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Preventing jogs in patterns worked in rounds.

One of the biggest issues that arises when working in rounds is the visible jogs that form between the end of one round and the beginning of the next. These jogs appear because a tube of knitting actually progresses in a continuous spiral instead of truly concentric circles. To prevent a jog, you need to make the first stitch of a round appear to be at the same level as the last stitch of the previous round.

Jogs can appear in lace, cable, and texture patterns, but they are most visible in colored stripes (see Figure 1), which is what we have used for examples here.

Slip the First Stitch

This method of minimizing jogs comes from TechKnitter at TechKnitting .com. Simply knit the first round of the new color as usual, then slip the first stitch of the next round to bring the first stitch of the color change in line with the last stitch of the round. Continue knitting the stripe for the desired number of rounds, then repeat the process for each new color change.

If you use this technique for narrow two-row stripes, the slipped stitches cause one-stitch stripes that stack at the color changes, as shown in Figure 2. To prevent this from happening, shift the beginning of the round one stitch to the left with every color change as follows (see Figure 3):

ROUND 1: With the new color, knit to the end of the round and remove the marker at the end of the round.

ROUND 2: Slip one stitch purlwise, return the marker to the needle after this slipped stitch (effectively moving the beginning of the round one stitch to the left), then knit to the end of the round.

Knit the desired number of rounds with this color, then repeat from Round 1 at each color change.

If you need to keep track of where the rounds originally began, leave the beginning-of-round marker in its original place and use a separate color-change marker (preferably of a unique color) to mark the one-stitch shifts as follows:

SET-UP ROUND: As you knit the round before the color-change round, place the color-change marker at any point in the round.

ROUND 1: Knit with the old color to the color-change marker, slip the marker, join the new color, and work to the end-of-round marker with the new color.

ROUND 2: With the new color, work to the color-change marker, temporarily remove the color-change marker, slip one stitch, return the color-change marker to the right needle (one stitch to the left of where it had been), then knit to the end of the round.

Knit the desired number of rounds with this color, then repeat this sequence from the set-up round for every subsequent color change.

If desired, you can place the color-change marker at a different place on every set-up round so that the slipped stitches will be scattered throughout the circumference.

Knit the First Stitch Together with the Stitch Below

This simple technique was first introduced by Meg Swansen in Handknitting with Meg Swansen (Schoolhouse Press, 1995). It is similar to the method of slipping the first stitch, but instead of slipping the first stitch after the color-change marker, this stitch is worked together with the stitch in the round directly below it (Figure 4) as follows:

SET-UP ROUND: As you knit the round before the color-change round, place the color-change marker at any point in the round.

ROUND 1: Knit with the old color to the color-change marker, slip the marker, join the new color, and work to the end-of-round marker with the new color.

ROUND 2: With the new color, work to the color-change marker, temporarily remove the color-change marker, use the right needle to pick up the stitch below the first stitch on the left needle and place this lifted stitch onto the left-needle tip, knit the first two stitches together (the first stitch on the left needle together with the lifted stitch from the round below), return the color-change marker to the needle (effectively moving it one stitch to the left), then knit to the end of the round--the stitch lifted from below will completely cover the original stitch of the new color.

Knit the desired number of rounds with this color, then repeat this sequence from the set-up round for every subsequent color change.

Helix Method

The helix method is the best way to prevent jogs in one-row stripes, as shown in Figure 5. In this method, the stripes "chase" each other around the circumference of the piece. The drawbacks to this method are that you can never change the order of the stripes and the yarns tend to tangle around each other. It's best to work this method with fewer than five colors; if there are more than five colors, the stripes will appear to spiral steeply and the yarns will become even more tangled.

Work the helix method as follows:

STEP 1: Plan to use a separate double-pointed needle for each color in the stripe pattern. For example. if there are four colors in the stripe sequence, you'll want to use four needles (plus a fifth to knit with).

STEP 2: Divide the total of number of stitches by the number of colors to be used. This is the number of stitches you'll want on each needle. For example, if the pattern calls for 80 stitches, you'll want 20 stitches on each needle. If the number of total stitches doesn't divide evenly by the number of colors, there won't be exactly the same number of stitches on each needle. It's okay if there are one or two more stitches on some needles than the others.

STEP 3: Using the color of the first stripe, cast on the appropriate number of stitches onto each needle and join for working in rounds, being careful not to twist the stitches.

STEP 4: Join the second color and knit to the end of the first needle; repeat for the third color on the second needle, and so on until each needle has a different color.

STEP 5: Continuing with the last color worked, knit the stitches on the first needle and let the yarn hang to the front of the work where it will be easy to spot on the next round.

STEP 6: Pick up the yarn from the previous round that's attached to the right-hand needle and use it work the stitches on the next needle; repeat for the remaining colors.

Repeat Steps 5 and 6 until the piece measures the desired length.

STEP 7: Bind off all stitches with the desired color.

Although this method is designed for one-row stripes of multiple colors, you can also use it to get the appearance of one-row stripes against several rows of a different color, as shown in Figure 6. To do so, decide on the number of rows you want between the one-row stripes to determine the number of needles you'll need. Divide the stitches as evenly as possible on these needles with the contrasting color on one needle and the background color on all the others. For the example shown in Figure 6, four needles were used--one needle for the contrasting color and three needles for the background color. You will need a separate ball of yarn for each needle, even though the same color is worked on three of them.

Transition-Needle Method

An alternative to the helix method that eliminates tangling yarn and the necessity of a different ball for each needle involves a "transition needle." For this method, all of the colors are changed, or transitioned, in such a way that a single color is used for each round. All of the yarns will hang off the same needle and the position of the color change moves one stitch to the right every round. If you're working with double-pointed needles, it will be necessary to rearrange the stitches periodically to keep close to the same number of stitches on each needle. This will help eliminate ladders of loose stitches forming at the needle boundaries, but the technique is most easily worked if a circular needle is used.

To work this method, follow Steps 1 to 6 of the helix method once, then continue as follows:

STEP 7: Return to the color that is to the right of the yarn just used (the yarn at end of the needle to your right) and knit until only one stitch of the old color remains, letting the yarn drop to the front of the work. Repeat for every other color until all of the colors are separated by one stitch and all of the yarns are hanging in front of the work, as shown in Figure 7.

STEP 8: Slip the last stitch of each color from the left-hand needle to the right-hand needle.

STEP 9: Pick up the yarn attached to the first stitch on the left needle (this will be the yarn attached to the first row of the sequence) and knit around, stopping when there is just one stitch remaining of the previous color. Let the yarn drop to the front of the work. Repeat for the other colors until the piece measures the desired length.

STEP 10: *Starting with the next color in the sequence, knit the number of stitches that were worked with this color in Step 1, drop the yarn to the front. Repeat for each of the other colors so that the yarns are dropped at even intervals around the circumference, just as they started on the first row.

STEP 11: Choose the color you want to bind off with and use that color to bind off all of the stitches. Cut off the other colors and weave in the loose ends.

In Fair Isle Patterns

When working Fair Isle patterns, in which each round is composed of two colors, the jogs are less visible than in stripe patterns. In the swatch shown in Figure 8, the rounds begin on the ninth stitch of the pattern. While it's difficult to pinpoint exactly where the jog occurs, there is a bit of telltale skewing in the general area. If this is too much distortion for your liking, you have a couple of options.

If the Fair Isle pattern is vertical in nature, you can conceal the jog by working the first and last stitch of every round in the same color to cause a vertical break in the pattern. The eye will not be able to see any difference between the end of the pattern on one side of this vertical line and the beginning of the pattern on the other. Ideally, you'll want to incorporate similar vertical breaks between motifs so that the one at the beginning of the round doesn't stand out as a singular oddity in the pattern.

If the Fair Isle pattern is predominantly horizontal, a solid vertical line might be even more distracting than the jog. If so, try the following technique, which is a modification of the slip-stitch method introduced by TechKnitter.

ROUND 1: Knit to the end of Round 1 of the pattern, slip the end-of-round marker, slip the next stitch purlwise, then place the color-change marker on the needle.

ROUND 2: Beginning with the second stitch of the chart, work Round 2 to the end-of round marker, slip this marker, work the first stitch of Round 2, remove the colorchange marker, slip the next stitch purlwise, return the color-change marker to the needle.

ROUND 3: Beginning with the third stitch of the chart, work Round 3 to the end-of-round marker, slip this marker, work the first two stitches of Round 3, remove the colorchange marker, slip the next stitch, return the color-change marker to the needle.

Continue in this manner, always beginning the chart one stitch to the left, working to the end-of-round marker, working the next batch of stitches according to the stitches of the chart that haven't been worked yet to the color-change marker, temporarily removing the colorchange marker, slipping the next stitch purlwise, then replacing the color-change marker.

If it's important to keep track of where the round originally began, use a separate color-change marker to keep track of the shifting chart pattern. You might find it helpful to make a color photocopy of the chart and use a highlighter to track the progression of the color-change marker as it travels one stitch to the left each round.
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Publication:Love of Knitting
Article Type:Instructions
Date:Mar 22, 2017
Words:2075
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