Techniques in Depth: Joining in the Round

December 3, 2018

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36 Comments
  • My cheat for joining in the round: when I need to cast on a large number of stitches on a circular needle (for a cowl, for example), on the first round I simply turn and work back across the stitches and then join to work in the round on the second row. The first round after cast-on is often fiddly to work and this way you don’t have to worry about your join on top of dealing with working your just-cast-on stitches. You are going to have to weave in the tail of yarn at some point and it is not any harder to also join the beginning and end stitch on this first row at the same time you are doing that. Bonus: it is much easier to see a twist in your cast-on stitches after working a row.

    I have recently taught two new knitters and have had both of them do this when learning to work in the round, and they both agreed that this made working in the round far simpler!

    • So clever!

    • that is brilliant! You’ve changed my circular knitting forever!

    • Absolutely! This has been my approach from day one of circular knitting.

    • Yes, I have been doing that, it works great, and Wendy…I probably learned it from you!

    • After my 30+ years of knitting in the round and enduring the pain of twisted joins, you are brilliant ! An old “broad” can learn new tricks too ❤️

  • What a great tutorial! Wish I would have known this years ago. It’s always on the projects with a large number of stitches that I end up with a twist. In the past, I’ve always just ripped it out and started over. Thank you, so wonderful to know that there is an easier way!

    • Yes! That seven-second video kind of changes everything.

  • Kate comes through again! I promised my little 5 year old neighbor a pair of mittens and wanted to knit them in the round. I’m still trying to master DPNs, so her tutorial is timely! Thank you, thank you!

  • Good to have all these hints in one spot, thankyou. These are some of the trickiest things to teach new knitters.

  • We lefties that are newer to knitting have to mark opposite for our dominant hand. I wish all patterns took that into our instructions. This is a great post. I still can’t handle the dpns yet. Its fumbly and foreign. How do you keep it all from dropping stitches?

    • While your hands are getting used to DPNs, you could use some of those little rubber thingies to put on the opposite ends of your needles so your stitches won’t slide off the back ends. It’s a bit of a hassle, because you have to keep moving them, but this could be a short-term help.

  • So clear and helpful. Thanks, Kate!

  • OMG! Where have you been all my knitting life

  • What a clear and concise discussion of working in the round!
    One of my preferred methods of working in the round is to use two circulars – and the stitch marker always falls off the “beginning of round” needle also. . . I’m too lazy to pay attention to the tail, so put a blues marker one stitch in from the first stitch of the round. (I always use Blue markers for Beginning of the row/round).
    Thanks for the articlel

  • This is a keeper!

  • “Being Careful Not To Twist” section – my mind has been BLOWN.

  • I’ve been known to untwist the join after more than one round. (It was very fine yarn and the round had lots of stitches.) After weaving in the end, you couldn’t tell what I’d done. Not sure I’d recommend doing this frequently, but it worked for me.

  • It’s not the end of world if you twist your work and don’t notice for an inch or two. This happened to me with a fair isle project once and I just cut it and reattached. I didn’t have steak stitches either!

    • Yes! Same here except it was a stranded cardigan so had a steek. I just cut the steek and re-joined. With a good toothy wool none of my stitches unraveled at all, nothing scary happened. But I’m very glad to have this alternate way to fix it too.

  • Love it, especially the “nah” commentary! This was very helpful to me as I stress out about this, especially on DPNs as I usually avoid them whenever possible. This relieves my anxiety around this, though I should’ve realized this as I’ve fixed twists that I’ve gotten despite all the careful laying-out-on-a-table, inspecting-every-stitch, joining and praying I got it right. What I was missing was the idea just not to worry and almost plan on fixing it! Thank you!!

  • Thank you so very much! I can almost always count on a twist when I cast on in the round. This is really helpful and I’ve saved it to my MDK files. The videos were really beneficial too.

  • I have been knitting for a decade, and do lots of projects in the round. I stick to the magic loop – DPNs seem to require a *lack of clumsiness* that I don’t possess. I’ve learned a few tricks in my time (number of stitches on each side doesn’t matter, splitting the stitches up where it makes sense for the pattern, just straight knitting that first row rather than jumping in to any ribbing pattern) – but… the fix on a twist is game-changing for me! Despite my years of knitting, I recently cast on 2 different cowls, both requiring between 200-300 stitches. I twisted them both, didn’t realize until I was into the 2nd or 3rd row, and ripped it apart in frustration. My anxiety over starting my next cowl has now been alleviated – thank you!!

  • thank you! nice and easy, no stress.

  • JHC. I just did this TWICE over Thanksgiving—- first time in years and awoggles…… I blamed the laughter around game night and my knitting cast on timing. And I fretted, and fussed, and called myself names. Now, I see that was kinda a time waster! 😉 Thanks for this. I feel better knowing that should the miscabobbulating happen again, I won’t even raise my blood pressure the tiniest!!!!

  • I love my DPNs and rarely have issues with laddering. For those rare occasions that I have had laddering, I have to wonder if it was because I was starting the needle with a purl stitch???

    Also, occasionally I do need a marker at the beginning of the round on DPNs (like, for a fancy pattern a ways away from the cast-on edge), so I will move all the stitches about a half needle over, so the beginning of the round is in the middle of a needle, allowing me to place a stitch marker there.

    • I always keep the start in the middle of the row when working on DPNs. It just seemed to make sense to me.

  • Thanks for a very informative article. I especially like the cleve way to fix the twisted cast-on.

  • I always cast on an extra stitch and knit this extra stitch together with the first stitch – I‘ve joined the round and there‘s no gap to hide! But you have to look out for twists (I don’t care about that – find that easy).

  • Bless you!

  • Simply wonderful, easy reading,clear instructions. Thank you.

  • Thanks for another great and useful article. Would like to add one of my tips for avoiding the ladder thing when working with DPN (I work in the round as much as I can) : I knit the first stitch of the first row onto the 3rd (4th) needle then begin the 4th (5th) needle knitting the rest of the stitches on needle one then knit one or two stitches off needle two and so on. The breaks between needles never stays in the same location.

    I have successfully used this technique hundreds of times.

    Hopefully this will help someone else over their fear of Knitting in the Round. I would rather Knit in the Round than seam a finished garment.!!!

  • Thanks for the clear, concise help!

  • I’ve found it doesn’t matter, in the least, how many stitches are on a particular DPN. In fact I keep changing stitch position and stitch on each DPN. After my very first sock had laddering I made this correction and haven’t seen a ladder since .

  • The untwist is #lifechanging

  • I can’t recall where I learned this, but one tip for joining that makes the gap go away… slip the right hand (working yarn) loop onto the left needle, then lift the loop from the left hand needle over and onto the right needle. Essentially you’re just trading places with the two end loops. Knit away like usual and there is no visible (to the naked eye) join!
    I should probably knock wood like Woody Woodpecker here… I’ve never twisted my stitches. But now I’m not worried about it… I’ll just use this handy trick! Thanks!