Saturday, February 11, 2012

Knitting in a Zipper

Well, after a blogging hiatus of 4 years I'm back with another post! I can't promise that I will be a faithful poster this year, but I will try to make sure that I don't wait another 4 years until me next post!

For this post I wanted to show how I dealt with my first zipper installation. I've been knitting a hooded cardigan for my brother and I knew it would need a zipper, which was a first for me. I remembered seeing an article by TechKnitter in Interweave Knits about a technique that she developed which seemed very clever, simple and elegant. Not having access to my back issue collection at the moment I went online and found this post and link to the video with Eunny Jang which explained the technique perfectly. However, it did not show how to actually attach the prepared zipper to your garment. I wanted to see how others had attached their zippers so I did some research and found that many people seemed to be confused about this. Indeed, I ran across a few posts on Ravelry in which people said they had given up on using the technique because they didn't know how to attach the zipper. It seemed a shame so I've decided to detail how I used this technique to attach my zipper by knitting.

I used an i-cord bind off to attach my zipper. Originally, I tried a 3 needle bind off,which worked, but I didn't like how much of the zipper tape was showing with that method, so I started again using the i-cord.

First, I prepared my zipper tape with TechKnitter's method. This is the prepared zipper, ready to be installed.

After knitting the front band to the desired width, with RS facing I cast on 4 stitches for my i-cord with the cable cast on method. There are no photos of this part, I have photographed the procedure for attaching the zipper partway through the i-cord bind off process, but you can find some excellent tutorials on Knitting Help. This is how your needles will look to begin the process, after casting on your stitches (the wooden multi-coloured needle is holding the zipper tape stitches).

Next, knit 3 of these cast on i-cord stitches.

Now, you will be joining the zipper. Insert the right hand needle into the next 2 stitches on the left needle, as if to knit 2 together.

Next, holding prepared zipper tape with needle parallel to the left hand needle and with right needle still inserted in previous 2 stitches, insert right needle into first stitch on zipper tape needle, as if to knit.

Knit these 3 stitches together, first the one from the zipper tape,

then the 2 from the left hand needle.

One stitch bound off from front and zipper tape.

You will have 4 stitches on your right hand needle. Slip these 4 stitches back to left hand needle. Repeat these steps until you have bound off all the stitches.

As the row gauge for your i-cord will be smaller than the stitch gauge for the band, you will need to compensate by adding extra fabric to your i-cord or else it will cause the zipper tape to pucker. You could use a needle that is a few sizes larger than your project needle to do the i-cord bind off. Or, alternatively, at regular intervals do a row in which you do not bind off any stitches. Simply knit the 4 stitches of your i-cord onto your right hand needle, then slip them back to your left hand needle, adding a row. On my project I worked an extra row like this every 6th row, but you may need to do this more or less often. You'll have to experiment to see how it works with your edging and gauge.

TechKnitter is a genius, this was easy to do, and I'm no longer scared of zippers! Happy Knitting!
Please let me know if you've got any questions or if you have suggestions on how to make this tutorial clearer, it's my first one and I'm open to comments.


Unknown said...

Genius !

Unknown said...

This is Genius. I was thinking of adding a zipper to I sweater and will definatly use this technique

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this!

Unknown said...

Will this work for a purse?

Anonymous said...

A thousand thanks! Been struggling with this all afternoon and now you've solved it. It works on picked up stitches too; pick up a stitch on the left needle before slipping the 4 stitches from the right.


Anonymous said...

Question about this: "As the row gauge for your i-cord will be smaller than the stitch gauge for the band..." When preparing the zipper tape, I used a needle of the same size I used for the garment to hold the open loops, and spaced the loops the same distance apart as they are in the garment, so won't the i-cord be the same gauge?
Thank you for this! I, too, followed the TECHknitter's video as far as it went, but had been searching online for hours for the next step. I'm going to give it a go!

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