Friday, November 5, 2010

No-sew zippers

Would you like to learn to insert zippers into knitwear with NO SEWING?  If your answer is yes, you have several ways to learn!

Method 1:  On November 30, 2010, stop by your favorite newsstand and pick up a copy of Interweave Knits magazine.  In a "Beyond the Basics" feature article which I have written, the full instructions appear. I'm pretty excited about sharing this method with you--it's taken a lot of years to figure it out, and it's pretty nifty to be able to create zippered knitwear with absolutely no sewing whatsoever.  For real! None. Nada. No sewing.

Method 2: The second method to learn this new technique will take place on April 30, 2011, when you can attend a workshop on installing zippers at the Minnesota Knitter's Guild 25th anniversary "Yarn Over" teaching event.  In my first foray into teaching in a LONG time, I'll be giving two workshops, actually. One will be about lots of different tips and tricks of the kind popularized on this blog, and the other will be on buttonholes (including the tulip buttonhole) as well as buttonhole alternatives and zippers.

The sign up is not yet open, but if you are a member of the Minnesota Knitter's Guild, you get first dibs at signing up. For further information, you can also visit the Yarnover group on Ravelry.

Method 3:  (updated December 23, 2010) There is a new video featuring Eunny Jang, the Interweave Knits editor, demonstrating the no-sew zipper technique.

Here's hoping you will like the new method, and I hope to meet some of you in real life at the 25th anniversary Yarnover event button/buttonhole/zipper workshop (or the tips and tricks workshop!) April 30, 2011.

Best regards--TK


Anonymous Michelle said...

Yes! I'm so excited for no-sew zippers!

November 5, 2010 at 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Elaine in NYC said...

I've been drooling with anticipation ever since you mentioned this technique a while back. Oh, joy! Can't wait until my magazine is in my mailbox.

November 5, 2010 at 11:10 PM  
OpenID revknits said...

I have to admit that your articles are the reason I've been buying Knits lately...

November 5, 2010 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Hurray!! I've been waiting to see more about the zipper technique and have a few knit bags completed that just need zippers. A good excuse to keep putting off the finishing (and casting on more projects instead) is always welcome. Eeek! Sure am hoping this is a method that can be used at the end that doesn't have to be planned for from the beginning... I was also wondering when the winter issue comes out or if my subscription had expired, lol. Glad to know it's less than a month away.

November 6, 2010 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger louloux said...

I can't wait to check out this new method !

I know others have said it before, but I have to add in my voice :
if you ever publish a book compiling your little tricks and clever methods I'd buy it instantly !!

November 6, 2010 at 7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent news! I was already semi-planning on going to Yarnover, and now I definitely will. We'll see if I can actually get into your class, though, as last year I only got my third choices.

November 6, 2010 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger OPKnitter said...

I don't often buy Interweave Knits, but for no-sew zippers, I'm there! Love your tips & tricks, so with a zippered sweater for my spouse on the near horizon, I'm particularly looking forward to this one.

November 6, 2010 at 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Lynne said...

I hope you have a wonderful time at Yarnover! Unfortunately I live too far away to attend, so I will plan on buying the Knits when it is issued. Thank you for all of the tips!

November 6, 2010 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger dw said...

Oooooh, no-sew zippers! Consider November 30th noted on my calendar.

I have a related question:

Do you know of a good online source for zippers? My local fabric store stocks awful zippers that are just.... well, awful. As a result, I've been avoiding zippers for a while now, but I really wish I didn't have to.

November 6, 2010 at 5:48 PM  
Blogger adriene said...

Oh. My. Goodness. My life has been changed. I need to hunt this magazine down pronto!

November 6, 2010 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi DW: Try for a good selection of on-line zippers.

Best, TK

November 6, 2010 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Mt. Mom said...

No-sew zippers; how exciting! I've long said that inserting a zipper is one of the garment options I would like to be able to produce, but am intimidated by. (Don't have a sewing machine either.)

I hope the workshops go well for you!!

November 6, 2010 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger C said...

How exciting! I wish I could get to Minnesota somehow, but I shall be using method #1. I never would have imagined it would be possible to do without sewing, so I can't wait to get my hands on the issue!

November 8, 2010 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger mel said...

Wait a minute - this is a no-sew method we're going to like, right? Not glue or staples instead? lol

November 8, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Experimental Knitter said...

NOW you tell me after I've sewn 2 zippers in mylatest projects?
All kidding aside, I will be buying that issue!

November 8, 2010 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Mel--no glue no staples--the zippers are attached with yarn. The point is, it's not attached via SEWING, but via an easier and more craft-like method. After you discover it, let me know how you like it, OK?

Best, TK

November 8, 2010 at 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Dee said...

Can this no-sew technique be applied after the sweater is finished or must it be planned for in advance? I have a cardigan that is just waiting for me to pick up stitches for the front bands... should I wait to read your article before doing so? Thanks for all your tips and insights!

November 9, 2010 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Dee--With this method, an item can be STARTED from the zipper outwards, OR the zipper can be installed AFTERWARD. It is smoother when worked from the zipper outwards BUT then it is harder to replace the zipper in the event the zipper were to fail. So, for a sweater (a LOT of work) it is probably better to add the zipper last, whereas for a small item like a purse, it is better to start from the zipper.

Best regards, TK

PS: When the winter IK magazine hits the newsstand, there will be a matching TECHknitting post offering a pattern for a small item (purse) started from the zipper outwards.

November 9, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Dee said...

Thanks for your prompt response, Techknitter! Of course you would offer a technique that is versatile as well as innovative - now I'm looking forward to the magazine and your post!

November 10, 2010 at 5:37 AM  
Anonymous Strix said...

Wow! I've never purchased that magazine, but I shall :D

November 13, 2010 at 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Lara Neel said...

I squealed when this popped through my mail slot today. I am SO EXCITED about this technique.

November 18, 2010 at 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Keya said...

I see you don't do the followers thing, but just for reference, I'm totally thrilled with having discovered your blog. I've been knitting for thirty years, too; but sometimes one gets in a rut and forgets things. Thanks for your great advice!

November 19, 2010 at 4:55 AM  
Blogger mel said...

It's here, it's here! I never would have thought of that!! Can't wait to see the pattern for the zippered bag to go with the method. Except the bags I need to zipper are already completed and that seems the less cool way of going about it.

Am I the only one who found their layout of this feature made it almost impossible to read? And fairly confusing. I sure was surprised to scan and scan for how to get that particular tool through zipper tape, thinking surely that's really central to this method, and then finding it all the way at the end - as if an afterthought. I guess it's probably just me. I do have one of those somewhere, just need to find it.

November 22, 2010 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Meant to add (from what I can understand) - it seems truly ingenious!!

November 22, 2010 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Mel--sorry you found the article confusing. Print articles are pretty heavily edited, due to space constraints, so that's possibly the reason.

November 22, 2010 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Sorry - I don't mean to sound snarky or ungrateful. Whenever I am stuck on something I refer to your blog first for answers and always find the information detailed and easy to follow. And often addressing concerns I never would have thought of. But this was not nearly the first time I've had a hard time following or finding information in IK because of the way they present it.

Even better: I found a knit picker and grabbed the first zipper example I could find, a large molded plastic toothed one with a woven tape that has a plasticky feeling. I opened the knit picker and to my amazement it slid right through the tape with only the slightest pressure behind it. Then I held my breath and pulled it back out and, as if by magic, could not find any trace of a hole where it had been. Woo-hoo!!! Can't imagine what in the world made you think of this, but I'm very glad you did and were able to share it.

November 23, 2010 at 12:38 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Mel--no worries. As to how this came about: it took a bunch of years of trying lots of odd gizmos until this method was developed--I tried sharpening steel crochet hooks, and various types of sewn loops etc. Finally, I tried a knit-picker and, like you, was amazed at how well it worked. So goodbye to sewing in zippers, ay?

November 23, 2010 at 6:16 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I agree with Mel, the article has amazing info, but is seriously over-edited on the finer points. I too, read the article over and over to discover how pray tell you poke the hole through the zipper tape. The only experience I have with a latch hook is the huge ones that come in the kits from Joanns. In searching the net for a smaller version I've come up with nothing. Some photos of real-live zippers with a real live photo of the tool would have been helpful. Your info is great, I feel IK boiled the article down a little too far. What kind of tool exactly would be the best and where would I get one of them?

Thanks so much for opening a world of zipper possibilities that I had never occurred to me before, I have two sweaters waiting for zippers and I can't wait to try this out!

November 23, 2010 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Abril said...

I had no idea you were just a state away from me.
I've been waiting for this magazine forever :-) I hope I can get into your class!!

November 23, 2010 at 11:35 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

The right kind of tool is called a "knit picker" and it is a tiny tiny tiny latch hook designed for pulling snags to the back side of synthetic fabrics, like a polo shirt, for example. Knit-pickers are sold in the notions aisle of big-box fabric stores.

November 24, 2010 at 12:08 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Abril--It's going to be great to start meeting people irl. Hopefully, I'll remember all I once knew about teaching knitting....there has been a long gap since I last taught!

November 24, 2010 at 7:57 AM  
OpenID helenkosings said...

I was looking at the new issue of IK at a bookstore today, and your technique is BRILLIANT! Such an elegant solution. BRAVO!!!!!

November 28, 2010 at 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Mandy said...

This is really useful! I can't wait to try this out, must get knitting!

November 30, 2010 at 1:19 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Wish I'd come here before going to Jo-Ann today! No biggie, I can bring back the latch hook tool I bought out of the kids' crafts section :D and get a knit-picker, now that I know what they look like!

Thank you so much for this, Techknitter! It looks brilliant and I can't wait to finish my sweater so I can try it.

December 3, 2010 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Thanks everyone, for your nice comments! The video is now out and the post has been updated to reflect that. Best regards, TK

December 23, 2010 at 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a possibility you cold post your original article -- BEFORE edits -- so we can pick up the portions that were edited out? I'm a bit confused on how to apply the "zipper last" principle to a separating zipper front cardigan where one needs to also add a narrow band...

December 29, 2010 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Anon--the copyright on the zipper article reverts to this blog in one year, so yes, the pre-edit copy will be published, but not for a while. In the meanwhile, if you want to add a narrow band to the zipper, take a look at the new video produced by Interweave Knits (web address below).

There are two methods featured, the live loop and the chain method. If it were me and I wanted to make a narrow edging, I would use the live loop method,to pick up live loops through the zipper tape as shown in the video, then knit the edging lengthwise along the zipper, then attach the live edge of that strip of knitting to the edge of the sweater by whatever method you usually attach two pieces of knitting (eg: I-cord bind off, or three needle bind off, etc).

Here is the web address of the video:

(Cut and paste into your browser, this isn't a live link)

Best regards and happy new year, TK

December 29, 2010 at 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still not seeing it, so let me try again, because the "attach the live edge of that strip of knitting to the edge of the sweater ... I-cord bind off, or three needle bind off ..." just won't work here. As Mel said earlier, I don't mean to sound snarky or ungrateful... but I do intend to show my stupidity here [grin].

You've worked your garment fronts bottom up, ribbing to neck, joined at the shoulders, and stitched your side and sleeve seams. Your collar is picked up and completed. Now the task is to pick up stitches along the right front edge or left front edge to both even out the vertical line and to provide an edge onto which you will apply a zipper to the underside of that narrow edge.

So, you've got about a half-inch border ready for applying that zipper, plus the thick join at the vertical edge from the pickup which just happens to land at the zipper tape's outside edge -- handy for whipstitching the tape down.

My question is, "Why would I want to create yet another bulky edge that somehow must be attached to the body afterward?"

See what I mean? Making the zipper a "knittable object" does not help solve this dilemma because you'd still have that second gawd-awful thick edge.

I thought the point of the article was "Zippers-A to Z", but so far, I'm only seeing A-C and I can't seem to get my head around how to apply its techniques on garments. Purses and bags? Sure. Not Cardigans. Imagine a quarter-zip pullover ... won't work at all.

The editing must've been severe to leave out some of the finer points you intended in this otherwise terrific technical piece. For all of your work, I do thank you...great stuff.

January 7, 2011 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Anon--the thing is, you can attach the zipper using a thin, matching yarn--like a sock yarn. I have done this on half-zip sweaters, cushion covers and cardis, no problem.

In your particular case, since you are going to attach the zipper to a strip, START the strip at the zipper edge using the live-loop method, then attach the OTHER edge of the strip to the cardi. In other words, instead of picking UP the stitches from the cardi edge for the strip, do the 3-needle bind off of the strip at that same edge--the strip which (again) you have started from the edge of the zipper tape. This keeps the # of seams the same (one seam) and gives you a perfectly spaced and attached zipper at the same time. Best, TK

January 7, 2011 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger mossgirl said...

siwhat a great idea- love it. Now when I see a pattern I won't shy away thinking "oh I don't know how to put in the zipper"- thanks for such a detailed nice video!!!!!

October 16, 2011 at 1:58 PM  
Anonymous jasministan said...

Thank you TK, I am so excited about this technique! I ran out in search of the tool right away and tried the chain version of the technique out last night. So ingenious, so cool! I'm off to finish my first no-sew zipper pouch :)

May 8, 2012 at 2:19 AM  
Blogger Linda Martindale said...

Here it is 2014, can't imagine how I missed this. genius idea for adding a zipper. I have stayed away from zippers in knitted garments because I didn't like how the sewing part looked. this is great and will try it.
Thanks Eunny, you are the best, and hated to see you go on the TV show Knitting Daily. NOT the show I used to enjoy without you. Just doesn't measure up now.

August 31, 2014 at 10:05 AM  

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