Knitting in the round

Now that I have finished my blackberry stitch tea cosy, I thought I would have a go at the other basic tea cosy in Jenny Occleshaw’s book, Tea Cosies. However, this tea cosy is knitted in the round, and I still had the same problem I had earlier: I did not know how to knit in the round. This limits the choice of tea cosies one can make.

The Sheep Shop has sadly closed now, but there’s a place in Barton that does workshops and classes. Last summer, I saw they were doing one on how to knit in the round and, as a bonus, how to do cable stitch (like you get on Arran jumpers). I signed up.

We were taught how to knit in the round with multiple double-ended needles. You can use a circular needle if you prefer. It’s not actually that difficult to knit in the round, once you get the hang of it, compared to normal needle. The biggest problems are knowing where you started (use a stitch marker), not getting all the needles tangled up with each other and ending up with the wrong number of stitches.

The project piece for this class was a pair of fingerless mittens with a knitted thumb opening. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time during the class for the instructor to show us in detail how to do the thumb, so I was daunted by it for a long time.

Fingerless knitted mitten with cable patternAs you knit upwards, you increase the stitches to provide the opening for the thumb. When you get to a certain point, you have to thread some embroidery thread through the stitches on the needle, then pull the needles out. The embroidery thread acts as a placeholder and it’s very important it doesn’t come out. I managed to knit the main part of the mitten and cast off.

It was time to return to the thumb. I had numerous false starts, but I have finally finished it. You just have to bite the bullet and work those needles, remembering to work from the correct side, not looping the yarn round where it’s not wanted so it looks like you have an extra stitch and remembering to do the purl stitch in the right place.

The resulting mitten is not perfect by any means, but I’m pretty pleased with it. All I have to do now is knit the left hand one, and then I can move on to the next tea cosy.

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