True to my word, I have turned the pieces of my Interval sweater inside out, and seamed the knitted tee up again. Now, instead of a reverse straight stitch sweater, it is a stockinette sweater with purl and garter accents.
This solved a number of problems with this pattern, one of the worst being the ugly scar-like seam I created when I mattress stitched the reverse straight stitch pieces together at the shoulder. Remember this?
I kept redoing my mattress stitching in efforts to improve this terrible line, because the pattern explicitly called for using the mattress stitch! But no matter how many times I tweaked or pressed the seams, they looked terrible. A wonderful reader has now informed me that the correct way to seam reverse stocking stitch pieces together is to use slip-stitch crochet. What a revelation! I will definitely try that the next time! In this case, I decided to turn the pieces inside out so that stockinette was facing instead, because there were many other problems with the tee that I could address better by using the stockinette fabric. And you can see that the mattress stitch seaming does work better:
However, if I compare the line and look of these set-in sleeves to the many other designer patterns I have knitted using Calmer yarn, I feel this Shibui pattern does not stand up. In spite of the fact that this stockinette fabric allows the mattress seams to blend better, the jagged line of cast offs created at the armhole still shows. Compare Interval's shoulder line to that in Cherry, a pattern I recently knitted in Calmer that was designed by Anna Bell:
Apart from the seaming, a huge problem of the Interval pattern is the curled stockinette hem!
My new hem looks much better, don’t you think?
The advantage of knitting this tee using stockinette is that it allows you to create a reliable flat hem using garter stitch that mimics the purl line at the center front of the top. Horizontal garter stitch and vertical purl rows do not look exactly alike, but they are similar enough to form a recognizable inverted T, which is the point of the whole design:
However, the original pattern, with its stockinette hem, curls up so much that you can’t see the bottom of the sweater so the entire bottom element of the design is lost.
How did I change out my hem, you ask? It is an anguishing moment when you have knitted a garment in pieces from the bottom up and discover that even after it is seamed and pressed that the hem is a disaster. Here this blog gets a bit technical. Rather than unraveling my entire sweater in order to fix the hem, I picked up stitches above my curling hem on a needle and cut off the fabric below so I could knit a new one in its place. I learned this technique from Sarah Hatton when I attended her workshop in San Francisco two years ago, and I took in-process photos of how I did this with Interval in case you are curious about this technique. Every knit stitch in stockinette consists of a V, with a right leg and a left leg. Keep this in mind as you read the instructions below:
Step One: Pick up ONE side of the V of each knit stitch across a row.
Do this on the first row that doesn’t have a problem above the faulty part of your hem. I tend to pick up the right side of the knit V, but you can pick up the left as well, just make sure you always pick up the same side of every stitch across the row. Beware: You may wish to mask off the upper and lower rows with long post-it notes so it is really easy to see the one row all the way across your knitting and to prevent yourself from picking up some stitches a row above or a row below the one you are focusing on.
Step Two: Check to ensure you have picked up all the stitches in your row on the R or L V of the stitch uniformly.
If you miss putting a stitch on your needle, that stitch will not be secured so take time to check every single stitch is firmly held on your needle.
Step Three: Cut off your faulty hem a row or two below the stitches that are secured on your knitting needle
Step Four: Pull off the cut threads from around your stitches that are sitting happily on your needle.
You are now ready to knit down. It is as if you had been working with a provisional cast on, and now you can knit down as far as you want. In my case, I added 10 garter rows to the bottom of my tee-shirt to ensure that the edges would not curl as much.
Voila! A new hem is born, and now I can wear this soft, comfortable tee throughout the spring and fall.