You want to minimize as much as possible any disturbance of the amsteel core. So no stitching except where absolutely necessary.
Follow the instructions at http://www.samsonrope.com/splicing-p...UG2012_WEB.pdf
for the smooth cover installation. It really only takes a few minutes to do, and can save a ton of money. You can use these same instructions for any cover, but I like the ice because it is built with a draw line already in it. Old stripped poly line will work just as well, though it takes a bit more work to bury the core back in.