Friday, 10 December 2010

FO: Fiddlehead Mittens

It was SO interesting to read everyone's comments about their seamed/in the round preferences, and their reasons for doing so. Many of you hit upon personal preferences (and hey, that's why we knit, right? We could all go out and buy sweaters if we wanted to. Knitting is a choose-your-own-adventure!) Most preferred knitting in the round, or were perfectly fine with either/or. Here are some some highlights in the for and against:

For Seamed:
  • "I really like to knit in the round, but I like to seam too. I don't want every top I make to have raglan sleeves and I want some variety. I sometimes get annoyed that so many people knit everything in the round. I shouldn't care if they're not my projects, but I also wonder at this aversion to seaming."
  • "For me, a successful seam makes me feel like an accomplished seamstress (which I am not) and I like that feeling. Crazy?!"
  • "I always knit everything flat, then seam + I think it's because I came from a sewing background, so it's easier for me to visualize things that way and make changes to a pattern."  
  • "I know I'm the oddball here (and a type-A personality) but I prefer to seam my sweaters. I get great satisfaction out of perfect seams. I also like my clothes to look tailored and I like the way sweaters fit when they are seamed. I've knit one seamless sweater and it just never hangs right. Don't get me started about weaving in ends though - HATE it!"
  • "I think I prefer making my sweaters in pieces - front, back, 2 sleeves - because I like the structure of seams."
  • "I'm a big fan of knitting in pieces and seaming, which is probably not the norm these days. I will convert from knitting in the round to seamed if I can.
    There are many reasons for this:
    (1) If I make a mistake and have to rip, I rip back a lot less (just one back or one front piece instead of the whole body
    (2) I knit English style, and I like using long straight needles so that I can prop the right one on my inner elbow. My knits and purls are about the same speed that way.
    (3) I like to measure my garment as I go against existing garments as size templates, and flat pieces are much easier for comparison purposes.
    (4) I don't like to carry around the entire garment when I knit. Smaller pieces are more portable.
    (5) Seams do add a lot to structure and can prevent that biasing effect with large pieces.
    (6) I feel like I am making good progress as I complete each piece.
    (7) Simple straight seams with mattress stitch are very fast to do and I find them satisfying. But then, I like finishing work -- good finishing makes the garment."

For In the Round:
  • "I don't mind seaming at all, but I do mind doing things more than once. Knitting in the round means that what's done is done, and I don't have to knit two (or three) almost identical bits."
  • "Not everyone is a process knitting (blasphemy, I know) and seamless knitting makes getting that end product that much faster." 
  • "I knit mostly in the round for sizing purposes. I'm outsized and curvy so anything that needs to be seamed means trying to fit medium backs to large fronts/sleeves or something." 
  • "I think the main reason I prefer seamless knits is that I don't like finishing. I like my garment to be done very soon after I finish knitting, rather than another 20% of the work being the assembling. It's that rather than the act of seaming that I object to. Secondly, knitting in the round usually means less purling, which is always a plus."
  • "for some reason whenever I see a pattern that calls for seaming, I think the designer is not a real knitter. I love my wool too much to waste it on seams."
  • "I enjoy the illusion of efficiency that knitting in one piece give me. I do like to say that I'm too lazy to be inefficient! There's the skill that's involved in seaming, as well. While I can do it just fine (in most cases!) it's a skill I don't take all that much joy in."
  • "The ability to knit in the round (or seamless) is one of the big differences between hand-knits and mass-produced knits and wovens, so that is a big plus.Also, I despise seaming, so I will make every excuse to knit seamlessly!"
  • "I stopped making seamed garments and design only seamless ones at first because of the challenge but also for the intuitive nature of it. I love casting on with just a rough idea of what I want but as it grows it might become something totally different from my original idea. I couldn't do that with pieced knitting. For me it allows much more freedom."
  • "You make really good points about the structure that seams provide. I knit almost exclusively in the round and I think I prefer it because of my paranoia about things not fitting properly, I like to try on as I go. I also knit almost exclusively from the top down and I like the freedom it gives to make adjustments to length and such."
  • "I tend to work seamlessly because my seamed sweaters seem to linger half finished for ages because I can't seam and multitask like I can knit and multitask. Seamless knits also let me try things on as I go. Knitting in pieces means that I have to finish most of the sweater before I find out if it fits or not. Seaming can also spoil a project if it isn't done skillfully and I know a lot of knitters who find that frustrating."
  • "because knitting a sweater in pieces doesn't feel like I'm knitting a sweater. It feels like I'm knitting a ranch house. :) A sweater in the round is motivating because you can see how it will look, how it will hang (not as easy, pre-seaming, for the former) and keeps you continually excited to have a real honest-to-goodness homemade sweater. Knitting it in pieces seems like more of a gamble. More abstract."
And those who feel that there is a time and place for both:
  • "I think it depends on the pattern. If it is stockinette stitch, then I prefer to knit in the round. However, if there is a lace pattern or something complicated, then I prefer knitting flat pieces."
  • "I appreciate the structure of seams and will do so when it makes sense, but I also dislike purling and enjoy how quickly I can knit in the round. Also, stranded work is extremely unpleasant to me when knitting flat."
  • "I feel the same as you about seams- they are the framework of a good sweater! But the whole top-down try-it-on-as-you-go thing can be mighty reassuringing. The only construction I don't especially like is bottom-up in the round. Whenever I make one I constantly wonder why the designer didn't go top down, lol!"
  • "I like knitting in the round too, primarily because I don't usually swatch, so I like to block and try on things as I go along. It does sometimes get heavy/bulky, so that is a disadvantage. For sleeves, I prefer to knit them flat because they're fiddly in the round."
  • "I knit slowly, and my purling is that little bit slower, so I appreciate a pattern that spares me the excessive purling! That said, I rarely change a pieced pattern to knit in the round. A good-looking seam can be very satisfying!"
  • "I knit everything in the round because I don't like how seams look on the inside... reminds me of machine knit things sewn together and feels less special in a way. I love weaving in ends and making them invisible and to me a seam takes away the "magic" of the inside of a garment. I love seamless top down and bottom up. I design/improvise a lot of *really* fitted dresses and so I also want to get through the dresses as quickly as possible with a tight flattering fit and room to experiment on my whims without worrying if it will fit later after finishing."
  • "I do a lot of seaming with the toys I make, and the practice definitely makes a difference in the amount of time it takes, and the finished appearance. That and mattress stitch, which is awesome. I wonder if many of the people who avoid seaming do so because they lack a bit of practice, or maybe they don't know of all the nifty ways to join knitted pieces? I also do a lot of knitting in the round, so I keep those skills sharp too. So, I guess I tend to use whichever method works best for the project in hand, since I'm comfortable with both."
  • "I feel much the same as you. I prefer seams in a garment, but I also prefer knitting in the round. On my Noyaux dress, I ended up knitting it in the round and adding seams for structure when it was finished. I think I may do this more often, in an attempt to obtain the best of both worlds."
  • "I come down purely on the side of laziness. Some of my aversion to seaming probably also comes from a (largely false) conviction that I'm "bad" at sewing and I should stick to the knitting skill I feel confident about."
Whew!! you all had my head going all weekend long, mulling over all the good points that were made for seamed and in the round. Thank you all for taking the time to weigh in on this.

Now to the FO: Fiddlehead Mittens!


 The mittens have been done for at least a week or so, and I'm in love with them- I've worn them every single day. I did a single crochet chain to make a mitten string (losing one mitt terrifies me), and I also added a k1 p1 ribbed cuff. the cuff gives my wrists an extra bit of protection against cold winter winds from sneaking up my sleeve. I wish I had grabbed a photo of them without my hand stuffed in them (so you could see the cuff), but it was the second time we had to re-shoot the mitts due to poor lighting- So tough to get good outdoor light during these super short days! Fiddlehead Mittens


LittleWit said...

Your mitts look awesome! I really need to make a pair for myself. Some day. :)

Tanis said...

Your mitts are great, love the colours! And as usual your FO pics are adorable. Definitely worth the re-shoot. This may be a strange comment, but I think those mitts go really nicely with your hair colour!

Anonymous said...

They look so cute. I've been meaning to make a pair this year! and I love the idea of having the crochet chain/string. My mom used to crochet chain for my mittens when I was little so I don't lose them =P

nicole said...

Gorgeous mittens. The colours are so pretty and soft. And Tanis is right, they looks so good with your hair! LOL

It was interesting reading everyone's take on seaming vs. seamless. It made me think about my own preferences, and confirmed my thoughts that both techniques have their merits.

Anonymous said...

Ooh I love the gentle colour variation! And great photoshoot! :)

Anonymous said...

they turned out absolutely beautiful!! i'm so glad you have a new pair of mittens!

jen said...

these mittens are so adorable and so are you! yea!!

Jaimie said...

Thank you so much for sharing the responses you received for all preferences...I have never been a seamer but I think part of my problem is that I am afraid all that hard work is going to look like crap once I seam. It is the finishing touch on a lot of work. I have a Hey, Teach that has been knit for over a year that is still not seamed...I am such a weanie! But there are so many instructionals online and in books that I really just need to shed the weanie and go for it!

Lovely mitts too...they look gorgeous on you!

Sherral said...

Love those mitts!

yoel said...

Love the mittens! I esp love your picture with your hands up like ears. Both my husband and I immediately put our hands up like ears too (:3

Maryse said...

Your Fiddlehead Mittens are beautiful! I love the colors you chose... These are on my queue!

Michele said...

So pretty! I love the colors you chose. They look so very warm too!

Knit 1 LA said...

Nice mitts! They look very toasty!

Anonymous said...

Those mitts look awesome! And really warm. Good idea to add cuffs. It is essential to do something against that gap between coat and mitts. That's where I get cold first (in coats and sweaters - so always long sleeved sweaters for me)

I didn't get around to think about seams and knitting in the round. I guess it is all about personal preferences and what the garment calls for. I have knit sweaters in the round and wished I didn't. Some of the older ones I knit in pieces and it was much easier to correct mistakes by seaming them differently or adding some centimeters on the sides (I've knit pieces together with like five stitches on both sides to get the right size).

But I like that when knitting in the round I'm pretty much finished when I'm done with the knitting. Also I can correct other things easier. Especially sleeve-length and width when knitting them top-down in the round. With my last project I liked how quickly and mindlessly I could knit up the body and then adjust the yoke and length quickly after trying it on.

There you go my 2cent :)

Now I'm waiting for the light for some FO shots ... grey and rainy today ... :(

Anonymous said...

What beautiful mittens! I keep meaning to make a pair, but there are soooo many cute patterns; now you've added another one to my long, long queue.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful mittens. :)

Jacey said...

The mitts are adorable! I especially love the antler pic.

hibou said...

That was a fun read! The mittens are so sweet, and you picked a PERFECT colour combination!

Hilary said...

I have been out of town forever so completely missed the seamed vs. in the round discussion, but I really enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts! And those mittens...girl, those are fabulous!

The Sweatshop of Love said...

Ohh love it! Everyone has been knitting these beautiful intarsia mittens. I want in but I hate HATE hate intarsia. I'm so torn! For now I'll just oogle yours!

Anonymous said...

You never have a bad hair day, do you?! :) I love your mittens. The soft colors are gorgeous!

Aesderina said...

beautiful mitts!!
thnaks for reposting everyone's comments! that will be super helpful in the future!

love love love the colours of the yarn!

CanarySanctuary said...

Lovely mitts! I also love your cuff addition. That's one aspect of the Fiddlehead Mitts that I thought needed adding as well.

Jen (pieKnits) said...

I keep seeing all these cute mittens and it's making me want to knit a pair! Despite the fact I'm in Texas and hardly have need for them. You look adorable in yours!

Peggy said...

Love these mitts! They are fun, beautiful and look warm too.

dawn said...

Love the mittens...the colors you chose are subtle yet highlight the pattern perfectly.

jessica said...

I cant get enough of those mittens! They are beautiful, i have to come back every couple of days and look at them again. I live in California so I don't have a real need for them.... but I wish I did. Maybe I can think of another way to use that color scheme and pattern.

Sandy said...

These turned out great!! I too really like the colors you chose.