Friday 31 July 2015

Thoughts on Knitting in the Round

Knitting in the Round

When you get comfortable with doing something, it is often the case that you stay with the way you know how to do it. That's certainly the case when it comes to knitting - I've discovered what I like knitting (hats!), and the way I like to do it (knitting row by row in the conventional manner). However, lately I've discovered so many knitting patterns that I want to try that are knitted in the round, that I decided I would have to give it a practise run. So, here's a few thoughts I'm having about knitting in the round...

- It's far more compact. I think perhaps this is the case because all of the stitches are always on the one circular needle, as opposed to two standard needles, one of which always manages to get lost in the depths of my handbag. Circular needles have made my knit-everywhere dreams a reality.

- Stitch markers are both a blessing and a curse. They're great in marking where the beginning of the knitted round is, or when used instead of counting stitches for a pattern (so useful that I might even implement them in my normal, two needle knitting). However, the ones I am using tend to catch on my knitting, and even come off (especially when I'm carrying my knitting in my handbag). This could probably be remedied by the use of some better ones.

- Finding shorter circular needles for larger sizes (4mm upwards) is really hard. When you're knitting hats or smaller items, you need circular needles a lot shorter than 80cm, and for some reason they are super hard to come by. I know you can use longer circular needles for smaller projects by using the magic loop technique, but I find that a little fiddly. Maybe I'll become more practised in this technique, but my past experience is that knitting on circular needles without this is a lot more enjoyable, for me anyway.

- I love the fact I don't have to sew up my project at the end. I love sewing with fabrics, but for some reason I find sewing up knitting a bit tedious.

- Whilst knitting across two needles means that I get a seam up the back of my hat, knitting in the round (particularly when knitting a repeated pattern) gives a slight jump in pattern where each round ends. I know that when I'm crocheting in the round that there are means of preventing this, so I need to research whether the same is possible in knitting.

- For some reason, knitting in the round makes intarsia a bit more simple, and my yarn doesn't seem to have gotten as knotted as usual - although this might be because in this instance I've only used two colours.

- The fact that I can't clearly tell the size of my knitting bothers me a little. When casting on with two needles, it's easy to stretch my knitting to see the finished size, but knitting in the round, particularly on a really short circular needle, makes determining the size of your finished knitting as nigh on impossible. It's a case of crossing my fingers and hoping it will fit in the end!

- I have no idea if I need to switch from circular needles to a set of double-pointed needles in order to decrease into the dome of a hat. In fact, I have no idea how decreasing in the round in general is going to work, but it's something I'm going to figure out as I go along!

Knitting in the Round

All in all, I'm enjoying trying out a new way of knitting my beloved hats, and I'm excited about the possibilities that circular needles can offer. After finishing this practise project, I can't wait to have a go at a pattern - specifically Donna Smith's Baa-ble Hat, which is just too adorable.

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