Friday, 7 March 2014

Knitting in the round - Converting a standard pattern.

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Autumn is finally here .. at long last ! and even though we still have a number of weeks of hot weather in front of us it still means that it's time to start thinking about winter knits.    I have some gorgeous pale blue mohair (I think it's mohair - the label is in Chinese so I can't be sure if it's a blend of some kind) that I would like to make into a vest for work.  Mohair is best in small doses and so I chose a small vest.

I love the look of a knitted singlet and didn't hesitate when I saw one by Jo Sharp a few years ago.  I made one for my daughter but she no longer has it so the time is right to make another.


Jo Sharp Knitted Singlet - Pattern PDF

It's small and will knit up quickly - especially as I am going to knit it in the round, rather than as 2 individual pieces which are then sewn together.  It is a great pattern to 'convert' to a garment knitted in the round.

First things first though.  Read the pattern through to determine the construction.   I am going to knit the small size as I want the vest to be quite tight fitting.  It would be a good idea to print off the PDF so you can compare the standard pattern to my 'knitting in the round' pattern.

The first step is straightforward.  I knit the front and the back at the same time.

Using size 5.00mm (USA 8) (or the size appropriate to the yarn you have chosen) - cast on 64 stitches (front), place a stitch marker, cast on a further 64 stitches (back), place a DIFFERENT COLOURED stitch marker and then join in the round being careful not twist the row.  The different coloured markers are important as they let you know whether you are working on the front or the back of your garment.  The markers are effectively your side seams and will determine where your increasing and decreasing will be.

Knit 8 rows in stocking stitch.  Knitting in the round means there are no purl rows you can just fly through the rows.  

Now comes the shaping.  
I always decrease 1 stitch before and 1 stitch after the stitch markers.  I find that it gives a very neat finish by having 2 neat stitches that sits between any increasing or decreasing. 

To decrease a row:  Knit 1 stitch, dec, knit to one stitch before the stitch marker, dec, knit 1, knit 1, dec, knit to 1 stitch before the marker, dec, Knit 1.

Using this method, decrease in the 9th row and then every 8th row 4 times.  
ie.  decrease in the 9th, 17th, 25th & 33rd row.

Increasing is exactly the same - one stitch in each side from the stitch markers.
Increase in the 43rd, 53rd, 63rd and 73rd row.
Continue until you have the desired length - pattern suggestion is 36 cm.

To shape the armholes.
Cast off 3 stitches,  knit to 3 stitches before the marker, cast off 3 stitches.  

At this point, we can't work circularly any more so we need to turn the work, and, for the first time with this project, knit on the wrong side.  
Cast off another 3 stitches, Purl to the end, cast off 3 stitches and turn the work again.  
Cast off 2 stitches at each end of this row 4 times.

Work 1 row without any shaping then dec 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 2 rows.

Place the first 4 stitches on a stitch holder or safety pin, cast off the stitches to the last 4 stitches, place these on a stitch holder as well.  These stitches are for the straps.  I like to incorporate the straps in the garment rather than sew them on later.

Repeat this process exactly for the back of the garment until you have only the 4 sets of 4 stitches. 

 Choose which side is the front and using the same sized DPN's pick up the first lot of 4 stitches and knit using the icord method (k4, do not turn, slide stitches to the right end of the needle and pull the yarn to tighten).  

Continue until the Icord is about 30cm long.  At this point, you can try the vest on to determine the exact length of the cord to ensure a snug fit.  I am very pedantic at this point - make sure that each strap has the same number of rows otherwise, the top will be a bit lop sided.  

Once you are happy with the straps. turn the garment inside out and join them to the remaining stitches on the back that are waiting using the 3 needle bind off method.  
This gives a very secure finish.

There you have it, one converted pattern and one mohair vest.

It is very straightforward  to use this method on larger, more advanced projects.  Just remember to read the pattern through from start to finish so there are no 'surprises' that crop up.  It can even be helpful to photocopy the pattern and then lay it out in front of you.

Below are two projects that I have knitted in the round using a standard pattern.

Nordic Sweater                                                                                     Aran Sweater

Happy Knitting,

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