Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hand sewing for hand knitters: Starting off

Before TECHknitting turns to the subject of fully lining hats with Polar fleece, there will be an intermission. After publishing the previous post (lining hats, headband style, with Polar fleece) various communications have revealed that there is a certain hesitance among knitters (you know who you are!) to get involved in projects which require hand sewing. Yet, I know from a previous TECHknitting poll, that there ARE lots of handknitters who would like to learn to line knitwear.

Bottom line: for the next several posts, TECHknitting will focus on BASIC HAND SEWING stitches and techniques useful to hand knitters.

Today, we'll start at the very beginning: how to start your thread. The other posts in this series will include the running stitch, the back stitch, the overcast (whip) stitch and how to end your sewing (how to make the final knot). Once these techniques are illustrated, further posts about lining knitting will make more sense, I think.

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The very beginning: anchoring your thread in the fabric (the first knot)* * *
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This is part 1 of a 5 part series on hand sewing for knitters
Part 1: Starting off (this post)
Part 2: Starting off with a doubled thread
part 3: the running stitch 
part 4: the back stitch
part 5: the overcast stitch (best way to attach lining fabric to knitting) 

--TECHknitter (you have been reading TECHknitting on "basic hand sewing: how to start your thread)


Robin said...

Thanks for posting this. I love machine sewing and knitting but have to admit I shy away from hand sewing, mostly because I don't know the proper methodology. I look forward to seeing future posts in the series!

Allison said...

Thank you for starting with the absolute basics! I have been doing a form of basic sewing for years (buttons, hems, etc)but I never new how to start properly. How sad is that!! But now I do. Can't wait for future installments!

Chelsea said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I have never known how to do this

Micki said...

I have never been afraid of hand sewing, but good grief, why have I never learned this trick before now? Thank you!

Salihan said...

Thanks so much! I'm really looking forward to future posts. I'm finally learning how to knit AND sew properly!

Anneliese said...

Hello, I have read several times that the best way to start off is to take several small stitches, and not use a knot.

Could you speak about the difference between these two approaches?

Thank you.

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Anneliese: When the dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I learned to handsew, I was taught that a knot at the end of a thread was a bad idea because the knot can come through the fabric. Instead, I was taught the knot which I illustrate here as a general, all purpose starter for sewing. I was also taught that when sewing on a smooth fabric, like silk or satin, any kind of knot is a bad idea because it can leave a bump which shows on the right side of the fabric. For these luxury fabrics, I was taught to take a few very small stitches in the seam allowance to anchor the thread. I believe that for the rougher fabrics (like Polar fleece) which knitters might work with, the knot illustrated is appropriate, but perhaps if someone is handsewing a silk lining, the "few-small-stitches" method WOULD be superior! Thanks for writing. --TK

Anneliese said...

Thanks so much for your reply! That makes a lot of sense. I don't know much of anything about sewing, and I really appreciate your entries on the topic so I can make sure I use the proper methods when I use sewing with my knitting.

Alan said...

I like this idea, but I'm wondering whether the working thread will pull out the tail thread. Wouldn't it be more secure to insert the needle through the left-most loop in figure 3?

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Alan: Thanks for writing. I've never actually paid close enough attention to see if I always insert the needle through the same knot loop--this is just the way I happened to perform this maneuver when I set out to illustrate the concept.

I suppose the reason I never really paid much attention is that in over 40 years of hand sewing, I've never pulled the knot loose by tightening up the working thread. In other words, experience (or at least, my experience) seems to dictate that it makes no practical difference into which knot loop the working thread is inserted.

Your question is a good one, however. I can see how, from the illustration, it looks like the tail could pop out. Luckily, in real life, it never does.

Thanks again for writing. --TK