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May 25, 2010

Circular needles, cat help and gloves and questions, oh my.

First a question from a reader... then I have a question for you!

Please share your tips on knitting hats and circular needles. I just made my first hat and stumbled through but could use some common sense tips!

--Jessica

Hi Jessica! I love knitting on circular needles, and even though I have been knitting for several years now I still get excited about the magical way you can create perfect stockinette just knitting the knit stitch in the round. I love it and I hope I can spread that love to you like bronchitis, or innernet crabs. Once you catch it you're a goner. Hats are some of my favorite projects because they're fast and round. And on Saturday I met a lovely woman named Judy who had made not one but two of my knitted cat tunnel patterns!! It is the ultimate knitting-in-the-round gigantaproject. I would try to explain the zen surrender to stockinette to non-knitters and they would glaze over in pain.

The trickiest part about getting used to circular needles seems to be casting on and joining the circle. I wrote a post a long while about about knitting in the round (you can read it here.) I hope it helps. And in full disclosure I will tell you I often cast on in the round and mess up and have to undo it and cast on again. No one has arrested me yet for bad beginnings to good hats!

My newest project is done in the round but not on circulars, it's knitting on teetiny little double-pointed needles like toothpicks. SKEERY. I cast on four times before I got it all joined and untwisted and so on. I am making my very first pair of hand-knit-to-size gloves and I'm using the build-your-own-pattern method from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes & Gauges (a million thanks to every reader who recommended this book to me, I love it.) Also I feel so advanced using such a complicated-looking pattern! Even though it isn't really complicated it still took me about an hour to cast on and join properly and even then I didn't knit the first round in knit-1-purl-1 ribbing because I was so happy to have finally joined these tiny stitches that I knit a round plain. But I don't think you can tell, and I'll just do the same on the next glove.

gloves-beginning.jpg

gloves-pattern-book.jpg

At the rate I am knitting these I will have a pair of completed gloves in 2019. Hope it's cold that winter.

First I started with a swatch. I cast on 50 stitches are started knitting in stockinette on straight needles (I'm using a size 3 because it alleviates my SupaTight™ Knitting if I go up a needle size or two.) I knit for a few inches, then cast off. I should have knit the edges in garter so it didn't roll as much but I didn't, so there you have it. After pinning it carefully down I measured to see how many stitches to the inch I was getting:

gloves-swatch1.jpg


gloves-swatch2.jpg

Seven stitches to the inch. I also measured the width of my swatch to double check and I got just around seven inches of fabric which is right on with casting on 50 stitches (7 stitches to the inch x 7 inches = 49 stitches.)

I had a lot of help measuring:

gloves-swatch3.jpg

Bob inspects my mathyness.

The yarn is so beautiful, it's Noro Kureyon sock yarn. I've never knit with yarn this tiny, it has a slight thick/thin thing happening and in some places it's as thin as sewing thread! I know some of you sock knitters are all about the tiny thread-yarn but it's taking me a while to get used to it. I have fat hands. That's my story and I am sticking with it.

I do have a question though:

When the pattern says, "Increase gusset stitches in this manner every 3 rounds..." do you knit two rounds then increase on the third round?

Or do you knit three rounds and increase on the next round?

I have been doing it the latter way, knitting three rounds then increasing, then knitting three more. There's no place in the pattern where it tells you how many rounds/rows you knit all total (it just gives total stitch counts in places.) I'll admit right now that even if I am wrong I am not ripping it out ... these are some teetiny little stitches! But I wanted to ask what you think the pattern means so that in the future I do it correctly. If there is a future, what with the tinyness and all.

But for all my trepidation at making a project on something smaller than a size 11 needle, I've made a little progress. Now I'm at the thumb gusset. The Manager Of Glove Readiness is still overseeing the project:

glove-helper-bob.jpg

So much help. So few thumbs. Less need for gussets is my guess.

Posted by laurie at May 25, 2010 7:10 AM