Putting the Pieces Together

Knitting motifs is really fun, but how do you put them together to make a garment?

Zuna Starburst Shrug from Knitting Outside the Swatch by Kristin Omdahl

Kristin Omdahl, author of Knitting Outside the Swatch, is an expert at making beautiful garments out of knitted and crocheted motifs, so I thought I'd have her explain how she put some of her her motifs together for the beautiful garments in her book.

Motif Joining Methods

Just as there are many different ways to work with motifs, there are a number of methods for joining them together.


The most basic way to join motifs is to knit them separately, then sew or crochet them together. The advantages of this method are that you can work on a number of motifs over time and put them together when you're ready. If you're combining motifs knit in different colors or with different stitch patterns, joining them all together at the end allows you to rearrange them until you find the perfect arrangement.

Tindra Herringbone Scarf from Knitting Outside the Swatch by Kristin Omdahl
Thora Lace Cardigan by Kristin Omdahl, from Knitting Outside the Swatch

A crocheted join can also make a nice accent if you use a different color yarn. For the Zuna Starburst Shrug, I knit four Square Starburst motifs separately, sewed them together, then picked up stitches all around the motifs to knit the shrug.


Joining Live Stitches

If you leave the stitches on the needles, or "live," you can join them using Kitchener stitch or three-needle bind-off. Either of these methods creates a virtually invisible join.

Picking Up and Knitting

This is one of my favorite joining methods because it creates a cleaner join than seaming but requires less planning ahead than joining live stitches. I used this method for several projects, including the Tindra Herringbone Scarf. Try to pick up evenly across a length of fabric for a neat look.

Joining as You Go

For my seamless motifs, I pick up and knit into the last motif, then knit the new stitch together with the adjacent stitch, so I'm not actually increasing but creating a solid join. You can create an endless row of motifs in this way and even combine them into multiple rows. I used this method for the Thora Lace Cardigan.

—Kristin Omdahl, from Knitting Outside the Swatch

Get your copy of Knitting Outside the Swatch today, and start knitting beautiful motifs and putting them together to make fabulous garments!


P.S. Do you have a tried-and-true method for joining motifs? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

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