sageincave (sageincave) wrote in knitting_chat,

How bad is it?

So, as knitters....

Is knitting a hat flat and putting a seam up the back considered to be poor/lazy construction technique?

Do you (or anyone that you've knitted for in the past, especially BALD MEN) find a back seam to be uncomfortable?  Inquiring minds want to know!

EDIT: Also, I am a beginning-level knitter.  Is there a really snazzy way to join a back seam on such a hat?
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January 22 2011, 03:56:35 UTC 7 years ago Edited:  January 22 2011, 03:57:46 UTC

Is knitting a hat flat and putting a seam up the back considered to be poor/lazy construction technique?

Not at all! Do whichever way you're the most comfortable with. I personally like knitting hats in the round because it goes so much faster -- no purling! But once you start the decreases, it can get pretty awkward trying to use the double point needles with only a few stitches on them. I know lots of people who prefer to knit hats flat because of that.

As for the seaming -- I'd just use good old mattress stitch. Here's a helpful video that explains how to do it.

Edited to add: Okay, apparently trying to embed a YouTube video into a comment does not work for me. Here's a link instead:
Thanks for the link! That's pretty much what I did, although I can always work on doing it more neatly by following that example.

I prefer using circulars, but I have a needle availability issue - not much money for needles right now, and most of my needles are still packed away from my last move.
If you have some circs on hand, you could go with the Magic Loop method:
It can look more complicated than it is. I used this the first time I ever knit a hat, a Jayne hat, even, and it came out swell. :)
Knitting a hat flat is not poor/lazy technique. It's just a different technique than knitting in the round.

I'd suggest using mattress stitch to join the seam. There are lots of online tutorials which show how to do it.

And keep in mind that the bulkier the yarn, the more noticeable a seam will be. If you knit the hat with bulky yarn, use a thinner yarn of a similar color and fiber type to sew the seam. (Or you can untwist the strands of the bulky yarn and use the thin piece to sew up.)

I've knit snug hats for bald men, and it seems as long as the yarn is soft next to the skin, the seams aren't an issue.

Remember, it's just string! You can do it! :)
No, it's not poor technique. Sometimes there's an excellent reason to do it, such as when you're doing intarsia, which is difficult to do in the round (and the techniques for doing it in the round pretty much all really amount to doing it flat, but doing the join row-by-row as you go rather than doing a seam when you're done). My pattern Airbending is worked flat for this reason, although it has two side seams rather than one back seam.

My hat recipients have not mentioned anything adverse about the seams, but I haven't given them to bald men. I think it does help to do what you can to reduce bulk -- if you're using a yarn heavier than worsted, I'd plan things so you're doing your seam with half a stitch from each side included in the seam, rather than a whole stitch.

Mattress stitch is the most common technique to use for seaming, as it is essentially invisible on the front side of stockinette. Another technique you might want to play with, however, is the Bickford seam -- this much-less-common technique is not as invisible as mattress stitching, but when done in matching yarn it's not that obtrusive either, and it is *very* flat, so you have essentially no seam on the inside of the hat; anyone who can tolerate purl bumps on their head could tolerate this seam. In either case, I'd make a couple of swatches and practice the technique before you start your hat, which will make your life easier. Also, block the hat before attempting to sew the seam -- even in acrylic this will temporarily tame it a bit, and make handling the edges easier.


January 22 2011, 17:50:39 UTC 7 years ago Edited:  January 22 2011, 17:51:25 UTC

You can also flat-knit a hat sideways, starting with a provisional cast-on, using short rows on one side of your "rectangle" for crown shaping, and then graft the beginning and end rows together for a completely invisible/unfeelable "seam." Alternatively, do the same thing, but skip the shaping, graft the ends, and seam the top for a sort of longer, cozier garrison cap or jester cap/animal ears look (depending on size and which way 'round it's worn)

edited to repair typo
I am actually doing a short-row, flat knit hat right now, so I will make a point of grafting* the two sides together when I'm done.

*initial googling indicates that "grafting" is the same as "Kitchener Stitch". Is this correct? Or should I be doing some other kind of grafting?
They're the same thing. :-)