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 top down in-the-round vs pieces and seaming
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momsie123
Chatty Knitter

125 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  09:43:45 AM  Show Profile Send momsie123 a Private Message
I'm trying to decide if I should do a men's simple crew neck sweater top down or in pieces and then seam. The pros and cons I've heard are: top down is easier to fit as you go and has virtually no finishing other than weaving in ends. The pros I've heard for pieces and seaming is that the garment has more "structure" from the seams and also that it is easier to just take a piece along and work on it, rather than the entire garment. I've done top down sweaters for kids and they are pretty easy but I do feel like I'm flinging around an entire sweater by the time I'm working on the sleeves. Any other advantages/disadvantages you experts could point out? Thank you!

Elaine in NJ
Gabber Extraordinaire

584 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  12:20:05 PM  Show Profile Send Elaine in NJ a Private Message
The major difference is the way the sweater will fit. A sweater made in the round will be relatively loose and unstructured--great for casual wear, but not good for the office or under a blazer. So think about how the wearer will use it as well as the knitting process.

Certain types of patterns are harder to do in the round (cables), while others are easier (Fair Isles).

I love to work in the round (I work bottom up), because it always seems to go faster--there's no purling! But I only do it for casual garments, usually done with Fair Isle or other types of colorwork.

Life is too short to waste it on acrylic.
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gulf knitter
Seriously Hooked

USA
737 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  2:22:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit gulf knitter's Homepage Send gulf knitter a Private Message
I agree with Elaine. You can add structure to a garment knit in the round by putting false seams on the body of the sweater. If you increase one stitch extra to your pattern for each seam, and then decrease in the same spot on the row before you either bind off your underarm stitches or put your under arm stitches on a holder, then you can seam up either side of that stitch. I would not do this on a garment knit with a bulky yarn. I only do this on sleeves if they are skinny close fitting sleeves, otherwise I do not think it adds anything if you use paired increases. Sarah
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  2:53:59 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
I hear all the talk about structure in a garment and I think I am talking to seamstresses instead of knitters. In sewing you need structure, because it is too simple to be off grain and you are using such a lightweight fabric. When it comes to knitting, however, you will get your structure when you decide on your gauge swatch. If you are having problems with "unstructured" garments, you are probably knitting too loosely. In a hand knit sweater there is only one spot that you need to watch for structure and that is the shoulder seam. At the same time, you can knit a saddle shoulder that has no seams and has all the structure you need. A side seam only adds structure to the weight of the garment and keeps the hems from sagging. If your hems are sagging, you are knitting too loosely. If you are knitting a very loosely knit sweater and having problems keeping its shape, sewing seams will not be enough, you will need to put structure on the inside of the garment. A common way to do that is to sew in some reinforcement like narrow grosgrain ribbon of seam binding or facings.

fran

http://www.geocities.com/martian_mischief/
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stellal
Seriously Hooked

New Zealand
956 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  3:08:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit stellal's Homepage Send stellal a Private Message
I would have to disagree (very politely) with Elaine NY, I have just finished a cabled fitted sweater, with a saddle shoulder, and waist shaping. it is not loose unstructured and i will wear it to work at the office. I used my guage to make sure i had a fitted sweater, and decreased and increased to allow for the waist and bust. I also have a cute wee fitted ralgan, done bottom up, with a scooped almost off the shoulder neckline in fine yarn, with hint of glitter, not loose and unstructured, and great under a jacket.

I would agree with Gulf knitter, bottom up can give you the same result and you do the sleeves separately so you wouldn't feel like they are 'flapping around'.

Not sure what you mean by structure, if you want a sweater that will not grow, then make sure you use good yarn and a reasonably firm guage, and road test your swatch so you know it will not sag or grow latter when washed. If you mean the things that give it an illusion of shape or fit, then put in phoney side seams (either EZ's retro-fitted slip stitch ones, or a line of single vertical reverse stocking stitch, or a cable or something) to mark the bits you feel need structure). If you mean shaping, then you can decrease and increase just the same in the round as in the flat for a waist, or bust, or flare, and in the same places. I have a really cool sweater knitted with front and back darts (double lines of decreasing between the bust and hip) to provide waist shape, and my powder blue cabled one with all the shaping at the side seam. I have also seen a sweater that used a row of cables spaced around the waist only to pull it in and make it fit, and have commercial ones with a high waisted ribbing panel that finishes under the bust, sort of a ribbed corset but not so tacky.

I love in the round, and switch between top down and bottom up, bottom up for myself and to let me do sleeves separately, top down for kids as then i can lengthen as they grow. Thats the theory, but strange thing is i have never lengthened, i prefer to pass on to others and knit a new exiting sweater. Until you wrote about the sleeves, i never realised it was the weight of the garment that lead me to use bottom up for adults sweaters.

Knit - the fabric of life
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momsie123
Chatty Knitter

125 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  4:27:49 PM  Show Profile Send momsie123 a Private Message
Thank you for all the info. I think that the gauge issue is probably a good one for me to concentrate on. The sweaters I've done in the round do seem "floppy". I probably should knit to a tighter gauge. BUT...I have knit a few gauge swatches in preparation for this sweater and I've even washed and blocked my swatch. I know that is what you experienced knitters do and I learned my lesson after my last sweater.
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Atavistic
Permanent Resident

6604 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  4:38:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Atavistic's Homepage Send Atavistic a Private Message
I disagree, too. You can make fitted sweaters in the round, I have done it.

However, if you are talking about raglan shoulders (are you?) for a man, I would think twice. It makes their shoulders look slopey.

Amanda

"Is that my Not-Mine Sweater? Whoever gets that Not-Mine Sweater is very lucky."
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stellal
Seriously Hooked

New Zealand
956 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  4:40:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit stellal's Homepage Send stellal a Private Message
One thing that is hard to predict is how a guage will behave under the weight of a sweater, if it is a long sweater in a heavy yarn, it almost needs to be firmer, to counteract the weight of the hem pulling it down and out of shape. Less important if you use a firmly twisted yarn. Do remember that to tighten a guage, you don't knit tighter - you will only do your hands damage, but use smaller needles, and knit just as as you have before, the needle size determines guage not the tension in the yarn.

Knit - the fabric of life
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mbmoody
Gabber Extraordinaire

583 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  5:01:29 PM  Show Profile Send mbmoody a Private Message
I don't think it matters much for a simple drop-shoulder sweater. Knitting in the round is probably easier.

I knit arans flat, because it's easier for me. Usually the stitches only move on the right side, and the wrong side is simply knitting the knits and purling the purls. This is simpler for me done in pieces. Also, the sweater gets too bulky to comfortably knit in the round.

I also knit flat if I want a set-in sleeve. I've knit patterns that have you go in the round, then knit flat for the sleeve cap, but that means adjusting for gauge. Again, for me, it's easier to knit in pieces and seam.

Ganseys have purls to mark where the seams would be. This helps keep track of where you are in the pattern. I don't know that I would ever bother creating a phony seam after the fact, but inserting the purls serves a purpose.

Another factor to consider is if your yarn has a tendency to bias knit in the round (or flat).

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Nadege
Chatty Knitter

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  6:08:58 PM  Show Profile Send Nadege a Private Message
I've knit all my sweaters in the round and now am really making an effort to learn how to seam. I love knitting in the round and always do a gauge swatch but the sweaters always end up being flopsy and droopy.

Also, no matter how many short rows are inserted in the back, the sweaters just don't seem to fit properly. They just hang there.



Nadege
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jaymeKnits
Permanent Resident

USA
1350 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  07:35:01 AM  Show Profile  Send jaymeKnits a Yahoo! Message Send jaymeKnits a Private Message
I only knit in the round for sweaters and I love fitted structured things, seams have nothing to do with it, fake or otherwise. I get my fit with darts or ribbing and you can add short rows if you need them too. I knit sweaters either top down raglan or bottom up with set in sleeves knit on from the top down.

The last sweater I knit had 3 3-needle bind offs and some ends to weave in for finishing and that was it. No collar to add, no sleeves to sew in, no side seams. When it was done it was done. That's why I like my method. The one and only drawback I see is that after a certain point it becomes at home only knitting because of the size.

Jayme
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azblueskies
Permanent Resident

2393 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  07:40:39 AM  Show Profile Send azblueskies a Private Message
For those whose in-the-round sweaters are baggy, which patterns are you using? I've made the T that was popular last summer and am now making the split neck t-shirt from Knitting Pure and Simple. Have you used the KP&S patterns? I think I knit the T too loosely and may rip it out sometime and redo it with a tighter stitch but I was happy with the shape. Love the fact that when you take it off the needles, it's done.
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Elaine in NJ
Gabber Extraordinaire

584 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  09:25:27 AM  Show Profile Send Elaine in NJ a Private Message
When I said in-the-round sweaters were baggy, I was referring to the shoulders. You simply get a nicer, closer fit with a set-in sleeve, because the sweater shape is more similar to the shape of the body.

Life is too short to waste it on acrylic.
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Atavistic
Permanent Resident

6604 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  10:21:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit Atavistic's Homepage Send Atavistic a Private Message
There are ways to work raglan sleeves so they fit closer--not increasing every other row for the whole depth, for example.

Amanda

"Is that my Not-Mine Sweater? Whoever gets that Not-Mine Sweater is very lucky."
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Nadege
Chatty Knitter

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  11:24:53 AM  Show Profile Send Nadege a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by azblueskies

For those whose in-the-round sweaters are baggy, which patterns are you using? I've made the T that was popular last summer and am now making the split neck t-shirt from Knitting Pure and Simple. Have you used the KP&S patterns? I think I knit the T too loosely and may rip it out sometime and redo it with a tighter stitch but I was happy with the shape. Love the fact that when you take it off the needles, it's done.



I use patterns from all the Mary Goodwin books. She has you increasing every other round when knitting the yoke. I'm wondering if the KP&S patterns are different. As I've mentioned before, I just find the in the round fit too loosey goosey (is that even a word?).
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achrisvet
Permanent Resident

USA
5986 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  11:44:51 AM  Show Profile Send achrisvet a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Elaine in NJ

When I said in-the-round sweaters were baggy, I was referring to the shoulders. You simply get a nicer, closer fit with a set-in sleeve, because the sweater shape is more similar to the shape of the body.

Life is too short to waste it on acrylic.



I agree that drop shoulder sweaters are more casual. However, you can knit sweaters with set in sleeves in the round. I did one this year with a saddle shoulder then a set in sleeve knitted from the top down using short rows to shape the sleeve cap. I think you can do about any shoulder/sleeve treatment in the round.

Anita
My completed projects

and here

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stellal
Seriously Hooked

New Zealand
956 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  5:33:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit stellal's Homepage Send stellal a Private Message
There are other 'in the round' sweater shapes like the saddle, strap, and even set in that provide a better fit than a raglan, and as Atavistic said there are ways to shape a raglan so it has a better fit. The standard instructions assume the body has an equal shape change at the shoulder and close to the underarm, which is just not true for most of us. One thing to watch with a raglan is the amount of body ease, as if you have a minimum of 10 cm of ease and usually more like 20 cm in a mens sweater, that ease has to be decreased out by the time you get to the neck, and that makes the yoke biggish, and often longish. For a sweater with a better fit, i use 10 cm of ease maximum, and often decrease every row in the first 5-10 rows of the raglan to eliminate the extra ease and provide a closer fit both across the shoulder/chest area and under the arms. Nothing says oversized like a lowered armhole, people think they like them, they ask for them, but a high armhole gives more movement, and looks so much better, an illusion of longer arms, longer torso, more fitted sleeves, trimmer.

Knit - the fabric of life
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Yarnni
Permanent Resident

Canada
1021 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2005 :  06:08:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit Yarnni's Homepage Send Yarnni a Private Message
I'm in the process of making the "Lemon Zest" cable sweater in the round (Knitter's Summer 2003 page 60 & the cover shot). It has cables all over and I'm not having a problem with structure. I'm going to attempt the sleeves top down, by picking up around the arm holes. I have a friend who will walk me through the process. I'm all for knitting in the round and 3 needle bind off. I think it makes the garment look so nicely finished. Besides, I'm not the best sewer!

Yarnni
www.knitwerx.com
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2005 :  06:35:47 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
The majority, if not all, of the problems listed in previous postings are fitting problems. They are not related to whether you knit from the top down in the round or knit flat. In the round or knitting flat are knitting techniques and as with all knitting techniques they can be done well or poorly, but we need to be able to identify just what is the cause of the problem and the cause is seldom the technique used.

Well fitted, excellent sweaters can be made with both techniques. We all have preferences as to which we like better or with which we are more comfortable, but let's call it like it is. Your sweater is baggy or doesn't fit or whatever because of the way you made it, not because of the technique used to knit it. The first thing necessary to correct the problem is to identify it and sometimes that takes humility. Perhaps what you are saying is that you have problems with fitting with one design or another. That can be corrected without throwing out a perfectly good technique even if it is not your favorite.

Knitting, like so many other things in life, is so simple than anyone can do it and so complex that not everyone can do it well, but they can be taught.

fran

http://www.geocities.com/martian_mischief/
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cknits
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
464 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2005 :  06:37:25 AM  Show Profile Send cknits a Private Message
For those of you knitting in the round, what are your best pattern resources? Are you modifying patterns to knit in the round? I have "sweater phobia" mostly because of the seaming and maintaining correct guage, I've looked for knit in
the round patterns at my LYS but have only found Knitting Pure and Simple. Any suggestions?

Happy Holidays, Carrie
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azblueskies
Permanent Resident

2393 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2005 :  08:27:31 AM  Show Profile Send azblueskies a Private Message
I have trouble finding patterns in the round, too. Most magazines feature seamed patterns and I can't find books at B&N and Borders with in-the-round patterns.

I have most of the KP&S patterns and am just now making one - the split neck T-shirt. Have any of you used that pattern? I'm making the small (36) and am just ready to divide for the sleeves but one thing bothers me....the instructions for where I am now say to continue working the last 2 rounds until there are 70 sts between the back markers and there are already 70 sts. Before going any further, I'm sitting down with pencil and paper and going over the rows to see if that can be right.

Their patterns are extremely easy to follow but one thihg that would be nice for us counters would be the number of stitches one should have at the end of the rows (the increase rows) and also to number the rows (for those of us who use a counter to keep our place). I'll mark this pattern myself as I'm pretty sure I'll be using it again.
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