Finish Strong!

In this post finishing techniques are highlighted for they can take a project from practical to superlative. The attention to detail paid in completing a project and adding embellishments allows the maker to elevate his or her work to mimic the finest examples of haute couture. 

Silk fabric is available by the yard on
The beautiful shawl pictured above has the bottom portion lined in silk. This luxurious wrap is large and decadent, yet the pink edge has the faintest stiff structure to the fibers. The yarn was derived from Icelandic wool from a small local farm in Red Hook, New York. The rustic nature of this sturdy wool does not prevent it from being used in a piece like this, one just needs to plan to mitigate the few courser fibers that show themselves. My decision was to use a silk lining behind them and carry it up through the first gold and first cream band above the pink. The pure merino and baby alpaca fiber in the majority of yarn used is soft and dreamy with no need for lining - it's the perfect next-to-skin experience for the wearer.

Silk can be tricky to work with so I've developed a plan to minimize obstacles and ensure top-notch results. The most important part of execution is to take your time making sure each step is performed slowly to the highest standard you can muster.

My technique is to cut a paper pattern to size using the completed shawl as a guide. I added fusible interfacing after a test for compatibility with the silk. Next came a hand-finished rolled edge to the entire piece of silk. I also attached the silk by hand  to the knitted piece. (See the YouTube videos below.)

In eliminating the sewing machine in this project, I intended to create a remarkable example of quality workmanship with close attention paid to the finest details. I love haute couture fashion and this project was a nod to those world-class technically proficient seamstresses that bring to life the designs of the masters. One of my favorite inspirational pastimes is to view runway shows. See below for a preeminent display of amazing design and finishing mastery in couture from Valentino's Spring/Summer 2007 collection.

I encourage you to give attention to finishing techniques instead of rushing through the end of your next knit or crochet project. Excellent finishing provides you with an additional creative outlet, adds masterful touches to your work and develops skills that will serve your knit and crochet practice always.

At Vogue Knitting Live in New York City I had the opportunity to take a class taught by Deborah Newton and listen to her lecture at the same venue. She has been designing knits for Vogue Knitting for decades and helped bring the hand knitting industry the line drawing schematics now seen as commonplace in pattern instructions. She has a wonderful book available on, Finishing School, you may want to add to your library. If you do I am sure you will refer to it often!


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