Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Unventing the Seamless Baby Sweater

With the holidays rolling to a close, I finally started the baby sweater I was planning last fall. I spun up some three-ply merino just for the project in October, thinking I would make another Baby Surprise, but I wanted to try something different.

So I cast on for a Nearly Seamless sweater, as instructed in the Knitter's Almanac. I really like the gull stitch pattern, so I'm using that too.
My yarn is worsted-weight, and I'm knitting on size 4.0mm (US6) needles, so it will be a fairly large sweater.
My handspun was striping so beautifully, though, that I didn't want to interrupt it's coloration around the body.

I though about it for awhile, and decided to forego the sleeve instructions as written. I am trying a new approach!

Using the "Thumb Trick" over 21 stitches gives me the same number of live stitches on which to knit the sleeves (42 total, 6 pattern repeats) and allows me to knit the sweater in the round all the way to the hem. I will then pick up the sleeve stitches and knit them in the round, for an Entirely Seamless Baby Sweater. (I hope.)

(If anyone can think of any reason this might not work, let me know before I get too far... *grins*)


  • I've been thinking about working on the same problem. After I knitted my first one, someone who has knitted many of this pattern suggested her method of placing the sleeve sts on hold and finishing the body first, then going back and knitting the sleeves in the round. I'm trying to figure out when to add on those 7 extra sts to each end of the sleeve. I just cast on tonight so hopefully might see what happens tomorrow.

    Your method is a clever one; I can only foresee a difference in overall shape/size. While you are planning sleeves on the total 42 sts as written in the pattern, sleeves your way account for a lower percentage of body sts (148 - (21x2)) vs (148 - (28x2)) as written.

    EZ's way, tacking on the 7 sts to each end of the sleeve, creates a sort of sleeve gusset (under the armpit), whereas your method creates "flat" sleeves. Does that make any sense? I'd say keep going and maybe we can compare photos after. Given that it's for a baby, it can't make too much of a difference. I'm all for figuring out a way to make the pattern totally seamless.

    Sorry for such a long post, but I've been comtemplating the same problem since another knitter wrote about the same pattern a couple of days ago.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:56 PM  

  • Go forth and conquer! I just posted my almost seamless baby sweater, and saw your post. I do agree with what Jen is saying about the extra 14 sts on each sleeve. I would just cast on an extra 14 symmetrically from the armpit's center - where the seam would normally go. I'm sure you've already thought of that! God luck!! I'm working on another one hoping not to mess up the pattern at all (but I think I already have.)

    By Blogger mishi2x, at 7:24 AM  

  • oh how clever - i think i have to try one - as my nephew arrived two weeks early on dec 23rd...and the cable cardigan isnt ready - what better to do than a quick baby sweater?

    By Blogger sogalitno, at 4:24 PM  

  • just a note to say i have knit MANY of the seamless baby sweaters but meant to say give yours a try.

    By Blogger sogalitno, at 4:26 PM  

  • I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but I'm thinking you have more stitches in body of your sweater this way. By EZ's way, You've got 148 sts, if you subtract the sleeve stitches, you end up with 92. Then when you resume the body, you pick up 14 stitches at each sleeve, so 28 total, so 120 stitches for the rest of the body. With the thumb trick, don't you still have 148 for the body? What you could do to keep the striping pattern is to hold the 28 sleeve stitches at each arm on a holder or yarn, then in the next row, cast on 14 stitches at each armhole. When it's time to do the sleeves, take the stitches from the holder, then pick up 14 stitches from the cast on body edge, and knit it in the round from there. Good luck!

    By Anonymous aimeedewar, at 4:48 PM  

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