Knit Your Seams – Tutorial

by Ewelina Murach on August 9, 2017

I knit seamlessly whenever I canHowever, there are situations when I want a visible seam that looks like a column of knit stitches, for example, at the shoulders of a sweater, or at the sides of a garment worked sideways. In such cases, I join pieces by knitting them together. The method I’m going to show you also works well for joining pieces in blankets.

The finished seam, used here to join shoulders, looks like this:

Knitted shoulder seam

Frozen Leaves sweater

The seam is a variation of central double decrease (cdd). We join two pieces by slipping stitches – to place them into position for joining – and then working cdd. Each cdd decreases 2 side stitches, and leaves only the central stitch on needle. Those central stitches create a horizontal line of Vs that run between the two pieces we are joining, on the right side of work. On the wrong side, the seam looks like a row of purl stitches.

The seam must be worked loosely – it must be stretchy!

This is because the width of a stitch is usually larger than its height, e.g. if you work stockinette stitch with a DK weight yarn, your gauge is likely to be 22 stitches and 30 rows per 10 cm / 4 in square: 22 stitches measure the same as 30 rows. If you join two pieces of 22 stitches each, the knitted seam will run horizontally over the stitches and it will have only 22 rows per 10 cm instead of 30. Therefore, the seam needs to be loose enough to stretch by about 25-30%, compared to your normal gauge.

You will most likely need to work the seam with a larger size needle than you used for knitting the pieces you are going to join. I usually use a needle that is one size larger than my main needle, but every knitter is different – you might need to experiment a little with the needle size that works best for you. If your seam looks too tight, go up in needle size, if it turns out too stretchy (which is unlikely), change to a smaller needle.

How to work knitted seams

1 – Place pieces to be joined on needles:

Knitted seams tutorial 1

Place 2 pieces you are going to join on a needle each, with the ends of your work where you are going to start joining close to the tips of the needles. The number of stitches on each needle must be the same, right sides of both pieces up – the seam is worked on the right side of work.

The photo shows front and back parts of the yoke in Frozen Leaves sweater, before they are joined at the shoulders. The joining will start from the sleeve end of the yoke and finish at the neck, so the sleeve sides of both pieces are close to the tips of the needles. I use a circular needle, but straight or double pointed needles will work fine too, if the pieces to be joined are short. My working yarn is attached to the piece on the right, but it does not matter which side the yarn is on.

2 – Create the centre stitch:

Knitted seams tutorial 2

2a – We will work the first stitch on the left needle and the first stitch on the right needle together: slip the first stitch on the right needle to the left needle, by inserting the left needle into the front of the stitch.

Knitted seams tutorial 3

2b – Knit the 2 stitches together – 1 stitch decreased. The stitch that remains becomes our centre stitch.

3 – Slip stitches into position for cdd:

Knitted seams tutorial 4

3a – Place 2 stitches on the right needle into position for the next step, by slipping them to the left needle, one by one (inserting the left needle into the fronts of the stitches). Now all 3 stitches needed for cdd are on the left needle (circled).

Knitted seams tutorial 5

3b – Insert the right needle into both stitches together, as if to work k2tog, but do not complete the k2tog – you only slip the stitches together to the right needle without working them. As a result, the central of the 3 stitches you work for each joining cdd is on top, ready for the next step.

4 – Complete the joining cdd:

Knitted seams tutorial 64a – Knit the next stitch on the left needle.

Knitted seams tutorial 7

4b – Placing the left needle into the backs of the 2 slipped stitches, pass them over the new knit stitch.

Knitted seams tutorial

4c – Two stitches have been decreased at the sides, the central stitch remains, and is on top.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you run out of stitches. Our seam is finished! (And it will look much neater after blocking.)

Knitted seams tutorial 9

I hope you have found my tutorial helpful. I used this method joining the shoulders and sides in Frozen Leaves pattern, published as part of Miss Babs Fall 2017 collection. If you make your own Frozen Leaves sweater, please share your project in my Ravelry group.

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