Introduction to Professional Finishing

I thought I would do an introduction to the next series of blog posts that I’m going to do – these will be on Professional Finishing. 

Firstly let me start with a small introduction about me and my background, I am a hand knit designer and I have a studio – Purl &Jane studio in Skipton. I’ve been teaching workshops for over 20 years now and I’ve been designing garments for longer than that. I haven’t ever put a figure on the amount of garments I have designed in that time, maybe over 2000 and I would say I have sewn together about 90% of that total amount.
All the garments that you can see in my Skipton studio, I have sewn together and finished off. I’ve not knitted the pieces on all of them because I’ve had test knitters do that, but I have sewn all those garments up and finished the necklines off. So if you wanted to you can see my techniques in real life!

Before starting Purl &Jane, I used to design books for the American Yarn industry. I designed, created and produced about 70 books.  One productive year I designed about 200 garments and all of those garments I joined together, sometimes at 3am on the morning before a photoshoot!
When you design a garment and then sew up that garment when it’s been knitted by someone else, you get to see how they approach the knitting, how they approach your pattern and that really helps me with making my patterns nice and simple to knit, as well as nice and simple to join together. We all approach a knitting pattern individually. I want to make it as easy and simple to knit and sew up as I possibly can.

By doing all that sewing up, and teaching people as well, I have hopefully fine tuned my designs to make them easy to sew up, and also to know about your little niggles and problems when finishing off garments, to help you make them look professional and give them that great finish. 

I do workshops but I wanted to write some blogs and make some videos too because I don’t want people to not knit a garment because they’re worried about the shoulders or the picking up stitches, I want to help you finish the garments off and knit a garment! 

To make that perfect garment to fit you, exactly as you are now to your perfect gorgeous shape!

There are two things I’ll just mention briefly here but will write about more in other blog posts, the first one is about picking up stitches.
From all those years ago when I was picking up stitches of other people’s knitting, I completely understand that picking up stitches along the neckline can be a nightmare, it can be horrible and it can be not neat. I wondered how to make this enjoyable and I found it! There’s just one tiny little thing that you need to do to make picking up stitches easy and a joy – because now I love picking up stitches. But I love picking up stitches when you’ve prepared the place to pick them up. If you haven’t done that, they’re horrible and I want everyone to love picking up stitches because I do!
It’s not a quick thing – none of this is a quick thing. Which is also the answer to the second thing I wanted to briefly mention.  When we knit something we then think, we should just sew it together in about an hour, or maybe that’s just what I thought! Nope. 

Sewing something together is another task and it’s one that’s going to take time. I now allow a week to sew a garment together, mainly because I do one section, then leave it and pick up some knitting, then come back to it the next day etc., etc., 

However we’re not going to treat the knitted garments like fabric, we’re going to treat them like knitting so we’re still doing what we love, we’re still looking at stitches and we’re joining them together.  

I want to share that joy with you so you can love finishing garments of too.

Article by Jane