I am all for making it easier. Anything really. If there is a way to make it easier, bring it on.
In the age of top down sweaters (so easy, no?) there are patterns lingering that have you knit pieces and then sew them (gasp!) together. Seams add structure to your knitting that top down pieces usually do not have. I am not talking about one being better than the other, they are just a choice you make when finding a pattern that suits your momentary knitting mood and skills.
Imagine you end up working a sweater in pieces and you have to seam it. Imagine you can find a way to make it easier. Well, at least a bit easier. I have talked plenty about mattress stitch as my preferred seaming method and that itself is easy enough to grasp for anyone who is willing to try. I seam pretty much any garment with mattress stitch, unless there is a specific reason not to. Yet, if I can save some seaming, I will.
I usually start with the shoulder seams – and here comes the kicker: there are times when you can avoid seaming shoulder seams. It just takes a bit of thinking beforehand and checking if this particular pattern is suitable for this modification. All you need to know is if the shoulders are straight – meaning not sloped, which in return means you do not bind off all stitches at once but few at a time, beginning at the outside edge of the piece. If they are straight, don’t bind off, just stop knitting after the last row and leave the stitches on the needle or a stitch holder. You should have the same number on the back as on the front (this rule gets only broken for very specific designs) and so a Three-Needle-Bind-Off can save you at least some of the seaming you’ll have to do. Also remember to leave a long enough tail – or even the yarn attached – so you won’t run out while binding off.
You are going to need an extra needle the same size (or if you are a tight binder-offer a size or a few sizes larger!) to work with.
Here we go:
All you need to do is hold the two RS (Right Sides – a common abbreviation) of your knitting together, knit one stitch from the front needle together with one from the back needle, repeat and bind off as you would.
When you are done with all stitches and look at it from the RS, this is what you’ll see:
Not bad, eh? The stitches line up nicely.
So keep in mind: Whenever you have to edges to join that have been just bound off the Three-Needle-Bind-Off might be a solution!
On a side note: if you ever have a question on a technique I have not covered yet, please do not hesitate to ask! I am always grateful for pointers to make my post worthwhile your time.
Happy Knitting, as ever!