Well, I did it! I went to my first knitting class during Stitches Midwest and it went great. I built up this class a lot, stress-wise, and I’m happy to report that it was all for nothing. Everyone was very nice and supportive, and it was a great atmosphere where we were all coming together to learn.
I snuck this picture in right after lunch so not everyone was here yet, but nearly all of the seats were full. In the center (barefoot) is Jean Frost, the teacher. She was cute and nice, like you’d expect, and she shared a lot of fun stories on how she got started with knitting.
This is a diagram Jean drew to demonstrate how we work the back of the jacket.
The vertical lines are just basting stitches, and the solid line in the middle is also a basting line. It’s a solid line to illustrate that we start from the center and work outwards.
The technique we learnt to line our jackets is called “smooshing”. Verrrry technical. heh
The technique in itself is pretty ingenious but it’s one of those things that seems like common sense once you see it done. Basically you take your lining and baste it down the center onto your knitted piece (wrong sides together. But since knit fabrics stretch, you need to compensate for it somehow, so you “smoosh” the lining to create little ridges, and then baste it in place. So the lining becomes a series of bumps on the underside, but when you put your garment on, all of those bumps spread-out and lay flat.
I got a bit over-zealous with my smooshing that I’m going to have to redo some of my work. I tried my sleeve on at the end of the class and realized that you could actually see my lining-bumps underneath my knitting. So I’ll have to go back and make my smooshes a bit less, well, smooshed.
This technique is great, but seems to require a lot of trial and error since the amount you smoosh really depends on how much stretch (or negative ease) you have in your finished knitted garment. Jean didn’t cover that in her class, and I wish she would have; I would have greatly benefited from that kind of advice.
Here’s a closer shot of my finished smooshing:
Once you have all of your basting lines completed, this would be the best time to baste your garment together to make sure you have correct “smooshage”. After all of the smooshes are assessed and finalized, to finish the sewing you just do a pick-stitch (or invisible stitch) taking a bite out of the lining and a longer stitch underneath through the knitting. This is the same stitch you would use if you were setting in a zipper.
In the image above the smoosh column on the far right and the far left ended up being visible on the right side of my piece, but the center two smooshes were great. After sewing so many pick-stitches they really got very consistent and small towards the end.
This is what the sleeve looks like after I’ve sewn in all of my pick-stitches.
To the untrained eye, it really just looks like I only laid my sleeve onto the lining but trust me, it’s all stitched together.
Once all of the smooshing is completed and the lining is pick-stitched to the knitting, the final step is to finish the edges of all of the pieces. To do this, I turned under the raw edge of the lining and sewed it next to the sleeve seam. The next part would be to work around the sleevecap, turning under the raw edge and sewing it all down as you go along. Once you get all around the other side of the sleevecap to the joined underarm seam of the sleeve, you still turn under the raw edge of the lining, but you lap it over the other side. So one side of the lining covers the other.
Here’s my work in progress where I just finished sewing up one side of the sleeve seam.
And here’s the final product, courtesy of Jean Frost:
Doesn’t Jean’s sleeve look nice?! The only knitting that is in sight on the wrong side is one single line of knitting all around the sleeve cap. This is there so that you can set in the sleeve. Additionally, you can kinda see that down the length of the sleeve, she has one side of lining lapped over to the other side.
Also courtesy of Jean Frost, this is the finished result on the inside of her jacket.
You can see all of the rows of smooshing about 1.5 inches apart, and only the tiniest bit of knitting shows on the hem.
I wish I had more pictures to show you of my own jacket, but its still a work in progress. I nearly got one sleeve completely finished, but once I tried it on I realized I would have to restitch it due to an excess of smooshed lining. I got the back piece all smooshed and sewn together, but I may also need to re-seam that as well.
All in all, I’m pleased my first knitting class was a success and I hope to take some more in the future at my local yarn store.
*I do realize that it’s hard to discern from my images how to try your own hand at this technique. Many of the images I took during each step did not turn out so I included fewer images on here than I would have liked. So if anyone has a hankering to learn this technique I’d be willing to post up my step-by-step guide on smooshing. Just let me know in the comments! :)