Underarm seams knit in the round

Looking for some advice/guidance in finishing underarm seams when knitting in the round.

My pattern calls for 6 sts (3 on either side of a marker) to be bound off for the underarm seam before transferring sleeve stitches on to the circular needle with the body section. In the past, I have slipped these 6 stitches on a holder then used a 3-needle bind off to seam the underams. However, this method leaves holes about the size of a quarter on either side of the seam. I then have to do additional seams to close them up, which gets rather messy on the inside.

I like the 3-needle bind off because of the extra strength it gives. So, I am wondering if I can just pick up additional stiches where the hole begins, pick up the 6 stitches on the holder, then pick up additional stiches to the end of the other hole, thereby bridging the whole gap and allowing me to do a 3-needle bind off across the entire underam.

Has anyone tried this method, or have another method which might work better?


chipsir's picture

I usually just "Kitchener stitch" these together starting in a stitch before the opening and ending a stitch past it.

JE-DC's picture

Thanks for the suggestion; hadn't thought about Kitchener. I'll give it a try.

james's picture

I'll cast another vote for kitchnering the underarm. I like a 3-needle bind off for shoulder seams, but I'm not sure the "extra strength" is really needed for an underarm. I believe the kitchner stitch provides a smoother "seam." I would also recommend that when you're ready to do it, you put your live stitches on a pair of dpns. Then, pick up the yarn from between your last live stitch, and the first body stitch on top, twist, and add to the top needle. Do the same with the bottom needle and do it on the back of each dpn. Now you have picked-up and twisted a total of 4 stitches (one on each end of the top needle and one on each end of the bottom needle). Kitchner all the stitches (live and added). This will prevent holes on either end of the seam. This is not my idea . . . one of the many useful lessons I've learned at Knitting Camp with Meg Swansen. I always do my underarms this way now. It looks really clean! Sadly, I'm not nearly as good at explaining it as she is. Hope you could make head and tails out of my explanation.

JE-DC's picture

Thanks for the additional input. Took a couple of reads to conceptualize, but I believe I understand the twists and turns of loading the additional stitches.

Thanks to all who have helped.

Wish me luck. Will post a pic of the completed project.

mrossnyc's picture

I've used Kitchener and 3 Needle, but to avoid the holes with 3 Needle, before placing the 6 stitches on the holder, I have done a M1 at the beginning and the end so that puts 4 sts on each side. Then when I do the 3 Needle BO, I join the first two stitches from the holder to one stitch from the sleeve, the next 4 stitches are joined one to one, then you would have two stitches left on the holder and one for the arm and I join all of these together.

I find that the M1's help to reduce the size of the holes created, but if it doesn't reduce them enough, you can always weave a tail through the stitches to close the hole further.

Good luck!