Did and Didn't
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EPS - The Hem

Blogfree Nancy asked this question in yesterday's comments:

I've been wondering about the hemming on your EPS.  I know it's possible to knit in the hem in the beginning, like I have done with socks (like with a picot cuff).  I don't see that being done with sweaters and I'm thinking there must be a reason.  Would it work to knit in the hem on a sweater?  Would that be bulkier than what you are doing?  I can't wait to see your finished sweater photos!

Believe me Nancy, when I first started EPS I worried and wondered about the hem, too.  I have, however, been pleasantly surprised.

Picothemonprovisionalcaston When first making plans to knit an EPS I had to consider what type of start to use.  Ribbing was never in contention, but I did think about a rolled hem for a short time and then decided a hemmed edge was the right way to go.  To add a feminine touch I added a picot.  In The Opinionated Knitter Elizabeth suggests keeping the stitches live (via a provisional cast on) and sewing them in place. 

Nbtfrom2005 The NBT I knit in May of 2005 had a hem and I took the easy way with that one.  It started with a long tail cast on and both loops picked up to attach it to the body.  Another, perhaps better way, is to use a provisional cast on , and when ready, put the live stitches on a needle and knit the stitches together with the body.  Both methods do create a bump and a thick hem.  Because of this lumpy hem I decided to do as EZ suggested…I'm all about EZ lately, as you know.

When all the knitting was complete I puzzled about the best way to approach the task of hemming.  After a couple of false starts, I settled on pulling out the cast on and slipping the stitches, one at a time, onto waste yarn.  The hem was turned up along the picot edge and pinned in place so the stitches were at the ready.


Each live stitch was sewn together with a purl bump from the sleeve. After several stitches were in place, I pulled out the waste yarn.  The hem was smooth, no bump or bulk, and the public side looked perfect.  Hemming live stitches is the best way to hem a sweater and it's not nearly as fiddly as I first thought.   

This is a little preview of the yoke, as I know you're just dying to see it (and I'm dying to show her off).


I grew to trust EZ implicitly with this sweater.  Any time a question about the next step would arise, I'd read the through the pattern.  She is consistent and clear with her ideas, which lead me to move forward, without trepidation, in the manner she suggested.  Every single time the outcome was perfect and the sweater grew.  By reading through all her books I came to the realization that they are each treasures and you can't go wrong by owning any one or all of them.  The Opinionated Knitter and the Knitting Workshop were must haves for this venture. OK has the updated notes by Meg Swansen (which were very helpful) and KW has the basic recipe for the EPS with info on short row shaping and other variations.  This will not be my last EPS.  She is now blocking and will be ready for a photo shoot this weekend.


Thanks for the sneak peak. This is timely, as I am about to cast on for the body. I plan to sew the hem on it, but did not on the sleeves. I knit the cast on together with the sleeve stitches. It created a line, but I like it and think of it as a decorative element on the sleeves. However, I do not want that line on the body of the sweater, so I will sew.

Thank you -- I wondered about the hem too. I'm excited to see the modeled shots!

Hey - you finished! That's awesome!

Nice explanation on the hemming. The yoke colors are stunning! Can't wait for the modeled shots too!

I'll be darned. Very cool - and the yoke? Wow. I think I'd need to go on medication to have the patience for that - beautiful!

Can't wait to see it!

Margene....it is wonderful that you have finished!!! I can't wait to see you in it!

You have me convinced... sewing is best for sweaters. Who knew?
But I still will knit the hem shut for socks, because, hey, socks.

Can't wait to see the fo shots!

Such wonderful attention to detail! Lovely.

You're done! Woo-hoo! The yoke preview is lovely...

I'm gonna have to come back tonight when I have my eyes on and read all the technical notes in this post. You've done SUCH a great job with EPS, grrlfriend!! Bravo!

So exciting! You must love it if you're already thinking of more!

Kudos! Now I really have to make one....Lord knows I have enough yarn! And all her books. And videos.

Oooh, that yoke! Can't wait to see the whole thing!

Now I know. Thanks!

OooooH! Aaaaah! Yay EZ! Yay Margene!

That yoke is beautiful. Can't wait to see the final shoot. I'm off to pull out my EZ books. Thanks, Margene!

How exciting, I'm so looking forward to seeing it!

I haven't made one of these in years, so its great to see one coming alive in front of my eyes.

Sorry to hear that sleep has been elusive.

I really can't wait for the photoshoot! I'm spinning for and EPS right now and I can't wait to be done making the yarn, so I can start making the sweater.

How exciting! I see you used a lot more of the gold than I thought you would. I hope you get your photo shoot done for us soon!

Just in case Nancy reads your comment, I'll give two links here that may help answer her question in great details (and in case she doesn't read the comments, feel free to email her the info). A little while ago, there has been a great series on the TECHknitting blog about better cuffs and bands, and 2 posts dealt with knitting and sewing shut hems: http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/12/knitting-shut-hems-and-facings-part-4.html and http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/12/sewing-shut-hems-and-facings-part-5-of.html
I hope this helps!
Your EPS sweater looks great, and I can't wait to see the modeled shots!

Awesome indeed... I am still scared of picot hems, but I guess I should try one. (I actually like ribbing, but I seem to be in the minority nowadays.

I've seen comparisons on finishing picot edges, and think for a sock it might not make as much difference (as long as there's stretch). But for a sweater, where it's visible, this nice hemming of live stitches makes a lot of sense.

Very interesting! I too thought that live stitches would be an instrument of terror, but it's good to know that it's not and the result is a superior hem. Noted...

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