The biggest part of my recent frustration has been trying to adapt different stitches that are generally worked flat to being knit in the round. Now, I'm no stranger as you know to working flat on straight needles and love to work this way as much, if not more, than in the round. Yet a couple of my current designs require working in the round so that's the flow I'm going with.

And then I thought - what we need is a stitch dictionary all about knitting stitches in the round! Wouldn't that be great? It would save us all the trouble of converting and working out what's possible, and it would have saved me many a headache lately.

The stitches that I want to work with are textural and sturdy, and the sort of stitch patterns where the texture is created on the wrong side rows, or on the purl rows in flat knitting. That causes problems when you try to convert to knitting in the round - it means that generally you have to work the piece inside out (not a major issue - have done it plenty of times before) but it also means that most of the knitting will infact be purling (which is an issue - folk aren't keen on purling and there's nothing gonna make them run faster from a pattern than excessive purling)

Example - here's a photo of my swatch for 'Star Stitch' (no doubt known by other names but that's what the old Harmony Guides call it):-

As I said, working it the way the stitch dictionaries say isn't a problem - the design would be knitted (or rather, purled) inside out, so all the shapings would be reversed (something to bear in mind when designing) and it all gets turned inside out at the end to reveal a lovely little Hat.

The Star Stitch is created (as the stitchionaries say) like this:-

1st row (WS):- *P1, make star; repeat from * to end etc
2nd row (RS):- Knit all stitches
3rd row:- P3, *make star, P1; repeat from * to end etc
4th row:- knit all stitches

where 'make star' = p3tog and leave sts on needle, yrn, purl same 3 sts together again.

To work this one in the round, the 2nd (RS) row would also have to be purled... see the problem?

All that purling is a serious problem. And although I have no issue with designing a Hat inside out, methinks folk like to see their knitting (or purling) grow before them, and that's not so easy when you're working the other way round.

So I thought I'd try to reverse the pattern. I have this stitch in my BW's too, and am sure she also suggests that the wrong side rows are the ones that create the pattern. If this is the case, that the stitch bibles say it works on purl rows only, what would happen if I reversed it and created the stitch texture on the right side rows? It would be lovely, ney, fantastic if it worked because it could be knit in the round, right side out with only knit stitches.... but would it all go horribly wrong?

And here's the result. Now tell me honestly, can you tell the difference between this photo and the one above?

I tell you, it's not the same stitch. It looks the same. Identical even. But it's different, honest. And these are 2 different photos.

Now, the instructions for the 2nd photo go like this...

1st row (RS):- *K1, make star; repeat from * to end etc etc
2nd row (WS):- Purl
3rd row:- K3, *make star, K1; repeat from * to end etc etc
4th row:- purl

where 'make star' in this case = k3tog and leave sts on needle, yrn (but wrap it the opposite way to before), knit same 3 sts together again.

and for the purposes of working in the round, the 2nd (WS) row would have to be knit...

Now, isn't the 2nd way so, so much kinder? So why oh why do the stitch dictionaries insist on purling for this pattern, when it can just as happily be knit?

Out of interest, I did design a fab Hat using this stitch sideways for GS, but had to ditch it because the graft was awful. Horrible. And even if I tried to give it an easy graft, removing the prov cast-on was even more horrible... so it was dumped. As a sideways design at least ;)

And with all this, I've broken the back of another design and I'm off to knit :)

AuthorWoolly Wormhead