Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Owls knitalong - knitting in the round with circular needles

Hello all! I'm so excited to say that the owls jumper KAL is underway! It's being led by Kat and myself and we have four other lovely ladies joining us. If you are not in the least interested in knitting then switch off now!

The pattern is owls by Kate Davies:

Beautiful isn't she?

I have to confess I'm a bit late with this post - I'm already a little bit behind everyone else as  I had to wait for my yarn to arrive so I'm not sure my contribution is even needed! But I thought some links would be useful.

I spent a large part of Sunday gone making gauge/tension swatches and trying to work out what size jumper to knit. The recommended gauge is 13 st x 20 rows over a 4" square. Now the recommended yarn is a bulky one and I've gone for Cascade Eco+ which claims it's bulky but actually I think it's more a heavy worsted/Aran (ie thinner). My gauge using 6mm needles was 15.5 st over 4" (working out to 3.875 st per inch). If I had got the correct gauge, I would have knitted the size 2 jumper as written in the pattern, but alas it always seems more complicated than that! Using Gail's amazing Miette KAL posts I did some maths to work out how many stitches my gauge would give me for my desired bust measurement and compared it to the owls pattern. To do this I took my desired bust size (32" when taking into account the 1-2" negative ease) and multiplied that by the number of st per inch that I got from my gauge. I came up with 124 which is only 2 st away from the 126 st mentioned for the size 4 jumper. Therefore if I knit the size 4, it should give me a finished result of a size 2 jumper....

The colour is cinnamon, a lovely rust
colour in real life, not as bright orange
as it appears here

Everyone with me so far? Let's just hope I've worked it out correctly!

Anyway, back to my take on knitting in the round. It's actually very simple once you get the hang of it. I've used the long tail cast on method, just because I find it neater than the knitted on method. Here's a link to how to do it:

Once you have cast on, make sure all the stitches are even distributed around the needle and not twisted. The loops should be on the outside edge of the needle and the cast on edge should be in the middle, like you see in my photo:

Sorry, it's a little more blurred than I thought...

One thing to mention is that circular needles come in a whole variety of lengths (as well as the standard needle sizes) and ideally you need to pick one that is shorter than the circumference you want to end up with. This is because otherwise the stitches won't be evenly distributed along the needle and the whole thing will end up stretching and becoming misshapen.

To join in the round, you pick up your needles so that the needle with the tails of the yarn is in your right hand, put a place marker at the end of the needle then pick up and knit the first stitch on the left hand needle. For the first couple of stitches I used both tails of the yarn to knit with and then dropped one to carry on knitting with the working yarn (which is the yarn attached to the ball). I knit in the English method but if you work continental, you may use the opposite hands for all of this!

I've added links to a couple of videos which should show things more clearly than my garbled explanation and also some still photos if you prefer that to videos.

Once you've joined the two ends, it's as simple as knitting round and round and round and round.... you get the picture! If you want to do stocking stitch, you just knit all the time, there's no purling at all which makes it so much easier. Every time you come to your place marker (PM), you can think of that as the end/beginning of a row (although in reality, you are knitting a spiral and instead of calling it a "row", you call it a "round"). The best bit about it is that you end up with a seamless tube that you don't have to sew/seam together. Simples!

So, that's my mini guide to knitting on circular needles - written as a relative beginner so forgive any glaring mistakes please!

Right, let's get knitting!


  1. English Girl at Home26 March 2014 at 21:19

    Thanks Sabs! I'm working on my jumper right now - with my feet up in front of the TV:)

  2. Heya, I've tagged you for a Liebster Award http://thegirlwhomakesthings.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/lets-hear-it-for-liebsters.html :)


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