Alrighty Team Guildenstern! How did we do with Week 1? Did you have fun swatching in the round a la speed swatching? It’s my favorite wizarding moment to share with knitters. When I learned it from the inestimable Mary Jane Mucklestone my mind was completely blown! I hope you loved adding it to your little back of techniques!
Joining to work in the round
It’s one thing to cast-on a bunch of stitches and join to work in the round, say, like when making a hat. But I always find it a bit of a mental conundrum when I’m joining to work in the round after I’ve worked two pieces flat. I mean… they’re flat. There are tails everywhere. What the heck, man?
So, I’ve broken down each step and thankfully, because we’re using a new color to join in the round, it’s kind of color coded. Let’s get to it!
Step 1: Starting with the RS of the FRONT hem facing, and using your LARGER needle, join Color B and knit across the row.
Step 2: When you get to the end of the Front hem, place a marker. Pick up the Back hem and with the RS facing you, continue to knit across the Back hem using Color B.
Step 3: When you reach the end of the Back hem, place a beginning of round (BOR) marker. I recommend that this marker be distinct from the marker you placed in Step 2. If they’re adorable hippo and dino markers, so much the better!
And that’s it! You’re officially joined to work in the round.
This garment was originally designed to be worked flat, and I know exactly why! When working stripes in the round, because knitting is stacked like a coil or spring, our stitches tend to “jog” at the end of each round. Here’s an example of my mum, a newbie knitter, working on a simple striped cowl. It’s pretty obvious, right? She hasn't done anything wrong - it's the nature of knitting stripes in the round. I'll have to teach her about jogless stripes...
A number of years ago I wrote a blog post about how simple jogless stripe modifications can be. In this garment, because we’re working in 2-row stripes, its even simpler.
Rnd 1: Knit.
Rnd 2: Slip 1 st purlwise with yarn in back, knit to 1 st before next marker, sl 1 st purlwise with yarn in back, slip marker, knit to end of round.
The first stitch that we slip on Rnd 2 will create a minor distortion by stretching that stitch vertically so that its the height of two rows. That puts enough tension on the fabric to pull up any “jog” between the beginning of Rnd 2 and the end of Rnd 2 so that the color change looks seamless.
So! Using the colors as per the pattern and continuing to work each color in 2-row stripes, work as per Rnd 1 and Rnd 2 above to continue the jogless stripe effect all the way up the sides of the project.
You might have noticed we work a second slipped stitch on the round? Yep. We’re going to do this for 2 reasons:
- The slipped stitches stacked on top of each other at the beginning of the round create a minor shortening of that column of stitches. We want to mimic that shortening on the other side of the garment so one side of the shirt isn’t longer than the other.
- Visually, that column of slipped stitches also creates a faux-seam. Since I like symmetry in my garments it’s a great little detail to add the faux-seam to both sides of the shirt.
Carrying Colors Up!
The other beauty of working this garment in the round rather than flat, is our ability to carry our two colors of yarn up the inside of the project. Of course, you can always carry colors up the edge of a flat piece of knit fabric, too, but I happen to think it’s just easier and faster when worked in the round.
To do this, at each color change, simply bring the new color loosely up the inside and behind the new color. Behind? Maybe “to the right” makes more sense? Essentially you want to make sure you’re always twisting the yarn the same way. And when you knit the first stitch of the next round it “traps” the old color and locks it in place for the next color change.
TIP! Be sure you carry the colors loosely enough that the fabric will still lay flat and doesn’t pucker or curl.
This week your goal will be to join your work in the round and complete the Stripe Section 1. Next week we’re going to get a bit fancy and talk about sleeve depth and working in the round AND flat. Have a great week of knitting!
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Heather and Meaghan are here to answer any questions you might have about these projects and how a knit-along works. We hope you'll join us on this summertime knitting adventure!
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