time into practising and perfecting your craft or into creating a beautiful garment or project, isn’t it worth spending a little bit of time to learn how to finesse your knitting or crochet and make your project something you can be really proud of.

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