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How to Create False Seams in Circular Knitting

Learn how to create false seams in circular knitting from expert Jessica Kaufman in this Howcast video.


So this is a really, really cool tool, a great trick to know, for people who like to knit in the round. There are so many benefits to knitting garments in the round. Like if you are knitting a sweater, you can do it all in one piece. You don't have to do a front and a back and then block them and seam them together. You can just knit the whole thing all in one.

But one thing that seamed garments do have over circular projects is that they have... The seam offers a lot to the garment. One of the things that a seam offers is looks, right? It looks nice and tidy. This is a false seam that I'm going to be showing you how to do. Another thing is stability. If you have a garment that is entirely knit circularly, there is a lot of places where it can stretch and sag and if you have a seam, that at least... that part is going to be held to the measurements that you knit it to, so it adds stability. And the last thing that false seams or real seams are good for is ease in blocking, so when I wash and dry my little sweater here, if I don't have a seam on the side, it's hard to know where the halfway point is. It's hard to get a good fold. But on the side where I did do a false seam here, or if I had knit it flat where I sewed it up, that creates this perfect bend-point and it's just nice and flat. So because it's way easier to knit garments in the round, I'm going to show you how to create a false seam so that you can continue to blithely carry on knitting in the round and still have the benefits of doing seams.

So I've got a false seam here. I'm going to see if you can tell the difference. If we're looking at columns of knits going down, you'll see that this column here-I'll just catch it with my crochet hook-this column here kind of stands out a little bit. It's a little bit thicker, for reasons that I'm going to show you, and it also makes the fabric want to bend in around it. So it's pretty subtle. It's not like it's going to pop out.

But that column there is my false seam. So let's knit a few columns away and I'll show you how to make one. So this is where you get to be really brave and do things that feels like destroying your knitting, but it's actually a great way to take control of what's happening as you create fabric that is just loops coming up through loops.

So I'm going to create a false seam in this next column coming up here and in order to do it, I'm going to need to drop my stitch, which is usually an accidental thing to do, and I'm going to be pulling these pieces of yarn out here, which we'll call "the ladder."

This is just like getting a run in stockings, right? Because stockings are knit. And when you get a run, you get to see all the little ladders, which make up the stitch column. So there is my little loop and all he is in its stitch is just a loop coming out of a loop, so there is the next loop. I'm going to stop there just to show you how we're going to do it, but if you are doing a false seam on a sweater, you could knit the entire body of the sweater and drop all the way down, if you're doing it on the sleeve. This is going to be a hat, so if I were you, I would finish the entire length of the piece and then drop all the way down.

For the ease of this video, I will show you how to do this. So what I want to do is I want to come in here with my crochet hook and capture the live stitch and then I'm going to capture two ladders at the same time. And what I want to do is pull both ladders through the stitch. So that's a double pull and then I'm going to do a single pull, so I'm just going to catch one ladder and bring it through the two loops that were there. So I'll show you a double one again. My crochet hook is still in the stitch, but I'll just show you again how to put it in there. Put it in from front to back because we're knitting. If you wanted to catch this in purl, you totally could. You could do a false seam made out of purls. You would put the ladder in front of the loop-just like when you knit you put the yarn in front of the purl-and you would insert your crochet hook from the back to the front. And then you would be able to pull this loop up, catch it, and it would look like a purl. So you could create a false seam out of purls, which would be way more obvious looking than our false seam made out of knit stitches. So that was a single.

Now I'm going to pull another double. I've caught two loops. I'm going to pull them. I'm using my finger to aid me here. If you get really good at this, you don't have to. Now I've got two loops on here but I'm going to treat them as one. Catch one ladder; pull it through. Catch two ladders; pull them through. And I am not using my finger to help. Catch one ladder; pull it through. Catch two ladders, and pull them through. Now I've got two here where it needs to be one and I'm at the top of my little sample, so I'm just going to knit those together to turn them back into one, but you can see where I started my false seam and where I didn't drop down to.

So you see this column is what we're looking at. Follow this stitch all the way down. This one is a little chubbier. It stands out a little bit more. And that's because the stitches are double thick in some places and they're also stretched twice as high. Down here, from my crochet hook below, I didn't do any. So if we follow this column down, I didn't drop all the way down here, so that's what it looks like normally and that's what it looks like in the false seam, and it wants to create a nice bend there, just like this one does. That is how to create a false seam in circular knitting.

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