Papyrus Lace from Lace & Eyelets
Continuing our little "use your stitch dictionary like a cookbook" series...
Traditionally, stitches in a stitch dictionary are presented for
knitting flat (back and forth in rows). If you want to use one of the
stitches for something knitted in the round (a sock, say, or a hat),
then you have to do a little bit of conversion magic. Here are the basic conversion steps:
1. Pick an appropriate stitch pattern.
Some patterns are easy to convert from rows to rounds; some can be
mind-bendingly difficult. Before you get your heart set on a particular
stitch pattern for use in a cute baby hat, check to see if it looks
like it will convert easily to working in the round. There are two things you want to look for:
First, a pattern where the wrong-side rows contain only purl stitches
or knit stitches, and second, a pattern where the number of edge
stitches is the same on all rows. (Remember that edge stitches are the
ones outside the repeat section.)
2. When figuring out how many stitches to cast on: Drop the "balancing" stitches from your calculations.
In other words: Drop the Y number in the "multiple of X stitches
plus Y" notation discussed above. Cast on only the "multiple of X"
number for your in-the-round pattern.
3. When you are knitting: Work from asterisk to semi-colon only.
In other words, everything between those two punctuation marks is
your stitch repeat, and you will knit just those stitches around and
around your "tube."
4. Convert the wrong-side rows to right-side rounds.
You're always on the right side when you knit in the round, right? So there are no "wrong-side rows," technically. There are two steps to getting the wrong-side right in your circular knitting.
First, all purl stitches become knit stitches and all knit stitches
become purl stitches. Second, the "wrong-side" instructions are read
backwards! An example will help here: Say that the wrong-side ROW
instructions tell you to work "p3, k1" across. For circular knitting,
you would work "p1, k3" around. So: Purls became knits, knits became purls, and you work the repeat in reverse.
This can be a bit confusing, so WRITE OUT the wrong-side instructions
in the new circular "language" in order to help yourself keep it all
If in doubt, chart it out.
The steps given above for converting flat stitch patterns to
in-the-round stitch patterns will work well for symmetrical patterns
that are simple in design. If you have your heart set on a complex or
asymmetrical pattern, then graph paper, pencils, swatching, and
patience are your best friends. Or, for the more computer-savvy, try
using a spreadsheet program, setting a narrow column width and using
your own set of symbols for the stitches to see how things line up. I
do this with all my own designs, and although the results are not
publishable, my home-grown charts are a huge help in my knitting.
Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.
What's on Sandi's needles? The yarn for Nicholas' cabled pullover has been delivered, and swatching is done. Now for the knitting!