Monday, March 3, 2008

How to Tuesday : Mattress Stitch

The logical part of my brain is telling me I should probably be starting with casting on since this is a beginning of sorts.

Actually just to be contrary, I decided to start with part of the finishing process....seaming with mattress stitch.

Learning how to mattress stitch was probably the biggest defining moment in my knitting journey (thanks Mum!). Prior to learning how to seam this way I really didn't know what I was doing, I think I just attacked my knitting with a darning needle and hoped to high heaven it was going to stay sewn together. I haven't yet met a knitter who actually likes seaming. For me getting all the knitting done fills me with a sense of pride and achievement and then simultaneously with dread, as I know it's not *actually* finished yet. I know a lot of knitters who try to do nearly everything in the round to avoid seaming.

Seaming is a pain in the behind but if you can achieve a tidy seam it really can make the difference between something looking homemade as opposed to handmade.

So mattress stitch.

This type of seaming starts by placing your two pieces of work lying side by side , right sides up. I know, sounds wierd. You catch the stitches on alternate sides and pull tightly to create an invisible seam. It gives a really tidy finish and because you are working with the right sides facing you , it is easy to see where you are at and how the finished result will look.

I use mattress stitch almost exclusively if I is a pair of shorties I've made and a photo showing the side seam

Tidy huh?

How to Mattress Stitch

There is a 2min video here at (scroll down to the finishing section).

If you are on dialup have a look at this Knitty article that has pictures. I also found this article
from a UK learn to knit site which has some excellent close up pictures (scroll down the page to find the mattress stitch instructions)

Anna from Mochimochi Land wrote a fabulous fabulous post this week about using mattress stitch . She covers vertical, horizontal and horizontal-to-vertical seaming (lots of clear pictures) plus some great instructions for using mattress stitch in toy making (e.g attaching arms). This is a really great article that you can apply to all types of FO's.

The Knitty article covers mattress stitching when your garment is made in garter stitch

Happy Seaming!

Would love some feedback, is this helpful? Or a dumb idea? What shall we do next Tues?
Back to regular FO stuff tomorrow ;)


Michaela said...

I HATE HATE HATE seaming too! I've left pieces laying around for months after knitting them. I've been too intimidated to try the mattress stitch and end up seaming other ways, but I'm definitely going to check out the video to see what it's all about. Whenever I make myself try something, it's hardley ever as difficult as it "seems." - hehe

Anyway, another thing I've always wondered if there was a better way than what I'm doing is carying the colored yarn across the back in fair isle. Maybe next Teusday? (Or Monday for me since I'm across the globe.)


sweetp said...

I think mattress st definitely looks more difficult than it really is. There is this wonderful moment when you pull your yarn through and the seaming disappears. Like magic.

Stranding is good one! I will see what I can find and do that next Tues (or Mon..actually even my post header says it's Monday...wonder if I can change that) . I actually have a just finished FO to use for that one

Kaessa said...

Well, that looks easier than I thought it would be! Thanks for the information, it will come in handy.