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Knitting Tip- Stretching and Steaming

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Even Appearance of Stitches
Most pieces of knitwear should be stretched before being made up. This makes the appearance of the stitches more even, rolled-up edges are smoother and patterns which shrink together (for instance rib patterns) are drawn out a little and maintain a better structure.

This is how it works
Before stretching, sew in all the threads which are inevitably in the middle of the work (e.g. changing colours). All other threads should be at the edges (starting and finishing a ball, knots etc.) and should be sewn into the seam once the garment has been sewn together.
Pin out all pieces of the garment on an even underlay, keeping in line with the measurements of the pattern. One good method is to draw the pattern 1:1 on paper, place this on the carpet and then pin the piece through the edge stitches and the paper pattern to the carpet. The pins should be close together and as flat as possible.
The cuffs should remain elastic and therefore these should not be stretched.
Now all the pieces have to be slightly dampened. This can be done with steam from a good steam iron (only steaming, don't touch the knitted work!) or spraying with a plant atomiser or by placing damp cloths on the pieces. If you decide to use the damp cloths, lightly press these down with your hands and let everything dry for a few hours or even overnight.
Once the pieces are really dry remove the pins and continue with the making up.

To be avoided at all costs!
Don't use weights on the stretched pieces. Otherwise the patterns will be flattened and lose their structure. This also applies for simple stocking stitch.
Long-hair fluffy yarns only have the right effect if they don't lose their lightness. Therefore, only stretch here, if the pattern really requires it, and be very careful. Here damp cloths should not be used.

Nowadays steaming is no longer really necessary. Therefore, only do it if the pattern really requires it.
Make sure the yarn you've used is suitable for steaming. You can only steam cotton or pure wool. Place a damp cloth over the piece of work. Place the iron very lightly and briefly on the cloth and then move on to the next piece. Don't move it around on the knitted work, as that would pull the stitches out of shape.
But be careful: most yarns are not suited to steaming. There's a risk of them becoming loose and out of shape.

Another Tip
Once you have joined the shoulder seams and set in the sleeves, lay these seams on an even surface, dampen them slightly and push them into form with your fingers and let them dry. This way your finished garment will be even better.