In part, because I almost exclusively handle Rob‘s finishing on projects intended for shop models, and in part, because I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to finishing, I have become known in the community of knitters that surrounds ThreadBear as a finishing expert. The truth is that I do handle a lot of finishing, and since I’ve long-since taken over the task of leading ThreadBear’s Knit ER sessions that are offered every Wednesday night, I see more and more of it on a weekly basis.

I bring it up to make the following point: there was a time in the not-so-distant past that I had to learn Kitchener stitch and was delighted with myself the first time I did it and made it look good. I remember that. This isn’t some vague memory from my distant past; it was just a few years ago when I was getting back into knitting as an adult. I’ve learned a lot in the last several years, and certainly, since opening a retail yarn shop, I’ve learned much more than I ever thought I’d be able to. I used to think that Fair Isle was magic. I thought that only the most perfectly skilled knitter would ever be able to make Intarsia look like nice, flat fabric. And I thought that nice, even seams were something that was accomplished only by commercial garment construction methods. I’ve since learned that seams in handmade knitted garments are typically much different from what now seem to me slapped together commercial knits.

For some time, though, I’ve recommended that people who want to put a zipper into a knitted piece take the zipper and the otherwise finished and blocked garment to a trusted and proven tailor to get zippers installed professionally. Now, I’m starting to wonder. A friend and I were talking today about "The Book", and she asked me if I’d planned on including a simple, zipper-front cardigan. Well, of course, not. I want things that people can do themselves… but wait. My mother made our clothing when I was a kid, and she put zippers into garments all the time. She is a genius and all, but… well, I used to not know how to do a Kitchener stitch. Fair Isle used to look like magic. Hmm…

So here’s my most current quest: how to effectively install a zipper into a knitted garment. I know the information is out there. I know I can do it. And I suspect it’s no more magic than is Fair Isle. It’s a basic set of steps that, when done correctly, generally yields an attractive result.

I’m not afraid of steeking. I’m not afraid of Kitchener, Fair Isle, Intarsia, or the Far Right. Well, I’m a little afraid of the Far Right, but I’m getting better about that. And soon, I’ll conquer zippers.

Any suggestions on where to start looking?

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