Saturday, March 26, 2016

Jane Raddatz' Wonderful Lesson on Improved Sew-As-You-Go

I'll never get over how creative, clever and generous machine knitters are! 

Jane Raddatz of San Diego has written me and even sent pictures about how she's doing sew-as-you-go knitting in a different way, and with great results.  Here's what she said (and sent), starting with a photo of conventional sew-as-you-go, the way I have been teaching it (simple, right-side up, loop on a needle join):
I think if you look at Jane's photos and read her instructions, you'll agree that she has a superior method!  It's going to be a little more trouble to poke your tool into the knots instead of the loops, but try it - I'm heading to my machine to try it myself.
Dear Diana -- Every description of sew-as-you-go that I've seen, including yours, emphasizes making sure the panels are going in the same direction, that is, being sure you start with the bottom loop of the panel you are joining.

I'd like to question that wisdom.  I've found through experiementation that you get a much nicer join if you purposely join the panels in the opposite direction.

The reason for this is twofold.  1)  Sew-as-you-go results in a one-half stitch overlap of the panels, and 2)  the difference between a right-side up stitch and an upside down stitch is one-half stitch.  These two facts combine to give you a perfect join, with no half stitches involved, if you purposely join the panels upside down. 

If your panels are patterned in a one-way direction, of course, this may not work..  .

I've attached photos.

....In both photos, the join is near the center of the panel. 
....In photo 1-a, the bottom half is done "upside down", hanging knots on the side the carriage is on.

....The upper half of photo 1-a is done "updside down" hanging loops on the side the carriage is on
....In photo 2-a, the bottom half is done "upside down",  hanging knots on the side opposite the carriage
Photo 2-a
....The upper half of photo 2-a is done "upside down", hanging loops on the side opposite the carriage

AND . . . there is a wonderful side benefit to the approach too.  You can proceed from panel to panel without breaking the yarn.  I start with a crochet cast-on, preservving the final loop on a holder.  At the top of the first panel, I do a loop-through-loop bind-off, then use the final loop to start a crochet-cast-on of the next panel.  I preserve the final loop of that crochet cast-on to use as the beginning loop for the next panel's loop-through-loop bind-off.  As long as you make sure to end each panel's bind off with the yarn on the side the next panel will be, you can work with one continuous strand of yarn.  The result is:
..... 1) no extra yarn ends to work in,
......2) an attractive, continuous chaiin across the top bottom of the afghan (cast-on chair leads into bind-off chain leads into cast-on chain...).
......3) a nice sew-as-you-go join between panels.

Jane Radatz
San Diego


  1. I'm delighted to see my idea posted, but Photo 2B isn't the right photo -- it's a repeat of Photo 1, so of course no improvement can be seen since it's the "before" photo again. Maybe Diana can post the "after" photo. Thanks!

  2. Oops -- Photo 2-a is the one that needs to be corrected.