Posted on Tuesday, July 17 2012 at 7am
In the previous posts in this Knitting In The Round masterclass from Rosee Woodland, we looked at why and what to knit in the round, plus yarn choices and when not to knit in the round. This time we’ll consider cast-on methods, and joining to knit in the round.
When casting on a project for knitting in the round you might want to have an elastic edge, so a knitted-on cast-on will probably not be stretchy enough.
Instead, try a cable cast-on, long-tail or thumb cast-on. You could also consider a provisional cast-on with a crochet chain, which will give you great flexiblity.
For a ‘sealed’ cast-on (for toe-up socks), try a tubular cast on or Judy’s Magic Cast-On. You can start a top-down hat with a figure-eight cast-on.
JOINING TO KNIT IN THE ROUND
Many patterns simply instruct you to ‘join for working in the round’. I find the best way is to cast on an extra stitch and join by working two stitches together (see below).
Alternatively, if you’ve used a knitted- on cast-on, you can swap the first and last stitch using a crochet hook to bridge the gap. Don’t try to knit from the last stitch of the previous row and then the first stitch of the next row as you will get a big gap. And don’t tie the stitches together with your cast-on tail as you will create a point of weakness.
If you discover you have twisted your stitches when joining them, then you will end up working a moebius strip! If you’ve only worked one or two rows you can twist your stitches back around your wire or DPN, pinch the twisted stitches together and knit on, which should correct it. It may show slightly in your work, so if in doubt it’s probably better to start again.
To avoid the risk of twisted stitches work two or three rows before joining to work in the round (pictured at the top of this post).
You can sew the small gap between those few rows together at the end and it shouldn’t show. You can leave the tail from the cast-on hanging down until you’ve finished as it makes a good reference point if you lose your stitch marker.
The most ‘normal’ way of knitting in the round is to work on a needle length which is shorter than the circumference of your total stitches. This allows you to keep working round without stopping!
However, much knitting in the round is done on small diameters and so it is helpful to look at ways of doing this. Next time, we’ll look at using 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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