No More Seaming: Join As You Knit!

This swatch shows the completed technique of joining as you knit.     

If you do a poll of 100 knitters, I'll bet seaming comes up most as the least-loved knitting technique. It's true, seaming can be tedious. It can take a long time. And, if done poorly, it can ruin your whole project! Believe me, I know.

I happen to enjoy the monotony of seaming. The repetitiveness of it is perfect for knitting group—I seam along while laughing with my friends, and soon I'm done! I also find it a good activity to do while I'm watching TV.

But I admit, I'm not the average knitter, and many of you will do anything to avoid a lot of seaming. Knitting a sweater in one piece, is a great way to avoid a boatload of seaming, as is knitting in the round. But sometimes, there's no alternative to seaming.

To make it easier, Lily Chin has put together an in-depth video workshop about seaming as you knit: Join As You Go Knitting! That's right—you actually join the pieces as you knit them. Pretty fab, don't you think?

Here's a quick overview of how to knit on to the right side of an existing piece of knitting:

Step 1: Pull out a length of yarn that's three times longer than the height of the existing piece of knitting (in this case, the striped swatch). This will be your tail. Using a circular or double-pointed needle, pick up stitches along the right edge; pick up  one stitch every other row. Step 2: Slide the picked-up stitches to the other end of on the needle so you're ready to knit with the working yarn (the end attached to the ball).

Use the knitted cast-on to cast on the number of stitches you'll need for your new piece.

Step 3: Knit back to the picked-up stitches. Join the new piece to the old piece by knitting the last cast-on stitch to the first picked-up stitch, through the back loop (k2togTBL). Turn your work. Slip the first stitch and purl to the end of the row. Repeat, k2togTBL on each right-side row and slipping the first stitch on each wrong-side row. Voila! You've joined two pieces together while you knit. Really slick.

I've heard of this technique before, but I've never seen it demonstrated so clearly. And this little bit is just the tip of the iceberg!

Product of the Day!
Five Knit Cardigans! Download your copy now—it's on sale!

There's a lot you can do with this technique, two DVD's worth, in fact! Hurry and get your DVD (or download!) of Join As You Go Knitting!


P.S. What do you think about this joining technique? Have you used this one or another type of join-as-you-go? Share it with us in the comments!

Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

10 thoughts on “No More Seaming: Join As You Knit!

  1. This is new?
    Perhaps a different way if saying it and certainly more profit for Interweave, but hardly new.
    Check up on previously published knitting techniques. Knitters have been doing this for years.
    Lily Chin is not the first and Interweave is not the first to publish. Fabulous and slick, but not new as your headline would infer..

  2. This seam technique looks bulky.
    I do not understand this fear of sewing seams. It may because I am also a sewer. But I think the problem in knitting that may make seams sloppy is in the knitting of the last and first stitches of a row, which are often loose and irregular.

  3. Well I think it looks really nifty, but lets say the striped swatch was the front of a sweater and the solid the back, how would you match the two sides? Perhaps you could have picked up stitches on the other side of the striped piece, but then you’d be going back and forth in a tube which might be awkward. I think it would be fun for a patchwork blanket. Since I learned mattress stitch I actually get great satisfaction from zipping up the seams. Wendy Leigh-bell

  4. Sounds good, but it’s extremely pricey. Downloads are fast, but I like real books for easy reference. I just googled some of the items listed on the e-book, and there they were, on youtube. So it wouldn’t do me any favors in the pocketbook or show me something new to buy the download.

    Also, like some of the others said, it’s a prominent join, not attractive at all. I just used EZ’s method of “sewing up” sleeves on a child’s jacket and it looks almost invisible.

  5. Thanks for sharing this approach to joining as you knit. I am assemblying garter squares from my great-grandmother and great aunts that were knitted over 70 years ago but look brand new. (I inherited all of their unfinished projects!) My daughter wanted a cable panel to run vertically between the strips of squares I had joined with a simple stockinette of 8 rows. I did not want to seam the cable section to the adjacent strips so after much experimentation and adapting another join as you knit set of steps I am joining both panels to the cable section as I knit it. These are the steps that I worked for this project. (I can send a photo of the finished results if you would like to see what it looks like.) 1) I casted on the 12 stitches for the six-stitch cable pattern I was using. 2) Using a crochet hook with the working yarn at the back of the piece as to knit, I pull a loop under the 2 “legs” of the first bind-off or cast on stitch of the square I’m attaching to the cable section. 3) Bring the working yarn to the front of the piece [because I’m going to purl the first 3 stitches for the cable] slip the loop I pulled onto the left-hand needle and tug a bit on the working yarn to make the loop the needle size. And then purl the new loop and the first stitch together. If you were doing a different pattern, then you would bring the working yarn to the position for the first stitch and knit or purl those stitches together. 4) Now work the pattern to the next to the last stitch and slip it onto the right hand needle. 5) Insert the right-hand needle beneath the 2 “legs” of the first bind-off or cast on stitch of the panel on the left and pull a stitch through. 7) Slip the next to the last stitch over the new loop and tug on the yarn a bit to make the new stitch the size of the needle. Now you have joined the two panels to the [cable] section that will be knitted in between the two panels. 8) Gently turn the 3 sections and work the wrong side of the piece with the pattern you are using — since I’m making a 6-stitch cable, I worked the row for that pattern. 9) Turn the work to the front and repeat but skip one stitch of the bind-off or cast on edge of stitches. You will be doing the join as you go stitches every other row. 10) Continue to work as before and eventually the turning of the piece in step 8 is easier because you will have knitted up further and the 3 panels are more stable as with any piece you knit. 11) The tricky part is making adjustments should the pieces like the ones I’m joining were knitted by different people and their stitch gauge was slightly different. Also, I found that some of the stitches on the left panel were too tight to slip the right hand needle under the 2 “legs” of the left panel and I had to use the crochet hook to grasp the working yarn and pull it beneath them. Then I slipped that loop onto the right hand needle and slipped the previous stitch over the new loop as before. 12) One other comment that might be of help is to tug the working yarn a bit so the loops you pull beneath the legs of the bind-off or cast on stitch are the same size as the knitted ones in the pattern you are working. I know this is a longer set of steps, but they are easy to memorize and you can always count to see where you are in the process. [I had to use a counter to remember when to do the cable row!!] I hope my “join as you knit” set of steps helps some of you knitters who didn’t like the look of the column of loop stitches in the photos show with this technique on this page. Using the steps I listed for you, you end up with a neat edge of stitches that look nearly the same on each side of the two panels with the [cable] column in the middle. The final look of the afghan I’m assembling has a knitted border around each of the garter stitch squares. Thanks for reading through this long comment.

  6. Could you as easily join the new piece to the old one at the last stitch of the new row, knit 2 tog., (1 new with 1 old) return on the back, as we do for adding trim (e.g. knitted lace).
    The knitted-cast-on join ooks bulky and more work than necessary to me. But if it helps someone, then that is a good thing.
    I like the mattress stitch, sewing with a big blunt needle is fun.

  7. As an avid disliker of finishing work (I enjoy sewing, I just don’t like sewing my knitting or crochet projects apparently), I was initially intrigued by this method. Then I realized it’s just a slightly more complicated version of what I already do! I’ll definitely have to compare, but I don’t see a significant difference between this method where you pick up the edge stitches first, and picking up the edge stitches as you go, which is what I do. I imagine it will be easier for people who are unfamiliar with this method of joining as you go, so it’s still a good tool for the box.

  8. Thank you so much for this post! When I was working on a blanket earlier this year I tried to join two strips and had absolutely no clue how to do it. This technique solves all the problems I encountered. I am really excited to try this the next time I knit a blanket.