The why of Phoney Seams escapes me. For a knitter who believed as strongly as Elizabeth did in knitting in the round, why bow to the pressure of the knitting world and make the work appear to have seams? Being 'phoney', they don't add the flat knitters argument for seams -stability.
Flat knitters believe side seams made the garment more stable. I believe flat knitters have been seduced by the industrial era. Prior to the industrial age, garments were knit in the round. With the industrial age, came the idea of piecing out the knitting. A cottage industry was born. Women all over Great Britain were knitting for wages. One knitter knit sleeves, another backs, another fronts. The garments were then pieced together. The birth of side seams.
In many of her books, but particularly in The Opinionated Knitter, Elizabeth speaks angrily about editors that took her knit-in-the-round designs and turned them into pieced knitting. So why she created the phoney seam, I don't know. Perhaps to trick them into leaving her designs alone.
Day 5 of the 2010 Olympics saw me, for the first time ever, creating a phoney seam. It isn't difficult, but I wonder if they are worth the effort. I will let you decide when you see the pictures.
Here is what I did.
*Knit to the underarm.
*Place 31 stitches on hold for the underarm gusset.
*Take the centre stitch of the gusset and drop it down to the hem fold line.
Despite the anticipated disaster of a dropped stitch, I can assure you that dropped stitches don't run like a marathoner to the bottom. They have to be greatly encouraged to do so. Especially if knit in wool.
*Once the stitch is at the bottom, take a crochet hook and hook the stitch back up by hooking first one bar of wool,
then two bars at once.
*Repeat all the way to the top and - in theory - this line of stitches will look 'different' than the others and appear to have been seamed.