Monday, May 9, 2016

Update #3 - Knitting with Seams vs. Seamlessly

I've finished the back side of my Drops Erica Singlet lace top for the Very Shannon Tees, Tanks, and Tops KAL, and I've knitted about 1/4 of the front side of this top.  I had to go down a needle size to get gauge and as a result, my lace work isn't really opening up as the Drops sample does.  I'm not happy about this and have been all over the place with different ideas to fix it.  I've tried going up a needle size (it didn't really help much).  I've planned to buy a different type of yarn and re-start the project.  I've thought about frogging the back of this top and using this Cotlin yarn to knit another tee pattern.

In the end, I decided to love my top for what it is and keep knitting.  Although my lacework is not as open, I think it is still pretty and there are advantages to using this thinner Cotlin yarn.  My top is nice and light, and very soft.  I think I will enjoy wearing it in the warmer months.  My gauge block with thicker cotton yarn had better stitch definition, but was very heavy.  I think this heavier cotton would make my top quite hot and uncomfortable in the summer.  I don't think I would wear it much.

Erica Singlet by Drops Design
Some knitters might think to knit this Drops top in the round to save time.  At first glance, it might seem like the right thing to do.  The pattern would be quite easy to knit in the round and it would make this project a little quicker. 

However, in some cases, there is a reason to knit a garment in separate pieces and to maintain side seams.  As noted in this great Twist article, side seams provide stability and structure to a garment.  With a close fitting sweater or top, your body provides the shape for the garment.  A fitted top will hug your curves and therefore does not need a lot of structure built into the garment.  And sometimes you want a garment to show off your shape and curves, like this cowled tank from Knitty.

But a loose fitting garment, like this Drops lace top, needs the side seams to maintain its shape, particularly as it hangs away from the body at the bottom edge.  The loose A-line shape of this top was one of the things I really loved about this design, and the side seams are what's maintaining that shape.

Patterns really need to be looked at on a case by case basis to decide whether they need seaming.  Generally, however, if you want your knitted garment to maintain its own shape, or give your body a different shape, that it's going to need some seaming to offer support.  Check out the Twist article for more great information!

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