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Skill Level: Intermediate
Carri Hammett
Knit Finishing Techniques
Knit Finishing Techniques
Carri Hammett, Instructor

Learn professional finishing techniques to complete your handknit sweaters in this informative and fun knitting class! Find out more in the Class Description below.


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Knit Finishing Techniques FAQ

I'm allergic to wool. Can I use yarn with different fiber content?Expand

Yes, you can use yarn with different fiber content such as acrylic, nylon or cotton. If possible, try to use a yarn that is a blend of wool and another fiber. Such a yarn is more likely to have "memory", and your sweater will hold its shape better. Look for yarn that has the same gauge on the label as the pattern. Also, keep in mind that other fibers might require a different needle size than the one recommended in the pattern for wool.

Can I use a needle that's shorter than 40 inches?Expand

A shorter needle can be used, but you might find that the stitches are very crowded and have a tendency to fall off when you set your knitting aside. Use rubber bands or needlepoint protectors when you set the knitting aside so no stitches fall off. At the very least, make sure you push the stitches well away from the tips.

I have too many stitches in my 4-inch swatch. Is my tension loose or tight?Expand

Your tension is tight.

I have too few stitches in my 4-inch swatch. Is my tension loose or tight?Expand

Your tension is loose.

My tension is too loose. What can I do to achieve proper tension?Expand
  • Use a smaller needle.
  • When knitting back and forth use a smaller size needle on the purl rows.
  • Loop the yarn around your fingers so there is more drag.
  • On purl rows add an extra wrap around one finger.
  • Knit more slowly.
  • Form the stitches on the needle tip instead of the shaft.
My tension is too tight. What can I do to achieve proper tension?Expand
  • Use a larger needle.
  • Don't wrap the yarn around as many fingers or more than once around any one finger.
  • Consider using a metal needle instead of a bamboo or wood one.
When I measure the stitches in my swatch, what part of the stitch am I measuring?Expand

When you are measuring a gauge, what you are looking for is the complete "V" that makes up 1 stitch. To count stitches, measure the legs of the V from side-to-side at the top of the V (where the legs are spread apart). To count rows, measure from the bottom of the V (where the legs come together) to the top of the V (where the legs are spread apart).

My gauge is wrong and I need to change needle sizes. Should I rip out my swatch and start over?Expand

You don't need to make a whole new swatch. Once you measure your gauge the first time, then keep switching needles as needed (sometimes several times) until you get the correct gauge. Don't be afraid to make a big swatch! It will give you time to "settle in" to the yarn, and you will get a more accurate measurement of your gauge.

Can I make the two fronts or both sleeves at the same time on one needle? If so, do you have any hints so I know which side I just finished working on if I put my work down?Expand

You certainly can make both of the fronts or both sleeves at the same time. Use two balls of yarn and a 32-inch or longer needle.

Here are some tips:

  • Put a stitch marker between the two sleeves. If you pick up your knitting and the marker falls off the needle, you'll know you've completed one sleeve but not the other.
  • Pin the two pieces together about 2 inches below the needles. Pin across the gap between the two pieces using a locking stitch marker or coil-less safety pin.
  • Obviously, you will be knitting with two balls of yarn, one for each sleeve. To keep the yarns from becoming tangled, rotate the needle clockwise at the end of the right side rows and counterclockwise at the end of the wrong side rows.
I'm ready to sew my sweater pieces together. Should I use the same yarn for seaming as I used for knitting?Expand

Yes. Use the same yarn for seaming as you used for knitting. The only time you need to use different yarn for the seams is when the sweater has been knit using a highly textured or very bulky yarn.

When making the side seams are the right sides or the wrong sides together?Expand

Seams made in knits are not the same as clothing where the right side is usually joined together. The edges are butted together and joined using a special technique called mattress stitch. The mattress is worked with the right side facing and as the stitches are formed, it automatically makes a seam that turns to the inside of the work.

When seaming, can I drop down a row at other stair-step transition points or just at the first one?Expand

You can certainly drop down a stitch (row) at each of the stair-step transition points if necessary. You might also find this technique helpful when you are joining the top of the sleeve cap to the armhole. The sleeve cap also has stair-step transition points.

Do you block the sweater each time you wash it?Expand

Think of washing your finished sweater as "blocking light." After hand washing your sweater, lay it flat, preferably on a mesh drying rack. Gently stretch and smooth it with your hands until it's even and looks to be the same dimensions as when originally blocked. If desired, use a tape measure to make sure it's the same dimensions. Usually just eyeballing the sweater is sufficient.

FREE -- Class Overview
FREE -- Introduction
Fit & Style
Using the Pattern
Importance of Gauge & Making ...
How to Make Seams Swatch ...
Introduction to Sweater ...
Shoulder Seams
Joining Sleeve Cap to Armhole
Side & Sleeve Seam
Picking Up Stitches & ...
Buttonholes & Buttons
Attaching Edge Bands
Class Wrap-Up
up down
Class Project Photos

Customer Reviews for Knit Finishing Techniques:

Average Rating:
5 out of 5 (Reviewed by 5 customers.)

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August 22, 2015
Jeanette R
The class was wonderful! Carri Hammett explained how to seam the pieces so clearly. I now know, which part of the stitch to use to make a seam. It gave me the confidence to finish a sweater that had been unfinished for years! Loved the class and highly recommend it.
March 29, 2015
Michaelene A
I had just finished knitting a jacket-style cardigan and didn't want to spoil it with mediocre finishing and seaming. The class really made a difference in the confidence I had while completing the project.

Both the verbal instructions and their demonstration are extremely clear. It's almost like sitting in the studio with Carrie, which I'm sure would be both helpful and fun. I would certainly recommend the class to anyone with doubts about finishing a project.
March 29, 2015
Sandra M
This is the third class I have purchased on Annie's. I have been knitting for years and never really happy with my seams. I was so excited when this class became available. I am very happy with the class and will look back on it for every sweater or any other item I make. It looks finished professionally. Thank you for all your wonderful classes. I look forward to purchasing more.
March 7, 2015
Laura C
I have taken many online classes regarding various subjects. I have also taken knitting classes on another knitting platform different that this one. What I really liked about this class is that it goes in depth and provides all the information that you need to knit the cardigan and finish it. While I also like knitting classes on Craftsy, I have found that they sometimes lack information regarding subjects that I thought would be originally covered during the class and you end up having to purchase a couple other classes in order to finish the project. At least, that was my case, being an intermediate knitter. While I understand that each skill builds on another, I think that it would be very helpful if from the beginning, the costumer should be warned of other skills needed to accomplish the project successfully. I find that this class had everything needed by the student to actually finish the project with great chances of success. Also, the time of filming material covers much more than in other platforms. I truly enjoyed this class and was worth the price.
February 5, 2014
Jewelle T
I purchased this class because I had knit all the parts for a beautiful cable sweater, and didn't like the way the seams looked (homemade). After skipping around a bit, I quickly found out what I had been doing wrong. It was very simple, but I couldn't find this information anywhere else on the internet. I am very happy with my sweater now, it looks better than one bought at a store. :)

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