Last time, we looked at the very first stitches of a project. If this blog were a 1960s TV programme, the screen would go wiggly between that post and this, signalling "some time passes". How much time? Well, some garments are completed at white-hot pace, leaving their maker dazed and a little breathless. Some slip through a crack in time and re-emerge years later, lacking the button bands and half a sleeve. Others grind to a halt once all their pieces have been made and huddle in bags at the back of the wardrobe, as if the shoemaker's elves would show up shortly. This last is a common problem among knitters and crocheters. It's also a strange one. Do we just run out of steam, or are we secretly worried that our careful work won't look so good after it's been put together with lumpy seams and baggy easing? One solution is to choose patterns that don't need any (or much) assembly. A top-down cardigan like our All Seasons Cardi requires no seaming at all. There's other ways of avoiding lumpy seams, though. It's possible to discard the lumps but keep the joins, and this is something that patterns (rather scandalously) don't tell you, preferring to stay silent about that last stage. This is why one of our most popular classes at This Is Knit is Finishing School. Helen (hmabells on Ravelry) takes the class through mattress stitch and fake grafting, producing smooth and professional seams: Where you need strength (at a shoulder seam, for example) she'll show you how to plan and execute a three-needle cast off (neater than a sewn seam, stronger than a graft). Our finishing school won't teach you how to get out of an Aston Martin in a ladylike manner. But it will stop your lovely work from ending up in the back of the wardrobe, waiting dolefully for the elves.