Friday, August 2, 2013

Reverse EZ Moment, Part Two: I Knit for Miles and Miles

I knit for miles and miles... with apologies to The Who. 
Lately, that's my biggest complaint about knitting sweaters in one piece, row after row of 300+ stitches.
But I digress.

Both Elizabeth Zimmermann and Barbara G. Walker (see yesterday's post for context) were early proponents of creating garments in once piece or as close to that as possible.  EZ's designs might be knit hem-to-collar or any which way -- her Baby Surprise Jacket is a wonder.  Walker's book Knitting From the Top Down is the basis for every top-down pattern you've seen.  

 A really popular design these days knits the body in one piece before or after adding sleeves.  Sometimes the sleeves are seamed, sometimes not. 

Four of the sweaters I've knit or am knitting since early spring are some version of one-piece designs. I'm loving all of them.  I even designed a top-down knit-to-fit seamless sweater, the Venus cardigan.

So here's my reverse EZ moment:  knitting sweaters without seams has its drawbacks. 
Some seamless knitting pros and cons:

-Look, Mom, no seams
-If knit from the top down, you can try on the sweater as you knit and alter fit as you knit
-If you understand the idea of neck shaping and shoulder/ underarm shaping (arm scythe, anyone?) then you can make necklines and sleeves easily
-Creates a particularly drape-y look
-Allows opportunities for miles of zen knitting
-Yes, you can create faux seams, but why?  I've never understood this notion.

-If knit from the bottom up,  pretty hard to try on or even hold the sweater up to yourself to see if it might fit.  Yes, you can put those hundreds of stitches on waste yarn or a really long circular needle and slip it over your head.  Not an easy feat, though.  Mostly you have to trust the measurements. You have to make sure you're exactly on gauge or you'll knit for miles without realizing this sweater will not fit.
-That drapey look is fine if you're using fingering or sport or even  DK yarn.  In heavier yarns it can begin to look lumpy/frumpy.  
-Way too much knitting for miles and miles -- no sense of actually finishing something, like, say, a back or a front.
Imagine your favorite jacket without seams. 
Seams add structure to a sweater.  Seams help a garment hang properly, especially shoulder and side seams. 
Seams break up all that knitting for miles and miles into easily-handled chunks. 

I'm ready for a few seams.

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