Posted on Tuesday, July 10 2012 at 8am
In the previous post in this Knitting In The Round masterclass from Rosee Woodland, we looked at why and what to knit in the round. This time we will examine what makes a good yarn choice when it comes to knitting in the round, and when NOT to knit in the round.
It’s important to consider the type of yarn when knitting in the round, as the side seams of a garment do provide stability, and can stop a garment from stretching.
A garment worked in the round is essentially made in a spiral and is therefore prone to stretching. So, it is wise to stick to yarns with some bounce (primarily with a higher wool content) at lighter weights. Icelandic lopi yarn (shown left) is used to make yoked sweaters in the round, and even though it is bulky it is light, which makes it a good choice for a seamless garment.
By contrast, heavy yarns with less bounce are not so helpful when working in the round. Cotton, silk, pure alpaca, pure cashmere, bamboo and other forms of viscose, can all stretch and not bounce back.
Because of this, if you want to use these fibres when knitting in the round, try to combine them with other fibres (such as a wool/cotton mix or a wool/ alpaca mix) and avoid going heavier than a DK weight.
WHEN NOT TO KNIT IN THE ROUND
Some techniques can be tricky to work in the round. While Fair Isle is perfect, intarsia is not, as all the ends for your colourwork will be in the wrong place when you come back to them again. You can ‘cheat’ by stranding the yarn across the back of the work or weaving the ends back through to the colourwork starting point, but this can lead to a bulky fabric. It may be better to add your pattern using a duplicate stitch (shown at the top of this post and left), also known as Swiss darning, or work the garment flat instead.
Tailored designs could benefit from the structure provided by seams. If you are happy that working in the round will not weaken your garment structure, you can create a fake seam by working single stitches at ‘seam’ points in a contrast stitch (such as a plain stocking stitch on a Fair Isle design or rev st st on st st (as shown left).
The Magic Loop method of knitting in the round requires you to pull the cable of the circular needle through your fabric. This can leave holes in very delicate fabric, so for laceweight yarns, choose shorter circular needles that your stitches will fit around more comfortably.
Next time we will look at cast-on methods, and joining to knit in the round.
In the final post in this Knitting In The Round masterclass, we will look at using the techniques of double-pointed needles and two short circulars.
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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