Creative Knitting Newsletter
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Knitting in the Round
While some hat patterns are written for flat knitting with a seam, you're going to have to knit in the round if you're serious about knitting hats. You can knit most hats with a 16-inch circular needle until you begin decreasing for the crown -- at that point you'll have to switch to double-point needles. Here are some tips to help you knit your way around most hats.
Joining to Form a Round
Instructions for circular knitting almost always begin the same way: Cast on X number of stitches and join into a round, being careful not to twist the stitches. The last part of this statement is very important. If your stitches get twisted, your knitting will be twisted into a Mobius strip. The first photo shows how your stitches should look.
|Here the stitches are untwisted and ready to knit.||A group of stitches on the left are twisted and must be set straight before they are joined them into a round.|
Notice in the photo above at right that a group of stitches on the left snake around the needle. This leads to trouble, and once the knitting is twisted, it can't be untwisted.
Once you're sure your stitches are straight, it's time to join them to form a ring of knitting, which can be done in a couple of ways. The first method is to simply knit the first cast-on stitch with the working yarn, which is attached to the last cast-on stitch. Be sure to place a marker before you knit the first stitch to indicate the beginning of the round. Once you've knit the stitch, give the yarn a little tug to close the gap.
Another method of joining is to cast on one extra stitch. Slip this stitch to the left needle and then slip the next stitch on the left needle over this stitch and off the needle. Finally, slip the resulting stitch back to the right needle. Place a marker here and begin working in the round.
Once you get started, knitting in the round on circular needles is a breeze. If you need to place markers to keep track of pattern repeats, use a unique color of marker to mark the beginning/end of the round.
Knitting Stripes in the Round
Striped fabric knitted in the round presents a few problems but is nothing you can't deal with!
If you're knitting a striped ribbing, you can choose two looks. If you work the required number of rows in the first color and then start ribbing with the second color, you'll see what's referred to as "purl bumps" on the front of the work when the ribbing is stretched.
If you don't like the looks of these bumps, simply knit all stitches in the first row of the second color and begin your knit/purl ribbing on the second row. Doing this will place the purl bumps, created by the color change, inside the garment.
A word of caution here: If you're knitting a chemo cap, don't try to hide the bumps unless you're using a very fine or extremely soft yarn. The bumps will create a bit of a ridge on the inside of the hat, which will not be comfortable on very sensitive skin.
Another problem you may face with two-color stripes knitted in the round is the stair-stepping effect, which happens at the point where you change colors. There are two ways to lessen this effect.
For the first method, join the new color and knit one round. When you return to the beginning of the round, lift the right loop of the stitch below the first stitch on the needle and place it onto the left needle. Knit this loop together with the stitch. Continue knitting all stitches for the desired number of rounds.
|For the first stitch in the second round, lift the right loop below the stitch and place it on the needle ...||... then knit the loop together with the stitch.|
The second method involves slipping a stitch. Join the new color and knit one round. When you return to the beginning of the round, slip the first stitch and then knit to the end of the round. Continue knitting all stitches for the desired number of rounds. Whichever method you choose, the join will be almost invisible.