I have a little trick for you that will vastly improve the look of your seamed knits and make seaming itself a world easier. It is so simple when you actually work it you will be shocked, and will end the problem of stair steps forever. All you have to do is p2tog at the end of the WS row preceding a RS bind off and k2tog the end of the RS row preceding a WS bind off. Every time you do this, you will need to subtract one stitch from the number of stitches to be bound off (because you already got rid of it!). If you only have 2 sts to bind off, p2tog at the end of the WS row preceding the RS bind off, then ssk at the beginning of the next RS row. For a WS bind off, k2tog at the end of the RS row preceding the WS bind off, then p2tog tbl at the beginning of the next RS row. You do not work the preceding decrease on the first bind off on either the RS or the WS, as that bind off is intended to be sharp. Just work it on any subsequent bind offs. Sound complicated? It’s not. Let’s see it working in practice. Let’s say that you have original sleeve cap directions that state the following:
BO 6 sts at beginning of next 2 rows.
BO 3 sts at beginning of next 2 rows.
BO 2 sts at beginning of next 2 rows.
You would instead:
(RS) BO 6 sts, work to end.
(WS) BO 6 sts, work to the last 2 sts, p2tog.
(RS) BO 2 sts, work to the last 2 sts, k2tog.
(WS) BO 2 sts, work to the last 2 sts, p2tog.
(RS) Ssk, work to the last 2 sts, k2tog.
(WS) P2tog tbl, work to the end of row.
If you want to make things really easy on yourself, cut and paste my revised directions above and insert the number of bind-offs given in the pattern for the first two rows, and the number of bind-offs given in the pattern minus 1 for the remaining rows.
I wish this was something that could be implemented within patterns more easily, but particularly across ten sizes (the number I offer), it ends up making the instructions so unwieldy as to be confusing and, quite honestly, frightening. I think you can see why. I tried it with a pattern and my TE nearly killed me. I ended up taking it out to restore balance to the pattern and the world in general. It takes only a little time to convert the instructions for any seamed sweater, however, and as you can see in the header photo, it is well worth it. Use it anywhere you have stacked bind offs – sleeve caps, armscyes, and shoulders.
Coming soon: Part 2!