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Ask Amanda: How do I join my knitting in the round?

IMG_0581

When you’re preparing to knit in the round, joining is a critical step. Your pattern will tell you how many stitches to cast on, and then it will ask you to join in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Even one little twist will result in a potentially unusable piece of knitting, so it’s worth taking your time and making sure that everything is lined up properly before you continue.

When you’re ready to join to knit in the round, you’ll need to turn your work so that the last stitch you cast on is at the tip of the needle in your right hand, and the first stitch you cast on is at the tip of the needle in your left hand (in my photos, I used a circular needle but the same applies to double pointed needles).

To actually join into the round, you’ll need to knit that first stitch you cast on, but make sure there is no twisting first. Look below for an example of how a correct, untwisted alignment should look right before you join:

Correct

The red line is running parallel to the cast on stitches, and you can see that it doesn’t twist around at any point—it forms a clean circle. If your project looks like this, you’re ready to work the first cast on stitch and your join will be complete.

The next photo shows an example of a twisted alignment, which will need to be corrected before knitting the first cast on stitch and joining the round:

Twisted

You can see how the red line that follows the cast on is twisting around the needle before straightening back out at the first cast on stitch. It’s easy to fix this after you’ve identified the twist—just take hold of the stitches with one hand and spin them on the needle until the twist is worked out and it looks like my first photo. Once you’re confident that there is no twisting, you’re ready to work the first cast on stitch and continue with your pattern!

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lori #

    Any tips when working with a large number of stitches on your circular? I find that it is with a bunch of stitches that I have a harder time making sure they aren’t twisted.

    January 15, 2013
    • amandakeep #

      I agree – with a lot of stitches squeezed onto a needle, it can be very hard to avoid twists. Sometimes I will knit the first row before I join, and then join in the round after that – having a little more fabric hanging down from the needle can help make twists easier to spot. Then I’ll use the tail to sew up the little gap from that first row. While I haven’t tried it myself, I’ve also seen knitters anchor the cast on with periodically placed paperclips, helping to hold the stitches down.

      January 15, 2013
      • Diane #

        You can also cast on an extra stitch and then knit the first and last stitch together.

        January 15, 2013
      • amandakeep #

        Thanks for the tip!

        January 16, 2013
  2. I have recently learned to join by passing the last stitch over the first for an invisible join I really like

    January 15, 2013
    • amandakeep #

      Thanks for mentioning!

      January 15, 2013
  3. Lori Massey #

    Thank you for this helpful information. Just yesterday, I cast on for a cowl (204 stitches!) and worked 5 rows before I realized it was twisted. Argh!! It really pays to check and double-check this, since there’s no way to fix it besides starting over at cast-on stitch one!

    January 16, 2013
    • amandakeep #

      Thanks Lori – it’s so frustrating when that happens!

      January 16, 2013
  4. Alice #

    Hi there. I am having a nightmare knitting in the round. Something keeps going wrong. I am trying to do a K1 P2 for the rim but keeps going funny at the joining. Anyway I have one question, One thing that is confusing me, is that my cast on tail is at the first stitch. How comes yours is at the end?!

    August 12, 2013

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