Posted on Tuesday, August 21 2012 at 8am
In the previous post in this Advanced Knitting In The Round masterclass from Rosee Woodland, we provided a step-by-step guide to the Magic Loop technique. This time we’ll look at laddering, and cast-offs for use in the round.
This is where larger gaps than normal form between stitches where you switch between DPNs or circular needles, caused by the fabric stretching at these points, as shown below.
You can fix it by shifting stitches as you work so that the stitches either side of the changeover point alter each round.
To shift stitches using DPNs, when you have knitted all the stitches on a DPN, take the now empty DPN and insert it through the back of the last stitch on the last worked DPN (shown at the top of this post), and the front of the first stitch on the next DPN you’re about to work (shown left). Knit the first stitch and continue to work as normal, repeating this ‘insert’ technique to the end of the round.
Once you’ve set up an entire round like this, when you get to the end of the next DPN, you will find it sits awkwardly in that last stitch.
Remove the DPN from the last stitch and you’ve moved the entire round by one stitch, without having to do anything else.
At first, using this technique, your ladders may simply spiral around your work, but unless very pronounced they will disappear when you wash your item. After a while you’ll find you subconsciously compensate for them by tightening these ‘meeting points’ and you may not even need to shift stitches any more.
If you experience laddering in fabric made with circular needles, particularly when using Magic Loop method, stop a few stitches short of the end of the needle and pull the FRONT needle ‘out’ to the right, so that these stitches slip onto the wire between the points (shown left), then begin working again as normal.
By changing the meeting point between the two needles you should eliminate the ladders.
CAST-OFFS FOR USE IN THE ROUND
When casting off a piece of work knitted in the round, you may like to use a stretchy cast off (for example with toe-up socks or the bottom welt of a sweater), such as the sewn cast-off method or Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.
Alternatively, consider using a ‘standard’ cast-off to stabilise an edge which may stretch more than you would like - for example, with a neckline on a very heavy sweater.
In our final post we will work through jogless joins and steeking.
About our expert
Rosee Woodland is commissioning editor of The Knitter and is a knitwear designer with a special interest in construction. She teaches classes on knitting in the round.
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