Thursday, March 1, 2012

Going around and around and around........... And around and around.........

So you've mastered the art of the stockinette stitch. (knit one row, pearl the next and repeat forever...). And you've heard of knitting in the round.  What in the world does that mean?

Well, knitting in the round is only the most fantastic way to creat a tube.  You might be asking yourself, why in the world would I want to knit a tube?  Have you ever wanted to make a pair of socks? Or mittens, hat, or sweater?

Knitting in the round is the answer, my friend!  You are going to need to buy a special kind of knitting needles for this.  There are 2 to choose from.  It is going to depend on your pattern which you will need and you may need to have both in order to finish the project.  I will explain more later.

The first style is the Double Pointed Needles.  They are exactly that.  Double pointed needles.  They are usually about 6" long and made of either bamboo, wood or metal.  Which material is a personal preference.  These are generally referenced as dpns.  

* note - bamboo and wood are "stickier" than metal.  This can be a good thing to make sure that you aren't losing stitches.  If you find you are knitting too slowly and think it is because of your needle material switch to metal and see if you like that better.  All needles will have this material option and you will find your preference!

Back to needles.....

Circular Needles are 2 needles that are connected together.  You basically have 1 long needle on a cord with 2 ends.  

Most sweaters and large projects are going to be done on circular needles and small projects, socks, mittens and such are going to be done on dpns.  

Now if you are making a hat that need to come to a close at the top you are not going to be able to use the circular needles all the way until the end.  You will have to switch to dpns once the circle gets small enough.  Don't worry you will understand once you get to that point.  The circular needles are hard to use when there aren't enough stitches on them.  

When using the dpns it is going to seem intimidating simply because you have 4 or 5 needles to keep track of at any given moment.  Here's the trick:  only worry about the needle you are knitting with and the one currently holding the stitches your are knitting.  Let the rest of them just hang there.  They aren't going any where and you will drive yourself crazy trying to keep track of them all.  

Here is why I love knitting in the round.....  It is lightening fast!  You simply knit every round, there is no pearling when you would normally pearl!  You can just fly through it.  

Here are the "down sides"...

You are going to have to use a stitch marker to keep track of the beginning of your rows/rounds.  

 The hardest part is connecting the first round.  So, you've got all your stitches casted on.  Now how do you connect it?  First and foremost you have to make sure that you don't twist your stitches.  Once they are all lined up you simply keep knitting.  You aren't going to flip your knitting around so you go back the way you came, like normal.  You simply keep going.  I'm not finding the right words to explain it but once you are in there and doing it you will understand.  Once you get a row or two done you will be able to tell if you are connected or not.  If not, go back and try again.  You will get it and love it!

I suggest making a pair of leg warmers or a hat to start.  They are fairly easy and quick.  And as we've said before always pick a project that is easy to finish quickly so you feel like you've accomplished something amazing!

Here are a few projects that will be easy to finish without a lot of hassle!

Leg warmers for children.
These are a super easy project to start knitting in the round with dpns.  There are no increases or decreases to worry about!

This has circular needles to start and the switches to dpns as it gets smaller and you reduce needles sizes as you go as well.  There is also a video tutorial with this one.

So, go..... Fall in love with knitting in the round!!!!

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