The simple joy of seaming

How to work mattress stitch

Can I just take a minute to publicly say how awesome Kate Gagnon Osborn is? When she signed on as a member of our Panel of Experts for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, she offered to share her seaming wisdom (and enthusiasm). In the meantime, she’s taught us all so much more: how to accurately measure gauge with a cable swatch, how to account for post-blocking changes in row gauge, how to work increases “in pattern,” and even how to rewrite neck shaping. She blows my mind on a regular basis. (And we’ve laughed a little over how few comments there have been on her ultra-detailed posts. Did she blow your minds, too?) And now it’s finally time to talk about seaming! Kate has an excellent tutorial on the Kelbourne Woolens site (in their ever-expanding Tips & Tricks section) and I can’t see any point in reinventing the wheel. So she’s updated that tutorial with Amanda photos and you can read it at the other end of this link: How to work mattress stitch. (Thanks for being you, Kate!)

Despite my ongoing issues with knitting sweater pieces (all of which boil down to ADD) I genuinely enjoy the act of seaming those pieces together. It is so easy and so magical, pulling that strand and seeing pieces come together to form a whole.

So after blocking your joined sweater and sewing up those side and sleeve seams, all that’s left is to finish off the button bands, including working the button holes, and pick up stitches for the neck band. For guidance on picking up stitches, particularly for the curved portions of a neckline, the best resource I know is Pam Allen’s passage on the subject in “Knitting for Dummies,” which I think everyone should own. I also love her discourse on button holes in that same book. For those of you who don’t own it, I refer you to the buttonhole/band episode of Well worth a listen!

From here on out, I’ll be checking in with our panelists as they finish their sweaters, starting with Jaime Jennings. And I also have more to say about the specific tiny mods I’ve made to my Amanda. And of course, we’ll all be watching the hashtag for as long as there are people using it!


PREVIOUSLY in #fringeandfriendsknitalong: Skiff hats of the knitalong


Photos © Kate Gagnon Osborn

12 thoughts on “The simple joy of seaming

  1. so happy this seaming tutorial (and the cable specific swatching) is here and accessible! Just finished the barn sweater from taproot and it’s lovely… next up is that wonderful classic cable sweater you posted a few weeks back. My knitting group is ready to take that on after all the holiday knitting is done. Needless to say, both of these tutorials will come in VERY handy for us! I don’t leave comments nearly enough to let you know I’m soaking up every bit of information and fabulous photos you are posting. Know that I would be a lesser knitter without you, Karen. And keep doing what you’re doing! I love it!

  2. I just finished a Kelbourne Woolens pattern and need to seam it, so the timing is perfect! Thanks! :)

  3. I’m going to take a moment and call out the wonderful-ness of you, Karen! I’m sitting this one out, but relishing all the information, photos, links and podcasts-ready and waiting for me when I’m ready.
    You’ve amassed an amazing amount of talent and resources and I’m so happy to have it all in one place! Well done! And thank you!!

  4. I need a private mattress stitch lesson. I refuse to knit sweaters in pieces because my seaming is so dreadful. Sigh. Maybe I’ll stitch together a couple of coasters for practice and make a mug rug . . .

  5. Color me red and please forgive me for not mentioning all the information you’ve shared on this one KAL alone…not to mention all the gems in your “everyday” writings on your blog! I devour everything you write and print all the expertise given by your panel of professionals…just in case some gremlin in my computer eats all that good information! I know I’m growing as a knitter because of everything I’m learning and I can’t thank you enough!
    Wishing you continued success and sending tons of gratitude and appreciation for all that you share!

  6. She’s definitely amazing, I’ve bookmarked every one of her posts for future reference! This is the method I use for seaming and I don’t remember where I learned it or what it was called until today! I really don’t want this hashtag to ever end on IG

  7. Excellent post – my mum had knitted for years – she was 95 when she passed away this February but she had never been taught mattress stitch and was blown away by the magic!

  8. I’m still far away from seaming but will refer back. I’m always slightly disappointed with my finishing skills. The pieces are often well done, and then my seaming takes it down slightly. Thanks for posting such clear directions… I’m determined to do it right this time.

  9. I have so enjoyed the KAL and especially Kate’s informative posts. Most definitely will be referring to them for future projects. Looking forward to trying out some of her ideas for modifying the neck shaping on my Amanda.

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