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Going Around

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I’m so happy to be back at Berroco! My first day at work felt a little like a reunion, with so many familiar faces welcoming me back to the office. I instantly felt right at home, and promptly began stashing chocolate-covered pretzels and vanilla wafers in my desk drawers to complete the transition.

A few of my first tasks have touched on circular knitting, a rewarding technique but also one that requires some practice. I’ve thrown together three little tips I rely on:

1. BE CAREFUL NOT TO TWIST. Those sneaky twists in your cast on row aren’t always easy to spot when it’s time to join in the round. The trick I use now is to lay my needles flat on a table and arrange the cast-on stitches so that the bottom of every stitch is pointing towards the center of the circle (see photo below – in this case, the shape is more like a triangle than a circle, but the stitches are all lying inside). Then I insert my right needle into the first stitch and knit it before even picking the thing up again, just to be sure. 

2. PULL TIGHT AT THE JOINS. When you’re using double-points or two circulars, the stitches are divided onto multiple needles. When you jump from one needle to the next, the tension of the stitches closest to the jump may end up loose, forming “ladders” in the fabric. I always give my yarn an extra tug when working the end stitches on a needle to prevent gaps.

3. GAUGE CAN CHANGE. Even if you’re using the same yarn and needle size, a stockinette swatch worked flat can be very different from a swatch worked in the round. When knitting flat, you purl every other row, whereas circular knitting will use only knit stitches. Since many people purl at a different tension than they knit (myself included), a gauge worked in the round will be the best way to prepare for a circular knitting project.

Keep an eye out for KnitBits #396- it includes some exciting circular project ideas to inspire your next knitting endeavor!

Amanda

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Carol Cripps #

    I’ve also found when working a circular project, that making sure that when I change from one needle to the next, the new needle comes under the previous one makes for less noticible joins. I’ve been knitting in the round since I was a kid, and while I made sure to tug on the stitches near the joins back then, I think I do it unconciously now. Like any new skill, it requires practice to become automatic, but it’s well worth it.

    May 12, 2011
  2. Jen #

    I love to knit in with circulars. Can’t wait to see what the patterns are you are to show! DPNs are still new to me as my first pair of socks languishes in the drawer less than halfway done! Thanks for the inspiriation and welcome.

    May 12, 2011
  3. Yep, snacks in the desk drawer are the key to feeling settled in a new office. I like to add advil and (shhh) tampons to the mix to feel confident I can make it through any misadventure that might occur.

    May 12, 2011
  4. Deb #

    Thank you for the circular knitting advice, particularly about knitting the first stitch before picking up the needles off the table.

    Can’t wait to see your next post on circular knitting. Getting started on dpns is the hardest part of circular knitting for me.

    May 13, 2011
  5. Ellen #

    We’re thrilled to have you back, Amanda!

    May 13, 2011
    • amandakeep #

      Thanks, Ellen!

      May 13, 2011
  6. InvisibleDragon #

    I am an avid top-down circular knitter – my mother taught me 50 years ago – but I’m not a designer at all, so my sweaters are all of the plain variety. I would really love to see more designs – both cardis and pullovers – from the top down. Right now I am searching for a cotton summer cardi pattern with some lace detail at the yoke.

    Welcome back!

    May 13, 2011
  7. Naoko Shibusawa #

    I’m knitting top-down circular cardigan that will be steeked. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/shadow-4

    Would love to see more steeked designs that would allow us to knit cardigans in the round.

    Welcome back, Amanda–I used to see you when you worked at Fresh Purls.

    May 13, 2011
  8. laura #

    Great suggestion– about doing it first ON the table before picking it up.. woo HOO! THANKS!

    Laura

    May 14, 2011
  9. Steve Zissou #

    Amanda, I love your suggestions. I think Berroco is lucky to have you. I like your style (Ha ha).

    May 18, 2011

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