How in the world? Steeking up the front to put in a zipper?!?!

Okay, so I've followed all the directions and have knit this child's sweater in the round with two purl stitches going straight up the middle. This is where I'm supposed to "Sew with machine and straight small stitches twice into each P st up body front"... and then cut, sew in zipper, etc.

Now... how in the world am I supposed to sew up and back from the waist up to the neck and back down without sewing the back and front together? Is it actually possible to move the back of the sweater out of the way enough to sew into the front only? Is there a better, non-sewing option for this? I've watched EZ's Knitting Glossary where I've seen the crocheted way of steeking but I'm not sure about that either.

The end product should look something like this.

I've attached a pic to show what it is I'm working with. Thoughts?



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New York Built's picture


The knitting will does. Trust me, it will stretch and not be damaged.

Option 1: If your yarn is a pure wool and not heavily treated, or if you know from working with it that it is "sticky" and binds to itself easily, you can do what the Norwegians do. Absolutely nothing. Just cut right up between the purl stitches. That's right. The purls will fall back slightly behind the edge or just lay there, tight, laughing at you...daring you to do your worst. So you oblige, sewing a beautiful crisp edge to be turned into your zipper mount.

If you wash and let dry the sweater now, you will also ensure this occurs. The small amount of felting that occurs between stitches will "hold everything".

Option 2: Turn the garment inside out, scrunch up the back, stretch the front slightly in small sections, and machine stitch down the gulch of the knit side of the stitches. Then cut. The purls will remain somnolent and you in control of the process. Proceed as directed.

Option 3: Take a thin yarn and darning needle or crochet hook, turn that baby inside out, and hand stabilize each stitch. I prefer crocheting through the legs of each stitch up one side and down the other. The reinforced sock thread sold for heels and toes is superb, but any lace yarn or single ply yarn would work.. I also have used water-soluble thread or persian wool needlepoint yarn (such as Paternayan or Anchor brands) for the same purpose. The embroidery yarn comes in every color of the rainbow, so matching is no problem. You can also pass the thin yarn through each stitch one by one from side to side, but this is much more "obtrusive" to my taste.

Fear not, Frank! You are in control!

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

albert's picture

I can't help you on the sewing, but I'm definitely grooving on your results thus far!

QueerJoe's picture

Personally, I would probably do some hand-basting to secure the stitches....cut them, and then machine sew them.

Mark is right, you could easily stretch the sweater enough to do this, but it's going to make it difficult getting a straight line.

ronhuber's picture

I have done all three of the options that Mark describes. I prefer number one because the stitching does not inhibit shaping in the blocking process. Why don't you knit two small swatches with your Lopi with the purl stitches up the middle. Wash and let dry one and cut them both to see what happens. If, however, you choose to sew it first, you will find that you can do it easily. Sew slowly so that the needle goes into the valley of the knit stitch and your line will be straight. The colours you have chosen are beautiful. And such a lovely pattern. Aren't they a joy to knit? Good luck.

Bill's picture

it is possible to sew into the "tube"...but I usually give myself more than two mark says...scrunch up the excess part of the sweater so you can smooth out a small part of the steek at a time...and sew.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Just reading Mark's comments made me break out in chills. That's why I have never tried steeking. Intrepid knitter I like to consider myself. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.