Knitting in the round

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I have ambitions of making a Fair Isle jumper in time for Christmas this year. I fully intend to do this properly so no sewing up the seams for me – I’ll be working in the round, as the traditional Fair Isle knitters of old did. After doing a bit of reading and watching some YouTube videos, I decided that knitting in the round didn’t look that hard and reached for my 4mm double-pointed needles with great excitement.

This feeling lasted all of about a minute. After casting on my stitches and getting them onto my three needles, I had no idea what to do next. The YouTube videos made it all look so simple. What a blatant lie. I couldn’t figure out why my cast-on thread and my main thread were at opposite ends of the needle, or how to move my needles around the triangle.

Grrrr. Eventually – around eight hours in – I had a bit of success and ended up with a tiny green woolly ring that fit around my finger. Then I cast off wrong and had to start again. After a lot of sweating and swearing, this is what I ended up with and – even though it isn’t actually anything – it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever made, given the amount of effort I put in:

Here are the videos that I found most useful, if you’re struggling with knitting in the round as well:

Knitting in the round with Knitting Help.com

Knitting with Wonder How To

I also sought advice from Miranda Bangay, a payroll adviser by day and expert knit-in-the-rounder by night. Here are some of the tips she gave me to help in my endeavours:

“Using bamboo needles instead of metal is a big help, as they have a bit more traction and are less likely to let stitches slip off while you’re knitting on other needles. Also if you’re doing socks I would use shorter needles as the extra length gets in the way for me.

On eBay there is a company in Hong Kong where you can get a full set of bamboo dp needles for about £6. It’s where I get mine and they are perfectly decent needles and only take about a week to arrive. My final tip is a bit of a pain but for me it’s totally essential – when changing needles I slip the last three stitches I have just knitted onto the new right hand needle before I start knitting on the next one. It stops me getting a ladder where I change needles and it might also help with stitch-dropping problems. It makes it slightly harder work (and can be confusing where some patterns are based on which needle the stitches are on) but once you get into a rhythm with it it’s OK!

Finally, if you can’t figure out double-point needles try the circular needle, magic loop method. I could never get it to work for me but some people swear by it.”

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