Friday, April 24, 2009

Knitting in the round Part 2

When knitting flat, the knitting is worked in rows.
Each row is distinct. At the end of each row, the work is turned.

Half the row are worked with the Outside (right side) or publicly viewed work facing the knitter, and half the rows are worked with the inside( wrong side) or non public side of the work facing the knitter.

When knitting in the round the knitting is worked in rounds, which are really spirals.
Disks are knit in flat spirals (Think of the coils of a braided rug—or a snail's shell.)
Tubes are coils, but stack ones.  (Think of slinky toy—or of the spiral cord of a telephone)

Unless marked, it can be difficult to know where the beginning and end of one spiral is—so it is a common practice to place a marker at the point that marks the end of one coil and the beginning of the next. These are called Beginning of Round markers. (BOR marking is shorthand notation most often used.)

When you work in the round, the work is not so much turned, but cranked –the same side is always facing the knitter, but the work is turned (one third or one quarter)to the right.
çClosing into a round

Tail (from cast on) at 3O'clock positionè

çTail of yarn at 6O'clock position

Tail of yarn at 9O'clock positionè
Round 1 complete, tail is once again at 12O'clock position.í
Look at these images-- see how the tail of yarn from the cast on moves round? Moving from the 12 O’clock positions, to the 3 O’clock position, to 6 O’clock, to 9 o’clock and finally back to noon as the round is finished?

This is what I mean by cranking the work rather than turning the work (as in flat knitting)
Occationally (while working short rows) circular knitting is turned—but 99.9% of the time, it is cranked!

The exception is when working with 2 circs, or with a magic loop,when  the work is turned 180°--and ‘feels like’ flat knitting—but the right side or rather the same side of the work is always facing the knitter, instead of right (outside) and back (inside) as with flat knitting. 
Each crank with 2 circ or magic loop knitting turns the work 180°--but the outsideof the work is always facing the knitter.

Which brings us to a general rule:
When knitting in the round, the Outside (right side/public side) of the knitting is always facing the knitter --Unless the knitter chooses to work inside out!

Then the wrong side/non public side of the work is facing the knitter.

The choice is a matter of tradition, both are right, but right side out is more common for knitters from a European heritage. Inside out is more common for eastern (asian), and for many south amerian knitters.

Usually, the knitter works with the working needles to the front of the work
Sometimes, the work will turn its self inside out, and a knitter will find them selves working on the right side, but at the back of the work.--almost every knitter has done this at least once—(and some knitters work this way all the time)

The solution is to turn the work so it’s right side out—it that is what you want to!

There is nothing wrong about working inside out, and when doing stranded (color) work there is a slight advantage to working inside out!


There are several techniques for making neat joins when knitting a tube.
And like all knitting, the names for the techniques are numerous.
You’ll find almost every knitter has a different name for the same process!

1—basic join—just join the work into a round

2 – tail together join—Work the first few stitches of round 1 with both the tail and the working yarn.. be sure to treat these ‘double thread’ stitches a single stitch in round 2

3 –Cross stitch join—the last stitch cast on is crossed (cable style) over the first stitch cast on—Usually by swapping the stitches from one needle to the other.

4—Plus one join—an extra stitch is cast on, and then repositioned to be the last stitch—then this extra stitch and the last stitch are knit together (correcting stitch count.
All of these methods (and others) are correct.

Sometimes Lapped joins are used, too… Especially on gursey type sweaters—With a lap join, at each side (where the side seam would be), stitches are overlapped and knit together. Lap joints are good for mittens and gloves too.

A lapped join is exactly as it sounds, pieces of flat  knitting are over lapped, and then the stitches are knit together:
The last stitches, (W X Y Z)are over lapped with first, (A B C D) and knit together.

---Stitch D is knit together with Z
---Stitch C is knit together with Y
---Stitch B is knit together with X
---Stitch A is knit together with W
The total stitch count is reduced by 4—(by 8 if you over lap on both sides of sweater)

Lapped joints are usually made after 6 to 10 rows of knitting –and they can be uneven. The back of the sweater can be 2 inches of extra longer than the front when you join with a lapped joint.

Or it can be extra deep –it is possible to work 3 or 4 inch of knitting. before joining with an overlapping join. Deep over laps before the join, can be a nice detail on a casual sweater--and it makes it easier to get your hand into pockets

All of these methods for joining (and others) are correct. There are subtle, (and in the case of the lap join, not so subte!) differences. The best way to join is the way that works best for you.

One concern with joining is being sure not to twist the first row of knitting.
If this row is twisted, there is no solution but to unravel and to start again.
(Well, actually you can leave a twist in the first round.. but…)

The secret to not twisting? I don’t know it. There are some tricks out there, but I find them as awkward and as time consuming as just paying attention to what I am doing!

A cast on like Long Tail (which looks different on each side), good light, and no distractions (sometimes this last bit is the hardest to arrange!) are the tools I need.

Curiously, I find it easier to join neatly and correctly when working with sets of 4 DPN’s (than any other method) –but I prefer to work these days (especially sock) with 2 Circs.

I often find that I cast on and join using DPN’s. Then I switch over to circ’s to continue the work. It is what works best for me.

I’ve tried the instructions for casting on half the stitches to one circ, and then casting the second half of the stitches onto a second circ—and the results are so ugly I rip them out. OBVIOUSLY—others have done this successfully. But not me.

In the end, the best method, as always, is the method that works best for you!

Cast ons

When knitting a TUBE—almost any cast on will work. Most often, a stretch cast on is desired—but there are almost no other limitations.

I like to cast on some stitches to Needle 1, then step stair style, some onto needle 2, and again to needle 3, and to needle 4.
so by the end of the cast on, I am holding all 4 DPN’s in my right hand.
(presuming I am doing a Long Tail or Long Tail variation cast on.

Then I lay them flat, double check to see the stitches aren’t twisted, and start knitting.

When knitting a flat disk, you can start with a conventional cast on, or with an eyelet (aka noose) cast on*, or with a provisional (aka chimney) cast on.

there is:
the disappearing loop cast on (a link to my YouTube video)
the Emily Ocker loop cast on--(still images)
and the slip knot loop cast on--similar to the disappearing loop, but worked in a slip knot.

A chimney cast on is a short bit of knitting in an alternate yarn, that is used to support the knitting/needles. After the work is completed, the chimney is unraveled (from the cast on edge) and live stitches of the working yarn are sewn into a drawstring with the tail of the working yarn. The chimney can be a few inches of I-cord.

Again, all the methods are correct, and the choice is yours.

It is slightly more common to knit flat disk from the inside (center point) out, than it is to knit from outside edge to center point--

Are cut portions of knitting in the round--this tutorial is not going to deal with steeks! There are lots of tutorials about steeking—but really the best way to learn? Knit a swatch, (40 stitches is plenty-) by 20 Rounds—and practice making a steek in the swatch. It’s so much easier to cut a swatch than your real knitting for the first time.

Still to come:
How to knit on DPN or Circ—and how to change from one style to another
and how to adapt any pattern to any style.
Basic ratios for working in the round to create flat disks, ovals, or squares.
Stitches and patterns for working in the round
Jogless color changes and other persnickety details.


gayle said...

You've got a great series going on here - lots of good solid info for folks who are looking to kick their work up a notch!
And I'm glad you keep reinforcing the concept that the right way is the way that works for you. So many knitting teachers insist that their way is the *only* way, and we lose people who would otherwise have gotten a great deal of joy out of knitting.

Svannah said...


I came across your blog while doing a google search to help me understand a pattern. I have this pattern that I am working on (half knitted up so far) but I got to the bind off and I am totally confused...hoping that somehow, google will help me but I don't think it will.

The bind off is as follows (and I am working on two circ): *turn work and CO 3 sts using the cable CO method, BO 6 sts, repeat from *

This completely confusing to me...and I'm sad to say that the pattern is labeled for beginners but this just doesn't seem as such.

This post you did mentioned that to turn the knitting while working in the round would be simply turn the work inside out but would that call for what this bind off is calling for?

If you could help me out, explain, maybe pictures...I would greatly appreciate it. I have how I am stuck with this at the very end of the project.

If you can help, please email me at Thanks a ton!!


Unknown said...

I have successfully done stockinette in the round by just knitting, so I understand the concept in general....but I am having difficulty converting the following flat knitting pattern:
row one knit 1 purl 2
row two knit 1 purl 2
which looks the same on both sides of flat knitting. I want to do the same in the round. I have tried
round one k1, p2,
round two p1, k2
k2, p1
p2, k1
It does not look the same on both on the inside and outside of the tube - what am I doing wrong?