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Seams Harder Than It Really Is…

September 13, 2012

Hi again, Knitters!

Neighbor Elizabeth, back as promised, to help make seaming the Chinese Lantern Hat seem easier! This is Part 2, continued from my earlier post about blocking.

Part 2 Seaming

Your hat should be nice and dry, and will have bloomed nicely. Blooming is that plumping of the yarn that happens when you wash it for the first time. Outer, as you may have noticed, blooms into the most lovely, squishy fabric!

In preparation for seaming, replace the waste yarn still in the stitches at the top of the hat with the working yarn. To do this, cut the yarn, leaving a 9” tail. (The pattern does not say to do this, but I recommend it.)

Cut yarn before threading through held stitches.

Thread yarn into the live stitches with blunt-tipped tapestry needle, and, starting with the first stitch on the right…

…thread yarn tail thorough the held stitches at the top of the hat.

After all the stitches have been run through, remove the waste yarn, and cinch the top of the hat closed by pulling on the working yarn.

Pull yarn to snug up stitches.

All cinched-up!

Secure the end of the yarn to the WS of your work by making a knot though one of the existing stitches; weave in the end. (I would also recommend weaving in any other loose ends, while you’re at it.)

Secure yarn used to cinch top with a knot on the WS.

Once all of your ends are taken care of, we can begin seaming. We will start at the very top of the hat, and work our way all the way down to the edge. The seaming method called for is Mattress Stitch, which will give an invisible seam on the RS of the hat. It is worked with the RS of your work facing you, so you can check your progress for accuracy. We will be working one full stitch in from both edges (your garter selvage stitches). This does add some bulk to the WS of the hat, but is the easiest to work.

To begin, you will need to cut a length of the yarn you washed to about 24”. In my opinion, using yarn that has already been washed for seaming makes the yarn behave better ;). 24” is long enough to work the entire seam, but if you need to redo all or some of the seam for any reason, you can use a fresh piece. (Multiple, shorter lengths are preferable to seaming with one continuous length of yarn, that might weaken from the abrasion of the fibers caused by pulling the yarn in and out of the knitting repeatedly.)

Attach yarn to the WS of your work and hold the edges together.

With the garter stitch selvage tucked inside, find the first stitch to pull your needle through:

Bring needle tip from back to front through the first hole on the right-hand edge.

Go to left-hand edge, and insert needle from front to back underneath first stitch; bring under second stitch, and up from back to front.

Snug up seam stitches as you go, rather than waiting. The seam length can be adjusted somewhat after you are done.

Of special importance: there are two individual stitches to be worked on the right-hand edge for each of the Half Fisherman’s rib stitches – all the way down to the edge. Make sure you take these stitches one at a time, together with a stitch from above, rather than lumped together as your two stitches for seaming.

From this point forward in the seaming, we will always work two stitches at the same time catch two stitches/bars on one side go back into the last hole you came out of on the other side, and catch the next two stitches/bars.

Back into original hold on right-hand edge, under the next two stitches, and out again.

Choose the corresponding loops for the rows you are seaming, and not get them out of order. If you are unsure, you can tug the loop to see which stitch moves.

Continue seaming the edges together. Check your progress occasionally, to make sure everything is lining up.

Visually check your progress, to see if your edges are aligned.

When you have joined the last sts at the bottom edge, tidy up the edge by straightening individual stitches, and catching the loops there:

Tidy the tubular edge, evening out and securing any loose stitches.

Weave the tail into the seam, pulling to adjust the length of the ribbing, before securing.

Before weaving in the last end (attached at the top inside), check the length of the seam by trying on the hat. If you would like to adjust the seam length to be shorter, loosen the knot that holds it in place, and pull this yarn tighter. If the seam length seems too short (your seem bunches up or puckers, you can let out some yarn by gently tugging at the lower part of the hat to feed additional yarn into the seam from the top. Once you are satisfied with the length, secure and weave in the loose end.

You’re all done! I hope you had fun – I sure did! The hat should form to the shape of the wearer’s head after the first wearing or two. You can wear it down, as I do, or pushed back, in a slouchy fashion. I hope you will share your finished projects with us! 🙂

Here’s mine:

My photo’s a bit out of focus, but here’s my finished hat!

Happy Knitting!

~ Neighbor Elizabeth

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