Category Archives: Finishing Techniques

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New Sweaters for Every Body

Spring looks like it's here, but the weather still isn't convinced. T-shirts are still relegated to storage and my sweater collection is in full rotation, I've even been double layering sweaters outside to do yard work. Cold days also means a cold house where hand washed things take a whole week to air dry (if I'm lucky) so I found myself contemplating a range of cheap polar fleece jackets to wear while I dig up bushes and mix compost into my soon-to-be dye garden in the back yard. I didn't see anything I liked, but I did see a bag of Brava Worsted in Peacock that looked pretty enticing so I gave in to my knitting needles and decided to cast on the Worsted Crewneck from Worsted Basics pattern collection.

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Raglan Sleeves FOREVER

Portland has been struck with a big, chilly ice stick this weekend. We've all been shut up at home, waiting out the weather (thankfully the power stayed on the whole time) and I bet more than a few of us were working on our craft projects! I spent the weekend feverishly finishing up a pretty basic pullover in Brava Worsted Peacock. You know the kind I'm talking about - acres of stockinette stitches, a good bit of positive ease for a comfy, simple layer. However, there was one part that I wasn't looking forward to wrestling with: set in sleeves.

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Introducing Lilleknappen!

I'm a huge fan of details, especially when it comes to finishing projects. I like good, proper hems, perfectly coordinated buttons, and fine stitching along a steek. Even more than that, though, I love authentic touches. That's why I'm so thrilled that we're carrying authentic Norwegian pewter buttons and clasps and Swedish cotton ribbons from Lilleknappen! I've been waiting for this day for quite some time, actually. I found Lilleknappen when I was looking for good quality pewter clasps several years ago, and we've finally been able to add their fantastic products to our lineup. That means that the pile of sweaters that have been waiting for trimming can finally be finished! (for two years my favorite Icelandic sweater has been held shut with a safety pin!)

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Sweater Finishing Series: How to Whipstitch a Hemmed Cuff

A hemmed edge is one of the more subtle finishing details that can really add a polished look to your sweater or cardigan. Whether you add a hemmed edge to your cuffs, collar, or along the lower edges of your pullover – there are several advantages to using this simple, yet effective technique that leaves a very neat and clean edge. If you don’t want your fabric to pull in as a ribbed hem would and you want to avoid the bulk of a rolled edge – a hemmed edge just might be the perfect solution! Not only does a hem prevent your edges from curling, it also adds stability and keeps edges like cuffs and colors from stretching out over time. It is also a simple and classic design detail that won’t distract or compete with any other patterning that you might have worked into your pullover, making this a versatile skill to have in your mental library of knitting techniques.

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Sweater Finishing Series: How to Pick Up and Knit the Collar

Last week was the start of our sweater finishing video series where Kerin showed you how to set in the sleeves of a sweater. This week's segment entails a comprehensive look into the elusive collar! The first step to the collar will usually be picking up your stitches, which can be a bit tricky since you'll be working along straight and curved edges of the collar. Unsure of how to work a hemmed collar? Kerin covers that too! Check out Part 2 of our sweater finishing tutorial to learn how to pick up and knit a collar as well as how to sew down a hemmed collar.

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Sweater Finishing Series: How to Set in Sleeves

Although binding off that last stitch on your sweater is extremely satisfying, there is usually a bit more work left to do in order for that sweater to be truly finished. Whipstitching a hem, grafting at the underarms, and picking up stitches for a buttonband or collar – these are the smaller details that require time and attention but may not be the most familiar of knitting techniques. So what’s a knitter with finishing woes to do? Why ask Kerin, ...

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How to Block a Sweater

After investing a great deal of time into knitting a sweater, you want to give it a beautiful finish. This often involves blocking the sweater to the proper dimensions. When you block a sweater, you are setting the stitches and evening out the fabric in addition to preserving the correct sizing. Generally, sweaters can be wet blocked (good for cotton and linen), spray blocked (good for wool and alpaca) or steam blocked (good for wool and alpaca) depending on their fiber content. And to make sure that your first sweater blocking session is a success, we have a handy video tutorial that walks you through all of the steps! The video also shows you what to do for the three different blocking methods (wet, spray and steam). That way you can match a blocking technique that is best suited for the fiber type of your sweater.

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Weaving in Ends

Weaving in your ends is one of the last steps in finishing pretty much any project, and is almost impossible to avoid one way or another. Now, how you weave in yarn ends - that is a whole other story! There are so many different ways to weave in ends. Some knitters save all of the ends for last, some weave them in every few inches as they go along their projects. And sometimes, it also just plain depends on what kind of yarn you are using! And in this case, we have a handy video tutorial that shows you just how to make sure those ends stay woven in when you are working with smooth yarns and plant-based fibers like cotton and linen blends. So grab your tapestry needles and get ready to finish all those projects that have a few (or many!) leftover ends still hanging out.

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How to Make Buttonholes

Buttonholes seem like the simplest of closures but you will want to take careful consideration of the size of your buttons relative to the size of your garment as well as the function of the button (is it decorative or utilitarian?). To help make this potentially tricky process a bit easier, we have created a guide to three different buttonhole styles - including the one row buttonhole, two row buttonhole, as well as a buttonhole for ribbing. Usually shank buttons are best for knitted garments since the button shank gives more vertical clearance for the thickness of the knit fabric. If you are using a flat button, you may want to create a shank by wrapping thread or yarn around the stitches that attach the button to the fabric. Wrap the stitches between the button and the fabric, then secure the thread or yarn with a knot at the back side of the fabric.

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How to Sew on Care Labels

We've all been there. The anxious phone call from a friend or family member asking is there was any way to stretch out the lovely handknit or crocheted project "just a bit". And after a few investigative questions to determine just exactly how much just a bit was and why the fit was off, the real reason reveals itself - the gift that was carefully made stitch by stitch was accidentally thrown into the wash or taken care of in a way that wasn't good for the yarn. After having this happen on an occasion (or two), I knew that things would be different for my knitted gifts in the future after I saw these adorable care labels we have at Knit Picks! These small care labels are perfect as that little reminder to the recipient as to how to wash your gift. We even made a video tutorial that shows exactly how to sew the labels onto your knitted or crocheted project in two different ways. The first way shown in the video lets you attach the label in a way that can be easily removed (if you want the recipient to know how to care for it, but be able to snip the tag off) and the second way in the video will show you how to firmly attach the label in place by using a simple backstitch.

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