Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Zippers in knitwear, the no-sewing way, update!

In 2010, I wrote an article in Interweave Knits about installing zippers into knitwear, a new non-sewing way. In 2012, I wrote an illustrated blog post about it.  There's also a video about the method.

This no-sew method involves turning a zipper into a "knitable object" by  using a knit-picker (a tiny latch hook) to basically YANK loops of knitting yarn directly through the zipper tape. These loops are then attached to the front bands of your sweater just like you would attach any other strip of knitting: by 3-needle bind off, or any other method you like. "No-sew zippers" is one of the most popular posts I ever wrote, but today, there is an important update about the method.

In a marvelous new development, Dritz (the notions company) has evidently invented a zipper with a purposely loose-woven zipper tape, so you can pick your stitches up directly through the tape, using an ordinary crochet hook.  The below photos are screen-grabs from the Dritz website--

The Dritz website shows a new loose-woven panel which lets you pick up loops directly through the zipper tape itself.  Since you can do this at the perfect gauge for the adjoining fabric, the zipper ought to lay nice and flat.

With the loops picked up, the zipper has become a "knittable object." You can attach the zipper to the front bands in the same way that you would attach any two pieces of knitting together: three-needle bind off, etc. 

So, if you've ever needed to install a zipper in a sweater, have a look at the linked TECHknitting blog posts above, BUT order one of these new zippers (I found them available on-line) and realize that you can forget all about that business with the knit-picker! Amazing. And even if it turns out that picking up the loops with a knit-picker works better than a crochet hook (just because of the latch feature of the knit-picker) it would still be way easier to work through a loosely-woven tape than a stiffly-woven one.

Just so you know? I get nothing from the sale of these, and don't know anybody at Dritz either.  I simply think this is a marvelous (and newsworthy!) advance over my original method. Why struggle with a stiff tape, when a zipper with a much looser tape is available?

Go add a zipper to something, OK?