My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Look What I Found . . .

. . . on Marit’s blog!


Isn’t it great? I, of course, lifted it and slapped it into my blog sidebar. And some of you eagle-eyes noticed it yesterday and commented on it. Thanks Marit!

To Graft or To Three-Needle Bind-Off?

That is the question!

The pattern for Hank 8 instructs you to graft the shoulders together. I didn’t give that a second thought, and went ahead and did a three-needle bind-off. I vastly prefer that to grafting, partly because I think it gives you a more stable seam, and partly because I think grafting is a pain in the ass.

What do you all think?

Hank Neck

Ooh, ooh, ooh. Here’s a photo:


I’m still working on the neckband facing, but you get the idea. I really like the pattern on the neckband. It’s kinda sorta like a mini version of the border pattern round the bottom of the sweater. See?


Check it out now!

This new knitting blog, blogdogblog, from my online buddy Lisa. Wait’ll you see the fair isle she’s knitting!




  1. You’re welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thought I’d make one the right size, see? ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. can’t wait to see hank tomorrow , the collar looks lovely! wendy, my new fair isle looks great, practice, practice…

  3. I don’t mind grafting at all if it serves a purpose; however, I can’t think of any overwhelming reason to prefer it for Hank’s shoulders. Why bother if you don’t like it and there’s an acceptable alternative?

    Moreover, does the pattern recommend grafting at a particular point in the pattern to make the pattern continuous over the top on the shoulder? I would think that if you didn’t take care that the graft would only accentuate a discontinuity. In that case, you would probably want to seam anyway. Is there something I’m not getting about this?

  4. I am putting in my vote for grafting. (Btw…this is the first and only time I have disagreed with your wonderful advice). I think that grafting is worth the extra effort. It gives a more seamless look and has less bulk. I find it to hold up and wear just as well as the three needle bind off.

  5. I loathe and detest grafting. I can never remember which way to put the needle in so have to look it up every time – as you say Wendy – a pain in the ass! Three needle bind off is so much nicer and you can do it either way, inside or outside. A nice, neat seam or a ridge to accentuate the shoulder, such as a guernsey etc.

  6. I have grafted a few shoulders but I’m not too happy with the result. The shoulders tend to sag a bit after some wear. I suppose it depends on what wool you use and how heavvy the resulting sweater is. Maybe it’s just that my grafting is a bit too loose. Anyway, I like the look of the three-needle bind-off. It is so neat.

  7. I vote for 3 needle bindoff. It’s my understanding that in a color pattern you would get a jog by grafting so that the pattern wouldn’t really look continuous anyway but would be off half a stitch or something. I’ve done 3 needle on everything I could, since I learned it, and it is much less bulky than I would have expected.

    Love the button – such a mysterious picture of Izzy!

    Gotta go check Lisa’s blog, she once sent me a ball of yarn I needed just because she’s nice…

  8. P.S. Another fairly recent addition to blogland is Louise’s ( – she has a picture of her VK94 Starmore cardigan that is really pretty.

  9. I’m a newbie to FI but I do have an opinion. Night before last I spent a frustrating 1 1/2 trying to graft one of the shoulder of Roscalie…after reading Wendy’s post yesterday (and emailing her) I finished one shoulder during my lunch hour yesterday and the other while waiting on dinner last night.

    The pattern at Rosecalie’s shoulder was set so that it would look continuous – still looks great with the 3 needle bind off…plus I think the sean at the shoulder will help with the shaping of the vest over all.

  10. That’s… a ‘frustrating 1 1/2 *hours*’ and “I think the *seam* at the shoulder…

    Preveiw your post Teresa! That’s what it’s there for!

  11. 3 Needle bindoff for sure. No person should ever have to graft more stitches than it takes to close up the toe of a sock.

  12. I have only grafted one thing in my life — where I made a pant-leg on a babysuit longer than the other. (I cut it open, ripped out rows, and grafted it back together. Imagine my surprise that it actually worked!) But that may be different from doing it on pieces going in opposite directions.

    I’ve only cast off and seamed shoulders. At a finishing class I took last year, the instructor/designer cautioned us against 3-needle bind off. His logic was that if anything happens to the seam, instead of a (hopefully) little hole to sew up, you’ve got live stitches that can unravel into your garment. I see his point, but I’m still planning to 3-needle on my Philosopher’s Wool sweater, as they instruct. We’ll see!

    Finally, yes, the neck on Hank is beautiful, and does mirror the bottom pattern. Magnifique!!

  13. Well, since I asked what you did ๐Ÿ™‚

    I dug my abandoned Rona out and lo and behold, I’d grafted the shoulders just as called for in the pattern. And I don’t like it. The garment sags at the shoulders, and I really think it needs the structure of a seam.

    So, I decided to go with the three-needle bind-off for Henry, and I’m pleased with it. I think the sweater will hang better and wear better at the shoulders. Most importantly, The Intended Victim likes it.

    Am I weird or something? I actually don’t mind grafting. That part never entered into the decision at all. What a warped thing to be good at ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Three needle bind off, always and forever, for shoulders… grafting does not feel as sturdy to me at the shoulders, plus it is a pain in my ARSE. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. When one does the three needle bind-off, is there a right and wrong side? For example, when I sew, I make sure my right sides are together when sewing the seam, do you do the same thing with the bind-off, or doesn’t it matter?

  16. Katherine you are not alone . I like grafting.It has a certain satisfaction to a doing a well grafted toe . But not for shoulders !I think it allows the shoulder to stretch and look sloppy. i think shoulders need a firm ,stable seam – like the 3 needle bind off ,which I use for all my shoulders ,doing short rows if shaping is called for.
    All that aside ,Hank is looking stunning,and I love the neckband.

  17. Karen: I put wrong sides together, it puts the ridge on the inside. Alice Starmore’s Cornwall (Fisherman’s Sweaters) calls for the ridge to be on the outside by way of ornament but I didn’t do it that way for mine.

    Emma: I’m intrigued by your short row thing – do you do it on the actual bindoff row? How do you do it?? When I have shoulders that are shaped by binding off all the stitches over the course of two or three rows, I throw in the towel and sew seams.

  18. Three-needle bind off on shoulders. It makes for a firm, less-stretchy shoulder seam, and since the weight of the sweater hangs off of that, I like that extra structural stability.

  19. Well, I think Vera summed up my opinion of grafting nicely: loathsome and detestable ๐Ÿ™‚ Yep, yep, that pretty much covers it. I’m a three-needle bind off girl all the way. Wendy, Ron McKenzie says he always uses three-needle for stability, too. If it’s good enough for you guys… ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I just did my first 3-needle BO and I sure liked it better than grafting, which I’ve only done sucessfully on the Fuzzy Feet (the only sox I’ve knit so far). The first time I tried it on shoulders, I created a purl ridge that I decided to consider a design element — then I called for assistance when having to graft the hood on the same sweater. By contrast, the 3-needle was a breeze. Then again, this shell only had 4 stitches per shoulder . . .

  21. Beeeyoooteeful Hank! He gets lovelier every posting!
    Grafting, selon moi, is the work of the devil, and I will not do it. Especially at the shoulders, where it most certainly does not provide enough support. Hate it, and will never change. So there.