Saturday, 29 October 2011

Round and Round in Circles

Now, as many of you know, me and knitting in the round are not friends. We are not even aquaintances. Frankly if I saw it out on the streets, I'd go back indoors. However, some of the lovely patterns I see are knit in the round, especially when it comes to toys. Many adore the idea of not sewing up, but not me. My patterns are always designed flat for that purpose.
Now I am getting much better at converting patterns, Ive decided to make a list of rules to follow when converting, so lots of other fellow flat knitters can create fabulous knits. Now my rules are pretty much for toys and smaller things like accessories, rather than seamless jumpers and socks so follow these rules and you should be fine!

1. Remember that when you knit in the round, in order to create stocking stitch you knit all the rows, and to create garter stitch you knit and purl. So when converting to flat knitting, if the end result is stocking stitch, convert every other row to purl. Normally the purl line is the one without the pattern or increase/decrease. If you want to garter stitch then convert the purl rows in the pattern to knit rows.

2. If you want to, add an extra stitch to the beginning or end of the work to allow for seaming. Personally I dont do that but that is up to you. This is something you will learn as you go.

3. You may need to change striping. This is because when you knit in the round, you can do just one row of colour and then start another. With knitting flat, this is more difficult, you will be changing colour all over the place, and adding ends everywhere. Instead, you can change the pattern to even number stripes or use two DPNS as follows:

Yes I did use that awful abbreviation DPN. It means double pointed needle for those who are ignoring their presence (i dont blame you- but stay with me) Use two, and if you want to do one colour stripes, knit in one colour, then slide the work to the other end of the needle and use the other colour. Trust me this works. Remember to knit on the knit sides and purl on the purl sides, even if that means you purl two rows. Dont worry it will work out!!

Here is a practise bit for you to try the technique- in colour A and colour B on 2 dpns, use whatever you got, this is only for practise and can be unraveled later!!
Cast on in colour A
Knit one row in colour B
Slide the work to the other end of the needle, Knit one row in colour A
Purl one row in colour A
Slide the work to the other end of the needle, purl one row in colour B

You should get the idea from this practise here. I owe all this ability on DPNs to Julie at The Byrds Nest, who taught me this technique when I knit the rabbit, the inside of his ears were done this way

4. Do not be afraid of I-Cord. There are plenty of tutorials for I Cord and it makes brilliant legs and antennae!! 2 DPNs are used to create a seamless cord. However if you cant do it on DPNs then there are also tutorials for doing it with your hands too!! Look it up on YouTube or Google, plenty of people are out there to help!!

The only way you are going to learn to convert from round to flat is to do it. Try something little, follow the pattern and sew it up. Here are a few patterns you can give a go, they dont take up much wool and you can give it a go and see. Hamster Beans is one, Pocket Rabbits is a pattern knit in the round and flat so you can see the difference and why not give this little halloween spider a go?

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