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Tip of the week: The rule of 3/4 and picking up stitches

Tip of the Week: Mattress stitch gives you a neat finish

27 mattress stitch

Sewing up can be the thing that makes knitters reluctant to try some patterns or dissatisfied with their final product.

The answer is simple and about finding the right sewing up method. For straight seams, mattress stitch is a great choice and once you get the hang of it, an easy way to create a good finish.

Surprisingly mattress stitch in worked on the right side of your work and is easiest done over a table.

Mattress stitch is worked in the gap between the first and second column of stitches on each side of the seam. If you stretch your work slightly you will see a “ladder” between each column of stitches.

Put the pieces to be seamed side by side with the right sides facing upwards.

Thread your darning needle with a long length of yarn – I’ve used contrasting yarn here to help you see. Insert the needle under the first two rungs of the ladder between the first two columns of stitches on one side and pull the yarn through leaving a long tail.

Now move your needle to the other side and go under the first two rungs on the other side. Pull the yarn through but not tight.

Now put the needle under the next two rungs up the ladder on the first side and pull some yarn through. Repeat for the second side, and then continue working under two rungs at a time, alternating sides, until 2-3cm of the seam was been worked.

Hold the tail of yarn at the beginning of the seam and gently pull your working yarn until your seam closes neatly. Don’t pull hard because this will risk puckering the seam. Stop when you have a flat join. As you can see this creates a neat flat seam and my sewing up thread has disappeared from view.

Continue to work up the seam, taking in two rungs at a time as before. Pull the seam closed every few centimetres. At the end of the seam fasten off both ends of your sewing up yarn.

 Why not practice on some swatches?