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January 11, 2021 3 min read

Well, I have a confession. For those of you who know me and have been knitting with me for a while, you already know. I like seams in my sweaters. But then I like fountain pens, cloth napkins, and older men, so who knows? Maybe I'm just old school. Not everyone likes seamed sweaters. I get it. But plenty of people do, right? I figured it was about 50/50, but I wanted to check, so I ran a highly unscientific poll on my Instagram story. I was wrong. Very wrong. It was 75/25 Seamless vs seamed. Wow.

I started thinking, maybe the data was skewed. There are all kinds of ways to build unintentional bias into a poll. If you want to determine whether people prefer classical music or rap, you’ll get a different result if you ask people coming out of the Kennedy Center vs those coming out of a Drake concert. I know that Instagram skews much younger than other social media, so I thought maybe, it’s just that younger knitters prefer seamless. So I polled my Facebook audience. Not a lot of response there, but Melissa shared what I believe to be a common sentiment among knitters: I like seams for structure, but I hate the act of seaming.

What is it about seaming that knitters hate? I can’t speak for others, but I do remember being really discouraged with the seaming process. I was a pretty good knitter, but my seams looked really bad. I just didn’t know how to do it, and no one was teaching it at the time. I remember learning short rows pretty early on so that I could do a three needle bind off on my shoulders rather than have to seam them. When I learned how to do it, seaming became something I actually enjoyed, but until then, I would do almost anything to avoid it.  Is that you?

Or maybe you know how to seam just fine but like the other benefits of seamless. I can totally get behind a well-done seamless sweater. Like Cocoknits. Love this method. I’ve knitted three Cocoknits sweaters, and I like them all. Her English tailoring method makes the shoulder line lie to the back a few inches. Very sleek. A beautifully modern design aesthetic too.  Elizabeth Doherty also does a super nice job and even has a way to work set in sleeves from the top down.

The bottom line is that there’s a place in the knitting world for both seamed and seamless, and we will certainly each have our preference. That being said, there are terrific designers on both sides, being comfortable with either method keeps our options open.

Here are a few pros and cons of each method, just for reference

Seamed

  • Worked in 4 or 5 separate smaller pieces
  • Structure from seams at shoulder and along sides
  • Simple to knit
  • No more than two sets of shaping to manage at a time
  • Must be seamed at the end
  • Drop shoulder, set in sleeve, and raglan all equally easy to knit
  • Poorly done seams look really bad
  • Hold their shape better

Seamless

  • Worked all in one piece
  • Structure only at the shoulder
  • Can be complicated to knit
  • Must manage 4 or five sets of shaping at the same time
  • When you’re finished knitting, your sweater is pretty much ready to wear
  • You can try it on as you go 
  • Pullovers are knit in a spiral and can bias and pull
  • Set in sleeves much harder to knit.
  • No seams to look bad and mar your nice knitting.  Most top down sweaters look pretty good. 

What are your preferences?  I've opened up comments for this post and would love to hear your thoughts!  

Warmly,

Ellen