Have you ever looked back at a knitting project from your first few years of knitting and felt embarrassed? We knitters are notorious for being hard on ourselves, going so far as to judge mistakes we made even as beginners.
This was my experience when I found this Center Square Hat that I knitted many years ago. It was my first attempt at knitting any kind of stranded colorwork, and not only that but it was knit in the round. I made one mistake when knitting this awesome hat: I did not use any jogless knitting in the round techniques.
Sure, you could let that little imperfection go. But if you like your knitting to be as close to perfect as possible, you'll want to know about jogless knitting in the round.
If you're a knitter getting ready to dive into double-pointed needles, use one of these methods to make sure your knitting in the round project is jogless.
What is jogless knitting?
The easiest way to demonstrate jogless knitting is to take a look at knitting that does have jogs.
When we're knitting in the round, we're basically working in a spiral. We end one round, then begin a new round right on top of that, usually with a stitch marker to mark the end of our rounds. But when we work in a spiral, sometimes our knitting also becomes a spiral. This can be problematic, especially when you're working with intricate patterns or colors like I was with this hat.
Check out the close-up of my hat below. See that solid gray stripe running across the middle? Notice how, When a new round begins, the edges of the stripe don't exactly line up. That's because when I started a new round, the work moved in that spiral shape, causing the beginning and end of the round to stack. It even affected how my circles lined up on the hat.
Our goal in jogless knitting is to eliminate those little steps that go from one round to the next.
Jogless knitting in the round: Three techniques
Picking up a stitch
Use it when: you're knitting two-color stripes
I originally saw this method in Meg Swansen's Knitting book, but I've seen all kinds of knitters use it. For those of you not familiar with Meg, she's the daughter of famous knitter Elizabeth Zimmerman, so she knows her stuff when it comes to knitting!
Meg's method involves picking up a stitch in the row below, then knitting it together with the first stitch.
Slip-stitch jogless join
Use it when: you're knitting stripes of many different colors
On the round of your color change, knit the first round as you normally would. When you get to Round 2, slip the first stitch of the round purlwise, then knit the rest of the round.
When you look closely, you'll be able to see that the row where you slipped the stitch is slightly different. So for example, if you are knitting 4-row stripes with the color blue, then the spot where you slipped your blue stitch will only be three rows tall instead of four. However, you won't have a jog there. Yay!
Use it when: you're knitting single-row stripes
I first saw Craftsy instructor Eunny Jang demonstrate this in a Knitting Daily TV video. This idea behind this technique is that your stripes work like a barber pole, wrapping around each other. Keep in mind this technique only works if you're knitting stripes in single rows. So for example, you're knitting one round with color A, one round with color B, one round with color C, etc. This comes in especially handy for knitting striped socks!
To use this technique, devote one double-pointed needle to each color. For example, let's say needle 1 will knit blue yarn, needle 2 will knit green yarn, and needle 3 will knit yellow yarn. Knit across needle 1 with blue, then drop the blue yarn. Knit across needle 2 with the green yarn, then drop the green yarn. Knit across needle 3 with yellow yarn, then drop the yellow yarn.
This method sounds crazy, but it works. The result is that you have jogless stripes! The disadvantage to this method is that the yarn tends to get very tangled.
In the mood to knit some hats? Put these jogless knitting techniques to the test when you enroll in New Directions in Lace: Hats with Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley. You'll get three exclusive patterns for lace hats that are only available to students in the class. Plus, you'll get step-by-step help along the way.
FREE Guide: Knitting in the Round Made Easy
Worried that knitting in the round will throw you for a loop? Knit with confidence using this FREE downloadable guide.