Now, With More Cutting!

With the majority of the knitting done, our Permission Denied projects will move into what is known as the Finishing stage. Finishing will consist of all the steps required to turn our knitted tubes into finished garments, so there's some construction involved, too. All these steps take time, so don't be surprised if you're in the finishing stages for as long as it took to do the knitting. Take your time and enjoy each of the steps for its own sense of completion. It really is satisfying to do each part, and if you are a knitter who thinks you "hate finishing", you might be surprised to learn that doing it in a new and different way is all you needed to try.

Ready? Let's do this!

With your body tube stitches divided and held on waste yarn, secure and cut the center front steek (!). My yarn wants to use a machine-stitched steek because it's a blend of wool, alpaca and silk. The alpaca and silk wouldn't hold a crocheted steek, and a handsewn one isn't as stable or quick, so I chose to use my sewing machine. I made 4 vertical passes with regular sewing thread and a medium-long straight stitch.

Once the beastie is flattened out (look how much knitting you did, and how fast!) It's time to place some waste yarn markers. Measure the tops of both your finished sleeves, below their knitted top facings. If the two sleeve top measurements are slightly different, take an average. This is your armhole depth measurement. Place a short horizontal marker yarn at the exact depth measurement for both sleeves. Then place a vertical one from the center of the bound-off stitches at the top, down and across the depth marker.

My neckline will be a crew-shape, so I placed my markers to guide the curve. If your shaping is a kimono or V, your markers will form a wedge-shape. Measure on each side front to your preferred depth (if you're not sure, mark conservatively - you can always cut deeper later). My vertical marker lies between the groups of held stitches (neckline and shoulder). My horizontal one is at the exact preferred depth. A third, diagonal marker shows me where to create my curve. Thanks, Precision!

Markers for a deep-V/Kimono neckline and armholes might look like this:


Then I secure my armhole cuts like this (I'm showing you from the WS so you can see the machine stitching better).

Now cut, slicing the marker yarn in half vertically (if you've been in Eeek! Steeks! class with me, this is the part where we shout "Evicerate"!). Stop your cut at the horizontal marker. Allow me to repeat: STOP YOUR CUT AT THE HORIZONTAL MARKER.

Look, Ma: no steek stitches required! We just cut into perfectly good patterned body knitting, in order to put our armhole exactly where we wanted it! Pick out the yarn marker schrapnel and it should look like this:

Sexy! And accurate! Now turn your attention to the neckline. Here are my machine stitches (hard to see in matching thread - I usually use higher contrast because it will never show, but I was too lazy to change what was already in my machine).

Now cut the neckline, leaving a 1/2" "seam allowance".

Can you believe this is all the knitting that's wasted? No one will ever tell you have to knit stranded colorwork flat to shape a neckline again!

And that's it for the cutting. You can put away the shears and pretend it never happened now, if you want. This is also an excellent time to retire to a relaxing place with the beverage of your choice. Perhaps somewhere with Knitters, so you can regale them with your tale of glory.

When you're ready, you can move on to joining the shoulder seams.

I like to join my shoulders with a 3-needle BO. You may have heard that this join isn't strong enough to support the weight of a full-size sweater at the shoulders, but that's wrong. IF, that is, you make the join in two separate passes. First, put the live sts for each side of the shoulder back onto some needles. Still got the same number for each side of the shoulder? Good. If not, don't panic. Drop me a line and I'll help you sort it.

Fold your sweater with right sides together and the needles parallel.

1st pass: With a new working yarn, and starting from the armhole edge, knit one stitch from each of the first two needles together, pulling one new stitch through two old ones. Be careful not to accidentally skip any old sts; you should have the same number on each of your first two needles.

2nd pass: Once all the old sts are joined, bind off all the sts on your third needle.

Break the working yarn and pull both it and the tail from the 1st pass through the last stitch. Tie the ends in a square or surgeon's knot. Trim them to about 1" long.

Here's my finished shoulder seam. It worked out that my pattern matched exactly, due to the way I divided my body tube sts. This isn't always possible, so don't stress out about it. As long as both shoulders match each other, it will be beautiful, I promise.

Try on your masterpiece to see how/where the neckline falls on your body. Are you happy with it? If not, re-mark, secure and cut. Precision! Don't we love it?

Now you're ready to mount your sleeves and cover the cut armhole edges. Then you can finish your front opening and neckline edges. You can do either of these steps in either order you prefer: Sometimes it's easier to work on the front and neck edges without the sleeves flopping around. And sometimes you want to get the sleeves in before you commit to the final front and neckline finishes. Either way is fine. Take a selfie like the one above and show us all, over on Ravelry!