Much has been said about the Seamless Hybrid before: its flattering clean lines, the textural contrast between the horizontal and vertically oriented fabrics at the shoulder, the rather astonishing fact that all this is done without sewing!
How does it work? We start with a torso circumference of X sts, and work up the body of the sweater. At the underarms, 5%X sts are put on scrap yarn on each side. Then each sleeve is started with 20%X, worked up with increases till it is 33%X; then 5%X is moved to scrap yarn for each sleeve. The body and sleeves are united on one large needle, and everything is knit in the round, making a centred double decrease every third round, at each junction of torso and sleeve, until half the bicep stitch count remains on the sleeves. Then the saddles are worked back and forth, knitting together with the front and back torso at each end. This ‘eats’ the torso stitches while extending the saddles across the shoulder. A gap is left for the front neck while the saddle continues along to mid back. Then the other shoulder saddle is worked similarly, and the two are grafted at the back. Finally, the underarms are grafted together and the neck is finished.
It sounds a little bit overwhelming the first time, but I’d read the instructions so many times in the last couple of years I could probably have done it in my sleep. Because this is a recipe, you substitute in your own gauge and percentages – there are no restrictive pattern stitch counts to maintain!
And of course I had to fiddle with the pattern a tiny bit…
Time for a pattern analysis!
- The astoundingly entertaining and clever construction.
- The clean, defined lines of the double decreases and saddle shaping.
- How flattering it is on every single man photographed in one!
- The torso shapelessness – I calculated the desired width at hips and chest, added ease, and determined stitch counts with those measurements. The torso is a gentle V shape for good fit. Ditto for the sleeves.
For further refinement, I started the twisted rib hem with an Italian tubular CO. A twisted rib column, about an inch wide, continues along the sides to the underarm to maintain the fit. I’ll also add a few short rows at the back before the saddles begin, and probably line the collar and cuffs with contrasting yarn.
Since this is my first Seamless Hybrid and I don’t know how the yoke shaping will affect the ultimate length of the sleeves, I started them provisionally and will finish them with ribbed cuffs once I can hang the whole garment on a body to check fit.
I decided to make it a pullover because I wasn’t sure if the thin, drapey fabric would bear the weight of a zip without skewing. Also, I knitted at a tighter gauge – about 8 stitches per inch – for a more cohesive fabric which would not get distorted by its own weight. If I have enough yarn left I may darn elbow patches on the inside to forestall wear and tear.
Now I’ve got one more increase repeat left – 36 rounds – before I can finally get to the yoke shaping. I am sooooo looking forward to that!