Learning to knit in the round

My circular needles have arrived! 

PomPom’s Knit How book gives an introduction to knitting in the round, explaining that this technique is effectively making a spiral to form a tube of knitting, rather than seaming flat pieces of fabric together.

After doing a bit of research online, and talking to Mel, I settled on making an investment in a set of interchangeable needles. Over the first month of learning to knit I’ve already bought four pairs of straight needles and, even then, felt like I could be doing with more. 

Now, spending up to £150 on needles at this early stage in my knitting career felt a bit extravagant.  However, after a lot of careful consideration I felt it would be worthwhile.

In the interests of buying well and supporting small businesses, I purchased a complete set of Chiaogoo Twist Interchangeable Needles from my good friend and fellow maker, Ange Sewell. Ange and I used to have neighbouring craft studios in West Kilbride. As well as weaving, Ange and her husband Rob stock a huge range of fibre related goods in their store, Weftblown.

Chiaogoo Twist Interchangeable Knitting Needles Stainless Steel

I love my new needles. Knitting is now even more enjoyable! 

In last weeks swatching blog, many of you reminded me that I should swatch in the round, even if I was using the same yarn and needle size. So thank you all for taking the time to write to me. Here are my latest swatches.

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Now time for the next project: The DAN hat.

I used the long tail cast-on. The first few rounds were a bit weird, some of the cast-on stitches maybe weren’t as good as they should have been. The join is really loose. 

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The join closed up tight as I moved further up the fabric. Then I found I had knit a stitch that should have been a purl, but managed to drop down to the mistake and correct it with the crochet hook. This innate desire to ensure everything is perfectly neat might be getting in the way of actually getting this hat done. So I have made the choice to just accept that there will be some imperfections and, unless I spot them straight away, they can stay as a reminder of my learning.  

The circulars feel great, and more comfortable on my hands and arms. I have fibromyalgia which causes some pain in my back, neck, arms and shoulders. I think using circular needles might help avoid undue stress on my body. I also love how using circular needles makes the project feel much more portable.

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For the body of the hat I need to switch up to a larger needle size. At this point I also changed from pink (Hedder) to silver/grey (Haar) yarn. My first colour change, exciting!

At one point I discovered I was knitting my hat inside out. This was a confusing moment, more so than you might imagine, and I couldn’t quite get my head around how this had occurred or what I was doing wrong.  A quick search online reassured me that I wasn’t the only person to have done this, and I discovered how to (very simply) flip the work back the right way round and get my needles back to the correct position. 

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As I approach the crown shaping section of the pattern, which is the most complex thing I’ve yet done, I decide to photocopy the instructions so that I can write on the page and mark off each part as I do it. This worked really well. I also spent a bit of time watching tutorials before I delved into the shaping, trying to work out in my head what each of the actions are and what they achieve. I can see the decrease pattern forming with the right and left leaning stitches created with ssk and k2tog.

Having started on a shorter cable, I had to replace it with a larger one to begin the magic loop. I could write a whole blog post on the confusion, drama, research and subsequent thoughts that accompanied this dilemma, but in the end I wished I had knit the whole piece in magic loop. Because. It. Is. Magic!

It’s not long before I’m left with just a few stitches, which I bring together with my tapestry needle, and it’s done.

F.O. number three!

The top of crown looks a wee bit pointy. I’m hoping that will be corrected with blocking.

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Here I am, snapped waiting very patiently for my hat to block!

My favourite part of this project has to be the crown shaping. The pattern and form created by the decreases are so pleasing. 

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To finish, for the first time since I was at school, I made a pompom.  

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I’m pretty proud of my finished hat, imperfections and all. It’s a great introduction to knitting in the round. 

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And how pretty is this colourway of Buachaille yarn?

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For this project I used the learn to knit book – Knit How, with one skein of each colour of Buachaille 2-ply, worsted spun, wool yarn in shades Hedder and Haar – all available from the KDD & Co Shop.

Finally, I wanted to thank you all for sharing the many names for moss / seed stitch in different languages in the comments on my last post. It made for some fascinating reading – I particularly loved the name for the stitch in Flanders – “rijstpapstee” – or rice pudding. Thanks again, and I hope you’ll all join me next week to find out about the gorgeous new thing that recently arrived in the KDD & Co warehouse!