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Sunday 17 February 2019

Professional Finishing Techniques- Black Sheep Wools

We've all been there.....spent hours (and hours) (and hours and hours) knitting something and when we get to finishing it off, sewing it up, jigsawing all the pieces together it looks a bit, well bleugh, and not at all reflective of the knitting time and effort you put in. 

When I first started knitting I mostly knitted toys. Lots of tiny individual components knitted flat which the needed sewing up. My seaming was so bad I always thought that it completely ruined the finished project. I never even thought of trying to knit a garment for this exact reason.

Fastforward five or so years and I am now slowly starting to build myself a handmade wardrobe. I have knit a Flax by Tin Can Knits (more on this in a future post) and a Carbeth Cardigan by Kate Davies. Flax is a seamless, top down design, knitted completely in the round (ie no seams) but the Carbeth Cardigan, whilst essentially knitted in one piece required picking up stitches for the button band, and around the top of the button band for the neck. It took me almost as long to add the finishing touches as it did to knit the whole thing. 

So far I have avoided garments requiring seams, garments requiring a provisional cast on, garments requiring proper button holes, as I thought my dodgy finishing techniques would not do the end product justice. 

Black Sheep Wools in Warrington run a course that covers all of the above and more. Perfect! Run by a knitting expert from Rowan, Nicole, we were guided through mattress stitch (mind-blowing) both for stitching side seams, and attaching sleeves, picking up around the neckline, button holes without any dodgy looking loopy bits, and shoulder shaping using short rows. We were taught how to make sure our decreased lean the right way, how to make an invisible increase (no more m1) and which cast on method is most suited to different types of project. I'm so glad to have mastered the provisional cast on for 1 x 1 rib. 

What Nicole really emphasised was that you really need to take your time. A cardigan that takes you two months to knit should not be sewn up on a Saturday evening in front of the TV with only your evening mood lighting to see by. To do a good job of it set aside a weekend, or an afternoon. Make sure your pieces are blocked and dry first. This aint a rush job. 

This course has not only given me the knowledge, but also the confidence to adapt techniques in patterns, change the cast on style, add some short rows for fit, change the shoulder shaping. I would definitely recommend to any frustrated knitters, like myself, where the end project never quite matches up to your expectations. There is another course soon- click here to have a look. 

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