Knitted Hem Fine Points

Fair Isle knit "Dianthus" top's knitted hem

Sewing the hem on my “Dianthus” knit top.

Happy 2015!  I hope you all had a wonderful 2014 and are ready for an even-better 2015.  Now, it’s time to get to work on those resolutions!

One promise that I made myself for 2015 was that I’d stop letting some worthy designs languish on the shelf, unpublished.  So far, I probably publish only about half of the knitting projects that I complete (and, being constantly surrounded by more yarn than I could ask for, I don’t complete ’em unless I feel they’re worth publishing.)  It’s not that I don’t like finishing them – actually, that’s one of my favorite parts!  It’s that so many distractions arise in that lull between the finished knit and the finished pattern.

And so, my friends, I’m going to use your kind attention to bolster my resolve.

I knit my “Dianthus” top to wear to a dear nephew’s wedding that took place…I’m ashamed to say it… last August.  That’s the inside, bottom hem of it that you see in the photo.  I happen to love that top, yet here we are, five months later, and I haven’t shared it with you yet.  But now that I’ve taken this first, tiny step in debuting it, I know that I’ll get busy finalizing the pattern shortly.

In the meantime, Serendipity gave me a great photo for answering some of the questions knitters often ask me about the knitted hems on their Fair Isle / Norwegian knits.  Usually, any close-up photo of a Norwegian, or especially a Fair Isle, knit is apt to be blurred by the fuzz of wool yarn.  But, there’s no way in the world I was going to wear wool to a steamy August wedding in Boston.  And there was no way I was going to knit a boring, monotone top.  (Those of you who know me know that it had to be stranded!)  So, as it happens, we’re looking at a Fair Isle / Norwegian knit done in clear, sharp, 100% mercerized Egyptian cotton Dale Garn “Vipe” yarn.  And, it seems my camera was even behaving well that day!  So, here you have it, my tips for hemming your stranded knits, complete with an ulterior motive that…hopefully…you’ll see the results of here before long:

hem on a fair isle knit top

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About twostrands

Knitting designer, retailer and instructor specializing in Fair Isle and Nordic design. Website = kidsknits.com Blog = twostrands.com.
This entry was posted in Fair Isle Knitting, Knitting, Mary Ann's Designs, Norwegian Knitting, Technique, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Knitted Hem Fine Points

  1. beckyhd13 says:

    I have seen some patterns where you connect the hem by knitting 2 together, thereby connecting the cast on edge with the knit row when you get to the right length. I’m always happy to minimize the amount of finishing I have to do, so this approach is attractive. Do you discourage this and instead recommending waiting until the end to sew down the hem?

    • twostrands says:

      Hi Becky! I think we all are happy to minimize finishing work…as long as any shortcut we take leaves us with an equally happy result. I’m not a huge fan of hemming on the fly, as you’ve described (and as I wrote about way back in ’07 https://twostrands.com/2007/12/16/hemmed-knitting/) for two reasons:
      1) The round of k2tog’s that joins the most recent round with the cast-on edge pulls both sides equally in toward each other, and that creates a ridge / line on the outside. When you sew it by hand, it’s easier to keep the tension a bit looser on the inside, so that the front doesn’t get pulled in as much, and you get to avoid, or at least lessen, the ridge. That said, there are times when a definite ridge line can look fine. So I wouldn’t say I always discourage that approach. On the other hand, even if a ridge line can look okay, I think having no ridge line looks better, so that’s what I shoot for.
      2) I don’t think hemming on the fly saves much time at all!

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