Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dr. Seamlove

* or how I learned to stop worrying and love the mattress stitch

I finished the sleeves/body of my shrug with attached scarf and have started on the scarf. This feels a lot like knitting the shrug all over again because the shrug is basically the scarf with the ends seamed up to become sleeves.

I was dreading seaming the shrug. Partly because this was begun as a different project and I changed it after I had done 10 inches of knitting. I was worried the ribbing would look really weird when the seamed the sleeves. Also, I haven't done much seaming and what I have done was on simple stockinette and I don't believe I used the mattress stitch but took more of a Swedish Chef approach. Oh, yeah, and there was that unfortunate ribbing seaming incident with another shrug. Believe it or not, I learned from that and took it into account when I began this project - the original project. When I changed patterns mid-stream my whole attempt to avoid the same mistake looked rather foolish. But I laugh in the face of mistakes these days.

I read my books on the mattress seam, picked up my needle and gave it a try. The shrug was knit in 2 by 5 ribbing. I was actually able to keep the 2 by 5 look without making the seam look bulky. I was amazed. The sleeves do get a little wonky at the upper arm where I was like "I think this is going to get a little snug" so I added a couple of stitches per alternating row over 6 rows (6 stitches added). Again, I took a Swedish Chef approach. I didn't know what the heck I was doing. So maybe the pattern changes to more of a 2 x 6 or 7 ribbing at the seam, but that's not bad. And anyone looking that close to my underarms and counting stitches has some real problems. Sicko.

May I say that the mattress stitch is blowing my mind. It really acts as it's described, you sew a few stitches and then gently pull and then -whoop- it's closed up and you can't see a seam. It's supernatural.

I've got more work to do on this shrug. Not only do I need to knit the scarf and then attach it, I want to do something to the bottom of the back of the shrug. It needs something. I'm thinking that something will involve a crochet border of some kind.

And to think this project nearly caused me to bail on knitting. Far out.

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