Monday, September 3, 2012

Seaming the Mary Maxim Aran Tweed Kimono

by Kelly

Work proceeds on the Mary Maxim Kimono project. Now that all the pieces of the garment have been made, there is one more hurdle for an inexperienced knitter like me - seaming the thing together.

Seaming isn't my first love. There are any number of things I would rather do, including visiting the dentist and itemizing my taxes. Sadly, it wasn't the season for either of those chores, so I didn't have an excuse to put the project aside.

Warning: Although there isn't any flash photography in the pictures ahead, there is some potentially eye-searing orange shag carpeting. You may wish to change the color setting on your monitor, but then again you might not, because those settings will never go back to normal despite hours and even days of fiddling. Trust me on this one. A better solution might be to put on a pair of dark sunglasses. Ignore anyone who laughs at you for surfing the net with cool shades on.

Here's the garment all laid out on the floor, ready for the next step:

There are all kinds of ways to seam knitting together. The most invisible is mattress stitch, which is used to join two vertical rows together:

Mattress stitch takes a little work to get the hang of, but it's well worth all the effort. It's very gratifying to pull the seaming thread tight and watch the stitches zip themselves together.

But then I hit a snag - I had to seam two horizontal rows together. See how the little v's of the knitting are lying on their sides in exhaustion, rather than standing up straight? That's the first clue that trouble lies ahead:

The Mary Maxim pattern didn't offer any suggestions here, because they were trying to cram the whole pattern onto one sheet of paper, and there was no room for extraneous material...except for those images of basic crochet stitches, that is. Left on my own hook, I did what I always do, and turned to the Internet for help.

I found a simple tutorial on shoulder seaming at TLC knitting, so I tried that first. I wasn't happy, though, because it left a little runnel or valley in the finished side. So I took that out and tried a slip stitch crochet edge, which also didn't work out. Eventually I settled on a 'single crochet' seam, and I'm reasonably happy with how it looks. It blends in well with the crochet edging that  is going on the edges of the garment, and as a bonus provides nice folding lines.

I did a little more research, though, and found what I think might be a better solution for anyone else who might be working on this kit  - backstitch seaming. There's a good tutorial with tips at I have already started the edging and don't feel like frogging it at this point, otherwise I would give this kind of seam a try.

Now, all of this might seem (pun intended) really obvious to more experienced knitters, but I personally would have appreciated a little more guidance in the written instructions than "seam the edges neatly together". And speaking of guidance, for a wonderful page devoted completely to seaming knits, check out VogueKnitting. This link is definitely going into my bookmarks folder.

I'm off to finish the crochet edging to the kimono. Yay! Nearly done!

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