Monday, July 29, 2019

When Underarm Grafting Isn't Quite Right

A few years ago I wrote a tutorial all about underarm grafting for bottom-up seamless sweaters. From the many links to it on Ravelry and elsewhere, it's been quite useful to a lot of you. It's a form of joining that looks very neat and tidy when executed properly PROVIDED YOU ARE WORKING IN STOCKING STITCH. So, what to do if you are working in some sort of stitch pattern? I have a solution. It's one I came up with on my own; to coin EZ's terminology, it's something I "unvented", meaning that someone else may have come up with this on their own but I'm not unaware of it.

I'm in the final stages of knitting a cardigan in a simple pattern stitch.
You can see that if I were to join the underarms by ordinary grafting, there would be an interruption of the pattern in two ways: 1) there would be a horizontal band of stocking stitch across the underarm area, and 2) the vertical lines of the stitch pattern would be "off" by half a stitch, as that is what happens when you graft two pieces of knitting originating from opposite directions (it doesn't show in stocking stitch). I know it's only the underarms, but let's get it right. Here's my solution.

Start by turning the garment inside out. You will notice that this beautiful stitch happens to produce a reversible basket stitch on the inside. Now follow steps One and Two from my earlier grafting tutorial. (Hint: open it up in a separate window, so you can see both tutorials.)

Step One: The stitches are transferred to dpns. It doesn't matter if the sleeve is above or below.


Step Two: Remember to pay special attention to the orientation of the extra stitches picked up on the end of each needle.


Now, instead of grafting, simply unite the gap with a 3-needle bind off. It will look like this from the wrong (working) side,


and like this from the right side. Notice how beautifully the vertical lines of the stitch pattern come together.


It's not the first time I've done underarms this way; I used the same method of closure a couple of years ago when I made this unpublished aran.


 OK, now back to that shawl collar...