The ever-questioning mind

April 18, 2008

As promised, pictures of the sweater:
Dream in Color Classy Loopy Ewe KAL

Isn’t that the cutest little tote from The Loopy Ewe?

As you can see, the color of the sweater changes considerably in different lights:

And the Kid Seta really makes a difference in the overall effect:

I’ll start the sleeves tonight. I think I’ll use magic loop and knit both sleeves at the same time.

Here’s a question for all you expert knitters out there. I’ve read that you should never Kitchner shoulder seams because shoulders require greater strength. However, it seems to me that the Kitchner stitch is actually a duplicate of knitting—just “knitting” using a different technique.

So why would this row of stitches be any less strong than any other row of knitting? Why would you need greater strength in that particular row as opposed to any other row of knitting near the shoulders? If there is a problem with strength, and you create this really strong seam, wouldn’t you just shift any “weakness” problems to the rows adjacent to the shoulder seam?

This has really been puzzling me. I think having as few seams as possible in the sweater is a good thing because:
1. I think that poorly-done seams can make even a well-knit sweater look homemade (vs. handmade). In my opinion, seams that are anything less than professional take the whole garment down a notch or two.
2. There will be less bulk and bumps and potential “rubby” spots on the inside that might otherwise bother the person who wears the sweater (ie. me).
3. I hate sewing seams.

Shoulders seams are about the most visible seams on a sweater. Really now, how many people walk around with their arms in the air so you can see the side and under-arm seams? Given the visibility of shoulder seams, these seem to be prime candidates for Kitchner to me.

Anyway, I would appreciate the thoughts of all you out there who actually read this blog and who have more sweater knitting experience than me. And that’s not hard. This is my second sweater, the first being started in something like 1982 and is still awaiting some hemming before being worn.

By the way, I Kitchnered the shoulders seams on that one.


3 Responses to “The ever-questioning mind”

  1. Chris Says:

    Hi Ruth,

    I knit a lot of sweaters, at least more than you, which makes me an expert in your eyes. How flattering ;-)). I always avoid seems and cast the stitches on from the hem or border of the armholes. (However you may call it). If you knit every first and last stitch instead of slipping or purling it you will get these little knots on the hem out of which you can pick up stitches almost invisibly. And I never had problems with sleeves that would fall off my sweaters. LOL
    The sweater looks great BTW and I hope you will wear it often, because I think it will look beautiful on you.
    Have a nice time with the sleeves. I wish my sweater would be that far.

  2. Kimberly Says:

    Well, I’m hardly an expert, but the last sweater I knit was a Starmore design, and she/they are definitely experts. The instructions on nearly all of their sweaters tell you to kitchener the shoulders. On the last sweater I made I did not follow that sage advice and the shoulder seam looked lousy, very bulky. Regarding strength – it seems like if is strong enough for the toe of a sock (none of my socks have ever split or worn through at that seam) I would think it would be fine for a shoulder seam.

    The sweater is looking beautiful! I love that color. Cool bag too!

  3. Jill Says:

    I’m a lurker, generally, but I figured I’d chime in. I’d wondered the same thing about kitchnering the shoulders. From what I’ve read and heard, I think the “strength” people talk about is less about being strong and more about being “sturdy”. I think the idea is that the kitchner will be too stretchy and a more sturdy seam will hold your sweater in place better without stretching out of shape.

    My thoughts are this: if you did the last one with Kitchner, and you like it, then hey–why not? I don’t see anything wrong with that! 🙂 And the other thought is that I hate sewing shoulder seams, too. I usually do a 3-needle bind off and I love it. You could give that a try if you’re looking for one of the so-called “sturdy seams”.

    Best of luck! And thanks for blogging…I’m sorry I don’t usually comment, but I do peek in pretty frequently and enjoy your perspective.

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