When we need to seam knitted panels or squares to make a blanket, a poncho, a cowl or any other reversible project, the basic mattress stitch is not a good option. It is bulky and it looks rather unattractive on the other side of the work. For projects that don’t have a wrong side, we’d better choose a flat seam that looks the same on both sides.
We’ve already discussed a perfect way to seam pieces knitted in garter stitch. But what to do if the panels or squares we plan to join are made in other stitch patterns? In this case, we can get help from baseball stitch – a stitch commonly used to make, well, baseballs.
It is easy to do and it creates a flat stretchy join that looks identical on both sides of the work. Another benefit of this seam is its strength. If it is secure enough to keep a baseball from falling apart, it will definitely hold our blankets, ponchos and sweaters together no matter what.
The only drawback of this seam is the fact that it is not invisible. This feature can also become its benefit if you decide to use yarn in a contrasting colour to add a lovely finishing touch to the project.
If you don’t want to turn the seam into a decorative element, use the yarn in the same colour as the yarn used to make the project and the seam will blend nicely with the fabric.
Another great thing about this way of seaming is that there is no need to worry about the look of the edges. This seam will conceal even the ugliest of edges. Of course, it doesn’t mean that we should be careless when we knit those panels or squares, but please, don’t beat yourself up if the edges are not perfectly even.
Now, that we know how amazingly helpful baseball stitch is, let’s see how we can use it to join knitted panels together.
If you are a visual learner, watch every step described below in this video tutorial.
Place two knitted panels side by side and cut a piece of yarn that is at least 8 times as long as the length of the future seam. Thread the yarn into a wool needle.
If the panels you plan to join are long (like the sides of an adult sweater or long strips of an afghan blanket), cut a strand in any length that you can comfortably work with and make one segment of the seam. When you run out of yarn, attach another piece and continue seaming.
Don’t be tempted to cut a piece of yarn longer than 1 meter / 1.1 yards. The strand will twist and tangle and you’ll spend more time taming the yarn than making the seam, and the whole process will turn into a frustrating experience.
Insert the wool needle from back to front under the strand at the left bottom corner of the panel at the right side.
Pull the yarn through leaving a small tail. Then insert the wool needle from back to front under the strand at the right bottom corner of the panel at the left side.
Pull the yarn through. Pull some more to bring two panels together, but make sure the small tail stays intact. It should be long enough to comfortably weave it in afterwards.
This way we attached the yarn to the work and joined the panels at the bottom edge. Now we are ready to make the seam.
In this step, we’ll work on the panel on the right side.
Insert the wool needle from back to front into a spot that is one stitch away from the left edge of the panel and one row away from the previous “worked” spot. By “worked” I mean a spot that has been seamed already. First, it will be a spot between the bottom edge and the first row.
Pull the yarn through but don’t pull it too tight. The seam should be flat and the joined edges of the knitted pieces should not be jammed.
Now let’s work on the panel on the left side.
Insert the wool needle from back to front into a spot that is one stitch away from the right edge of the panel and one row away from the previous “worked” spot. Just as we did in the previous step, we’ll start with a spot between the bottom edge and the first row.
Pull the yarn through but remember to keep the seam flat.
Now repeat steps 2 and 3 until you join all edge stitches of one panel to corresponding edge stitches of the other panel.
We can easily adjust these steps to slightly change the look and functionality of baseball stitch.
If we join spots that are two rows apart, the stitches will be less crowded and the seam will be more relaxed.
This modification allows us to finish seaming faster but it also makes the seam a bit looser and it does not hide the edges. So it is not a good option in cases when you need a strong secure seam or when the edges of the project are far from being perfect.
We can also use this seam when we need to join cast on and bind off edges. That makes baseball stitch a great help when we put together a bunch of squares to make a blanket, a poncho or a wide scarf.
To make it work, join the spots that are one row away from the edge and one stitch apart.
All these basic steps, as well as variations, can be applied to fabric worked in any stitch pattern.
Here’s a photo of baseball stitch used to join two swatches made in seed stitch (also called “moss stitch” in the UK).
As you see, it does add a visible line to the fabric, but this line blends in with the fabric and looks lovely.
This seam also works well for making small clothing repairs. You can use it to fix small holes and rips in any types of fabric – knitted or woven. I use it all the time to mend socks and t-shirts.