A Norwegian armhole pseudo-steek
While most of the Norwegian knitting, sewing and cutting methods are quite similar to those for Fair Isle knitting, the armholes and sleeves are notable exceptions. Here, the Norwegian method is more forgiving. Many traditional Norwegian sweaters feature dropped shoulders with elaborate patterning at the sleeve top. Therefore, their sleeve tops and armholes are both typically straight so that the lines of patterning and motifs are not broken by a curve. The traditional Norwegian sew-and-cut armhole method (I'd call it a
"pseudo-steek") does not add any steek or cutting stitches at all. Nothing is bound off at the armhole base, no steek stitches are added. The body is knit as a tube with zero regard for the armholes. The sleeves are knit circularly, usually from the bottom up, with a few rows of purling at the top which later act as
a facing. Only after the body and sleeves are separately done do we mark sewing and cutting lines on the sides of the body.
Those lines are exactly equal to the finished width of the sleeve top. We thereby custom fit our armhole to our finished pieces. Lines are sewn from the shoulder top down one side of the intended armhole, across the bottom of the armhole and back up the other side of the armhole to the very top.
Remember to secure the topmost stitches! The midline can then be cut open, with extra care given to the bottom of the U where we'd never, ever want to cut beyond our reinforcements. (See more on reinforcement methods below.) The facings are slipped inside the armhole and slipstitched in place over the body's raw cut edge, saving us the tedious overcasting work. It's actually a very sensible, friendly method for a neat, trouble-free shoulder fit. However, it only works for dropped shoulders.
By the way, on my Wintergarden Pullover (fig. 4 and fig. 5, above), the stripes that go up the side are not steek stitches; they're just an integral part of the design on the body. The stripes also continue down the sleeve, after the checked bands. You can find plenty of examples of interesting side seam treatments on seamless traditional Norwegian designs. These decorative faux seams vertically enhance a design yet they don't add the unwanted bulk of a true seam. They also make the construction process visually easier. On the other hand, for the Tiger Lily body, (fig
6), the pattern was involved enough with horizontal treatments on the body and sleeves that I didn't
visually delineate the side seams at all. The blue basting line, ending at the safety pin at the bottom of the armhole, marks my Tiger Lily armhole.
Next: How should I finish the raw cut edges of my steek?
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