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!

43 thoughts on “Learning to knit in the round

  1. Thank you so much for documenting your knitting, lessons, mistakes, and frustrations. I’ve been knitting for about 12 years (started in high school\at age 16) so I feel comfortable with the needles and yarn, yet you’re reminding me in the best way possible that I have so much more to learn. Especially now, a year after finally receiving the helpful(?) diagnosis of fibromyalgia, when I’ve been in pain and so depressed that I started to lose interest in something that so joyful as knitting, your shared experiences help me remember and feel good things again. Thank you.

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    1. It’s so frustrating when your body won’t let you do the things you enjoy, as much as you would like. I can manage my symptoms now, to a point, and can tell when my body has had enough! I’m glad you have enjoyed the blog and hope you continue to find joy in your knitting.
      – Jane

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  2. I have enjoyed your documented journey into the land of knitting! Thanks for telling your story. I think it is going to be an inspiration to many new knitters! I assure you that you will never regret your purchase of the circular needles! It’s a whole new world out there baby! They are especially useful for larger projects and in general make everything easier, even the fibromyalgia symptoms. Sorry to hear about that. I have been dealing with it since I was 35, it’s been 20 years but I am doing better than ever (without medication except for an anti-inflammatory) after changing my diet to eat all natural whole foods and cutting out all grains and sugar. It seemed really drastic at first but I wouldn’t go back for anything. I know everybody’s body responds differently, but I couldn’t help sharing. A few years ago I was having problems with carpal tunnel and pain in my hands. It really got in the way of my knitting until I learned how to knit Portugese style. Just a tip for the future in case it helps. Good luck and prayers for you on your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The circulars have definitely made a positive difference to my knitting posture. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth, good to hear that a change in diet has worked for you.
      – Jane

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  3. You’re doing fabulously, and have bought my favorite interchangeable needles–Chiagoo! You won’t be sorry. And I’m jealous that your LYS is Weftblown–really loved their booth at EYF.

    Best of health to Kate, and cheers to Tom. Looking forward to seeing your next project!

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  4. Your progress in knitting is turning out to be the best advert for that book ever. I love how neat your stitches are. I can’t wait to see what your next shiny FO will be. I am slowly finishing up my first sweater and know the fun a new FO can give.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great work and wonderful even sts! I am enjoying your journey and seeing you develop your skills/art! Wonderful crown shaping and a nice color combo for this great hat. I would encourage all of us who follow to tell our beginning knitting friends to join in with Jane as she learns. This is a great resource. A suggestion would be a KAL on Kate’s forum on Ravelry. Experience knitters could join but we could get our beginning knitting friends to join up!

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  6. Such beautiful even knitting! Last year I taught a group of primary school aged, then a group of adolescent refugee kids, to knit and their price in their work was wondrous. I look forward to yourself project!
    Denise

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  7. Your tension is beautiful – and so smart to have bought the interchangeables. I have a couple of sets of interchangeables and, while they don’t replace the fixed circulars I also have in every size, in multiple materials, they have a great place in my knitting kit. A crafter needs good tools. You won’t regret the investment and I only wish I’d taken the plunge sooner.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jane, you’re obviously a natural – your hat is so pretty, the lines of decreasing are so neat! (I wouldn’t be able to stop admiring them if they were mine….)

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    1. You are adorable. Your writing is irresistible. Your knitting is already so accomplished. The photo of you watching your hat block made my whole body smile. Thanks for sharing your journey. Thanks to Kate for sharing you. Please send her our love and keep some for yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You learned a most important thing, though you seemed to not want to do it anymore – dropping down to repair a mistake. Sometimes it has to be done, and now you know how it is no big deal. Also, if you can get the right sized cable for the work, that really is better overall than magic loop, faster to work and less chance of ladders. But if you haven’t got one that works, magic loop is a lifesaver. I also have been known to use 2 circulars in a shorter length in place of dpns if need be. Necessity is the mother of invention for sure!

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  10. That is a lovely hat, great colour choice too. Well done!

    A Tip – when you’re joining the beginning of a cast on to the end to form a round, pull the first stitch over the last stitch, then through again and back onto the ‘other’ needle. Clear? (As mud!)
    This forms a neat and durable join from the beginning with no weak point to wear thin later or forming a ‘ladder’ until further rounds tighten the join.
    There are probably ‘How To . . .’ videos on YouTube.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Beautiful knitting – and I love the two colour pompom. I remember flipping my knitting inside out like that, the first time I tried magic loop. It can be quite handy if you’re knitting a smaller circumference in stranded colourwork. If it’s inside out, then the strands go round the outside so you can’t pull them in too tight. (Not that I ever seem to do it that way, but it’s supposed to work.)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That is a really cute hat! The pompom makes it! You are coming right along and your stitches are looking nice and even. The nice thing about knitting is there is always something to learn! I’ve been knitting for 53 years and recently learned two new things. The first I will share with you. It is a very useful, easy and stretchy cast on for hats, socks and mittens. The best part for me is that you are casting on two stitches at once.

    Happy Knitting!

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  13. nice work on the hat. Circular knitting, magic loop, decreases, fixing a mistake – you learned much! What’s next – mittens, cables? Keep going. You are doing very well!

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  14. Wow-you’re doing so well at picking up new things,you are going to be a serious knitter,no doubt about it! Congratulations on your beautiful hat,it looks great.😊

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  15. I super love knitting in the round, and your post is a great example of how wonderful it is to use when creating projects.

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  16. Congratulations! You have taken to knitting like the veritable duck to water. The Dan hat is an amazing first circular knit, and it fits so well. You’ve obviously had an excellent teacher. What’s next?

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  17. You are just an inspiration! It took me any number of frustrating tries to realise that I needed a long needle for magic loop- most counter intuitive! The result looks fab

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You will never ever regret this decision! The set may seem expensive now but will save you so much in time and money in the future. Also, I really recommend getting up to speed on steeking. The first book I purchased 40 years ago was Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman. She entirely believed in knitting in the round and this book will teach you the basics and how to create several different types of sweaters knit in the round. Her comments about steeking are humorous and I still laugh about them.

    Liked by 1 person

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