Friday, January 26, 2007

Joining circular knitting--the 3-in-1 TECHjoin!

includes a how-to

Joining the first round of casting-on for circular knitting can get ugly. There is a horrid loose stitch where the join occurs, as well as a "jog." The tail gets unwound and makes the loose stitch even looser, while working in the tail has the potential to make a mess of the cast-on edge.
click picture

It need not be this way.

Here is a join for circular knitting which avoids that horrid loose stitch, eliminates that nasty little "jog" AND works in your tail, three tricks in one! Here is the TECHknitting 3-in-1 TECHjoin!
click picture


1. Begin with long-tail casting-on. Long-tail casting on actually consists of a foundation row AND a knitted first row. This double row is substantial and so is easier to keep "sunny side up" when joining.

2. For the first stitch of long-tail casting-on, do not use a slip knot. Instead, use a simple loop.(more info about the simple loop in the long tail post)

3. Make the cast-on row as follows:
click picture
  • Make the first stitch as a simple loop over one needle, not two.
  • Make the next two stitches as ordinary long-tail cast-on stitches, again looping over one needle, not two. (more info about casting on over two needles in the long-tail post)
  • After you've created the first three stitches, create additional cast-on stitches by looping over two needles until you have TWO LESS stitches than you need, total.
  • Create the next two cast-on stitches over only one needle.
  • ADD AN ADDITIONAL stitch, again casting on over only one needle.
  • Count your stitches. You should have one stitch more than you need, and the first and last three stitches should have been cast on over only one needle (not two)
  • In the photo above, the first stitch cast on (extreme right) is made by a simple loop. There are 23 stitches cast on, for a 22 stitch tube.

4. Create the join and the knit first round as follows:
  • Make sure that the stitches are "sunny side up" (not twisted).
  • Pull out one needle so all the stitches lie on one needle. (For dpn's, distribute evenly among 3 or 4 needles.) Arrange your work so the cast-on stitches to knit first lie on your LEFT needle.
  • Slip the first stitch (the one you made by the simple loop method) from the left needle to the right needle WITHOUT knitting it.
  • Starting with the second stitch, knit all the way around.
  • When you come to the end, knit the last stitch together with that first slipped stitch (in knitting parlance, knit 2 together, abbreviated k2tog).
  • SLIP THE NEXT STITCH (which was the second stitch you created, and the first stitch you knitted).
  • OPTIONAL: If you want to mark the beginning of the round, insert a stitch marker after this most recently slipped stitch.
  • Catch the tail yarn and hold it together with the standing yarn (standing yarn=the yarn coming from the ball). Knit the next three stitches with BOTH yarns, then drop the tail yarn and continue with the ball yarn.
Ta da! The right number of stitches, no loose join, no jog, and the tail end is already "worked in." A real 3-in-1 trick!

Are you nervous about trimming off the tail end? Wait until after you've washed and blocked the garment. This helps the tail felt into the fabric a bit more. For non-felting yarn, such as superwash wool or acrylic, consider working the tail in even further by picking it up on the second round and knitting it together with the standing yarn for an additional three stitches as you come past it on round 2.



knotingale said...

This is great. Now, can you explain the 'jogless' join method for stripes knit in the round? I can't understand the instructions I've found thus far.

kmkat said...

Bookmarked this post. I HATE that jog in the join; I get rid of it by surreptitious sewing when I weave in the long tail. But it will be so much more elegant not to have the jog in the first place. Thanks!

Angie said...

Marvelous explanation! You have taken the time to EXPLAIN what it means to *join* and make it understandable. (I probably would have just settled for an explanation.) I never knew what to do when they said "join" in a pattern and I couldn't find a description outside of Kat Bordhi's. Thank you!

Jenny said...

Alright! I just had the opportunity to use this join for the first time, and it worked slick! Other than a tendency for me to end up with the 'simple loop' beginning and/or the slipped stitch part of the join on the wrong needle... but if you remember my previous comments, this probably is not only unremarkable, but belongs in the 'go figure' column.


BW said...

Plan on trying this for my next project.

I love what you have put together here (your site). It is well laid out and you give a ton of great information.


Julie said...

I love you. Will you marry me? Wait a minute... let me check with my husband... He says fine. Will you?

Anonymous said...

I've found that switching the last and first stitches in place (using a crochet hook to draw one over the other if necessary) gives me the most perfect join with little trouble and no need to decrease. Whcihever method you use to decrease the jog, it will help if there are several stitches from one end of the caston row on the opposite needle, whereas if there is only one, it will stretch out very easily.

Anonymous said...

Great explanation. Would this work with Magic Loop? I tried it (admittedly, I'm new at Magic Loop) and I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to get the first cast-on stitch and the last cast-on stitch close enough to be knit together.

Thanks again!

--TECHknitter said...

Hi anonymous--the 3-in-1 join will work with magic loop--just tug the loop of magic loop out between 2 already knit stitches, somewhere down the line from the beginning/end point. In other words, transfer the location of the loop to a point away from where you want the beginning stitch to lie next to the end stitch. Thanks for writing.


Anonymous said...

This is Anonymous again. Thank you for that explanation on using this for Magic Loop. I'm ready to try it!

Love your explanations because they are "scientific" and go back to the basic principles of knitting. And, your illustrations are really helpful.

Dixie Ipsit said...

Question about the placement of the stitch marker with the 3-in-1 join. I plan to do a hat with 2x2 ribbing. I cast on (including 1 extra stitch), slip the first stitch, knit the last and first stitch (the slipped one) together, slip the next stitch and then place the marker. If that second stitch is part of a pattern, like the 2x2 ribbing, won't the marker be in the wrong place? It would be in the middle of a 2?

Thanks for any enlightenment.

PĂ©itseoga said...

EXACTLY what i was looking for, thanks! and my mum knits LOADS of socks, must show it to her, too!

Dixie Ipsit said...

This is a little late to the party on the 3-in-1 join, but ---

When you slip the stitches, do you slip knitwise or purlwise? Or does it make a difference?

Many thanks for all the explanation here.

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Dixie Ipsit:

You slip them purlwise (open, untwisted). Thanks for asking. --TK

Anonymous said...

Thank you! this is the first time I've been able to find instructions of any kind on joining to work in the round. I'll be coming back to this page until the join is memorized.

lulu said...

should you always knit the first row after the CO row (even in garter stitch or ribbing)? Thanks~!

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Lulu--If you are using a long tail casting on (such as is used in this particular join) it is not necessary to knit the first row for garter or ribbing. This is because the long tail cast on is actually the same thing as a row of backwards loops AND the first row of knitting, combined. In other words, it is not necessary to knit the first row, because you already HAVE knit it by creating the cast on with a first row included. Thanks for asking. TECHknitter

Trishwah said...

I looked in your long tail cast on post and didn't find the answer but maybe I missed. Anyway. Here's the question:

What size needles do you use when casting onto two needles? Are they the same size as what you will be knitting with?

If yes, presumably you would do that to make the CO stretchier. But I've found that spacing out my CO stitches does a better job of creating a stretchy CO than working with two needles or a larger needle.

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much, I was tearing my hair out about how to join my circle!!

Beverly said...

OMG, I have been knitting for 6 years and didn't know there was a better way to join in the round. I am so glad that I stumbled across this blog!

Delia said...

Help! What about invisible joins for circular knitting after a tubular cast-on? This method still leaves something to be desired in that situation.

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Delia:

The easiest way I know to make a nice join after a tubular cast on is to make the tubular cast-on on straight needles, get through another row or two, and then sew up the tiny little seam with the yarn from the cast on. I've messed around with other methods, but this one is the best I've found.

Thanks for writing


Oiyi said...

OMG, I always hated the jog on the circ join. Thank you so much. This worked perfectly.

Karen T. said...

Does this note about working in superwash tails mean that we knit in the tail for six stitches on round 2, or do you mean to pick it up for the additional three stitches on round 3? Thanks!

"For non-felting yarn, such as superwash wool or acrylic, consider working the tail in even further by picking it up on the second round and knitting it together with the standing yarn for an additional three stitches as you come past it on round 2."

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Karen: I actually meant that the three stitches ought to be worked in again on for a further 3 stitches on round 3, but didn't say it very well, did I? The idea is to break up the doubled stitches so they're not all perched right next to one another in the same round, thus drawing the eye to that spot.

Thanks for writing. --TK

Ronda said...

I'm a bit confused with step #4. You say "# Arrange your work so the cast-on stitches to knit first lie on your LEFT needle.
# Slip the first stitch (the one you made by the simple loop method) from the left needle to the right needle WITHOUT knitting it.
# Starting with the second stitch, knit all the way around."
If I arrange it so that the simple loop stitch is at the top of needle so that I can slip it to the right needle, then my yarn ends are at the bottom of the left needle. How do I then start knitting with the yarn at the bottom? I must be missing something.

Ronda said...

I was missing something, I figured it out! I was practicing this with only a small number of stitches, so my knitting wasn't going around the whole length of the circular needle. I cast on the right number and it worked! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Is this the CO you would use for 2x2 ribbing on a hat or helmet liner?
I am making helmet liners and have recently been shown the knitted cast on where the left needle enters the newly formed loop from the bottom with the left needle against the right needle as the left needle comes up. It is a very stretchy cast on and seems to be as stretchy as the ribbing.
Please let me know as I am wanting to make several helmet liners.
Thank you tons.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Anonymous: The 3in-1 join will work with any kind of cast on. If you are having good luck with your current cast on, keep using it, and think about refining the join with this 3-in-1 trick! Thanks for writing, and thanks for making helmet liners--that is a very worthy pursuit!


Anonymous said...

Great tutorial, I appreciate it. I do have another question: Do you only slip the first stitch in the row on the first round or on every round?Thanks

TECHknitter said...

Hi Anonymous: Sorry to take so long to get back to you. If you have a question you want answered right away, e-mail (click on view profile for link)

In answer to your question, this join is to start a circular knitting project, so you only slip the one time--that being the first time you join together the circle of cast on stitches.

Thanks for writing. --TK

Anonymous said...

I wish I'd seen this before I started my current project! It has a horrible jog, and I know I'm going to have loads of fun trying to get rid of it. Thanks for all the great information!

Consuelo said...

So, I'm WAY late to this topic but I just discovered this blog.

Here's my question: what is the purpose or the function of casting on over two needles? How does that help in this process? I love the result!

Anonymous said...

Many knitters cast on too tightly. Casting on over two needles solves this problem.

Anonymous said...

OH. MY. GOD. thankyou!!!!!!!!!!!

Emma Bull said...

I love you. No, really. More than chocolate. Can't wait to start another project so I can try it.

Anne said...

THANK YOU sooo much!!!!!! Mistery solved :-]]]

Anonymous said...

Thank you! When I first read this article, I tried this on a practice piece and it works wonderfully. I'm starting another hat now and want to use this method.
[BTW, to find this page, I looked in your index (updated to include Nov 7 2011), but the link took me to jogless-stripes.html instead. Fortunately, I recognized the name of the topic and a web search for "techjoin" found the correct URL. I didn't find a place on the index page to comment, so I'm doing so here.] John G

Shannon said...

I am casting in 84 sts to then knit and join a 28 st square of a blanket, so that I will have 112 sts for the first row. In doing this cast-on with the needles on top of each other, would that work for such a long cast on? Is the purpose just to create space to knit in the tail? Secondly, when you say to slip the first cast on to the right needle and begin stitching with the second stitch, when you say "slip the stitch" the second time do you mean slip it to the right needle or slip it off entirely since you've cast an extra st?


TECHknitter said...

Hi Shannon--to answer your questions: Yes, you can long-tail cast on any number of stitches by this method. As to "slip the stitch" the second time, no, you do not slip it off the needle altogether, you slip it to the right needle. By the time you do this slip, you no longer HAVE an extra stitch, because you already knit it away (K2tog) with its neighbor.
Best, TK

Shannon said...

Thanks - that helps. Of course, now I have a second question... I am knitting a blanket of 16 squares knitted one at a time and knitted together- so I knitted the first square, cast off, then slid that finished square back on the needle and those sts count in the cast on number. As I finish the cast on I will join and knit a round - so I would have a gap at the first and last st of this square. Your instructions made me think I could just cast on TWO extra sts and K2TOG on each end of this square and thus avoid the gap on each end.

I'm confused by the part where you say:
SLIP THE NEXT STITCH (which was the second stitch you created, and the first stitch you knitted).
OPTIONAL: If you want to mark the beginning of the round, insert a stitch marker after this most recently slipped stitch.

If I'm just casting two extra sts, could I not avoid this slipping and put a place marker before the first K2TOG? Or is there a higher purpose to sliding this stitch that I don't understand? Also, in your method, when you slip the second stitch and then put the place marker, doesn't that throw off the end of the first row? I'm sorry to ask again, I'm just trying to visualize and understand as I'm new to this method.


TECHknitter said...

Hi Shannon--I'm afraid I'm getting a little confused with your question--I can't visualize what you mean. There are two option you might think about to solve your problem: 1) try it out on a swatch 2) consider going to Ravelry in the "technique" forum, and posting your question there, preferably with a photo. Sorry to be disappointing...

(Cut and paste linky to browser window)

Best, TK

Shannon said...

That's okay - thanks for trying. I ended up just weaving in the tail as I joined them, and joining tightly. It looks good so far and I will try your technique on a test swatch.

tc said...

Hi TK, just wondering, if the long-tail method gives both a foundation and a knit row, does that mean I should be skipping the first knitted row from my pattern whenever this is used?
Thanks :)

TECHknitter said...

Hi TC: The long answer to your question, like the answer to so many questions in knitting is "it depends." It depends on whether the pattern is highly row-controlled or not, and whether the desinger had in mind the long tail or another cast on, etc etc. The short answer is "it probably doesn't make any difference," that is, as long as you are consistent in counting rows.

Here is a post which explores the issue further (cut and paste Link into your browser window)

Best regards, TK

Amy said...

I'm working on the Knitting Margot sweater in which the first round includes increases after casting on 84:

(Place marker, k1, inc1, k40, inc1, k1] twice)

Would you recommend your method for something like the above? I'm having a hard time figuring out how to make it work.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Amy--It is a little bit difficult to increase in the very first row--much easier to increase when there are a few rows on the needles. However, if it is an important design feature to that sweater, and you don't feel you can postpone the increases until at least round 2, then you've got to do what you've got to do.

I would indeed join as stated, but would move the stitch markers over a couple of stitches, so that all the fancy stuff is away from the required increases. This will make it much easier to keep track of what you're doing, and the few-stitch overlap resulting from moving the markers is almost certainly going to be immaterial to the rest of the pattern.

Amy said...

Thank you. I think I'll just knit/purl two rows before the increases. I've never seen a pattern like this with the increases in the first row, but then I've only been knitting since Jan.

Glad I found this method and I love your website. I have several pages of it bookmarked for reference.

A said...

I love your work because you explain WHY. Why do you recommend knitting with both the regular yarn and the tail for those three stitches? Wouldn't it be easier to knit them in the regular way?

TECHknitter said...

Hi A: This particular post is about this particular method of working in the tail. There are LOTS of other ways to do it. There is a post which shows 10 different ways to do it, 8 of which are as you go.

Best, TK

Anonymous said...

When I start circular knitting, I cast on the needed number of stitches, then bring the first and last cast on stitches together to join. After making sure the cast on is not twisted around the needle(s), I put the last cast on stitch on the left needle, in front of the first cast on stitch, then I reach through the last stitch and bring the first through it, knit the first cast on stitch and then the last cast on stitch. If I need a marker for the beginning of the round, I place it before I knit either stitch.

mindreader said...

Hello, TK. I rate myself a beginner knitter because I've mostly been to chicken to try any pattern that has only straight needles in stocking stich : )

I am now trying to learn more and be more confident and adventurous. I have learned a lot from your wonderful blog. Thank-you!

I have a question about your very clever 3-in-1 TECHjoin. I "assumed" that I would use the two needle points on the circular needles...but, I figured out that that was a misguided assumption when I hit the "loop" of the circular needle.(D'uh) I then decided to use one of the circular needles's needles and one straight needle. I "pulled out" the straight needle (which I'd made sure was the "top" needle.) Is this the "correct" way to do the 3-in-1 TECHjoin, or should I have done it on two straight needles and then "transferred" to the circular needle?

thx for any insight, and again, thank-you for your blog. I've been sharing with some friends who knit and they have also found it very helpful!

TECHknitter said...

Hi Mindreader...Sounds like you hit the nail on the head! Sounds perfect. Best, TK

Anonymous said...

I am new to the Magic Loop method and am wondering between which stitch in your example to pull out the cable to divide the stitches.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Anon--I would put the joint at a spot away from the actual join--do you know that you can pull the cable loop out pretty well anywhere you like? Pulling out away form the joint prevents stress on that weaker part of the cast on. Best, TK

Lisa said...

I know you wrote this a few years ago, but I always find your blog so helpful! I just tried this join method today and it worked beautifully. Thank you!

TECHknitter said...

Hi Lisa--I'm glad you found this useful. It was published a while ago, but it still works! Best, TK

Carol said...

Hey TK,

I'm what you'd call an advanced beginner, and I'm going to start my first sweater on circulars in the next month. Came across this post when noticing how ugly gaping holes and jogs looked after road-testing circular knitting for the first time, so this is absolutely great!

One thing: I'm probably being a bit silly at the moment, but I don't see how many stitches I should cast on and how I should do this for a K2P2 rib, seeing as stitches are being slipped. A bit of help would be nice!

Thanks muchly,

TECHknitter said...

Hi Caz--this trick involves adding ONE extra stitch to the cast on, so you should cast on the number of stitches required by the pattern PLUS one. When you knit that extra stitch together with its partner at the end of the cast on round, you have the correct stitch count. HOWEVEr, you are to SLIP the next stitch, so do that and THEN put in a marker. That marker is the beginning of the round, so begin the 2/2 rib AFTER the marker, and just don't worry about the two stitches you just messed with, which are to the right of the marker: these two stitches will act as though they were part of the cast on round (which, in fact, they are, which is what makes this trick jogless!)

Write again if still confused, OK? --TK

MUDeals4U said...

Thank you!!! I am a brand new knitter and this was easy and worked perfectly!

Anonymous said...

Do you have any tricks for how to do this with a round that was based on picked up stitches in the sole of a baby bootie instead of being cast on?

Andrea said...

I hope to put this intelligent join-in-the-round technique to the test but wonder if anyone has seen it demonstrated in a video on YouTube (or elsewhere)?

Susan said...

I love this. I wish you could post a video of it (-:

Mae said...

Dear TK, thank you yet again, for sharing your genius with us aspiring knitters. May I ask if this cast-on would work on 3mm (UK size) circular needles, on a circumference of 244 stitches? Or does it just get too messy and complicated on the unruly cable that has a mind of its own? I have already had to rip back twice, after 2 inches of knitting, because of twisted stitches :'( Thank you for any advice you may be able to offer.

PS If it doesn't work out with Julie (May 4, 2007 post), will you marry ME?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Mae--still giggling about the offer of your hand!

As far as a very long cast on, the truth is, it is easier to work the first two or three rows back and forth. It isn't as elegant, and there is a little seam to sew up, but it is foolproof, and the cost of sewing the tiny seam (wth the yarn already dangling there!!) is so much less than that of ripping out two inches of knitting, not to mention the hair loss from ripping out your hair in frustration!

Best, TK

Mae said...

Dear TK

I hope you don't mind, but I just had to come back and share my joy and gratitude with you... With great trepidation, I decided to risk trying your method in spite of your very wise advice for a long cast-on - partly because I dislike purling so much, and partly because I couldn't contain my excitement over your brilliant method! (The only modification I made was not using two needles, because that would have made 244 stitches an unimaginable nightmare). I used very long circular needles so that my cast-on stitches were well spaced out, and checked and rechecked them constantly to ensure they remained 'sunny side up' - and hallelujah, I am now holding the first, twist-free inch of my first garment ever!

Thank you again for sprinkling your unique brand of knitting joy into the world!

Best, Mae

Michael Bedward said...

This is fiendishly clever. I'm using it for a jumper which has sleeves knitted from the cuff, and it has given me a perfect result first time. Thanks so much !

If they ever award a Nobel for knitting (which they should) you're a shoe-in.

Fiber and Color said...

Thank you!

Kathleen said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Finally remembered to try this and it works beautifully--although I have to admit that I didn't use the one needle and two needle part--I cast on with larger needles (3.5mm instead of 2.75mm). You are a treasure, I hope you continue enlightening all of us with better ways to knit!

Tvianne said...

Hi! thanks a lot for this method. After a few experiments, I came up with a tip in case you decide to use this for a rolled up edge (yes, your beloved): when you have knitted the first row and the k2tog, pass the tail yarn on the other side of the work, slip the next stitch, put the tail back and knit it with the standing yarn (it works fine with purling too). This way you won't have the weird bump of the tail yarn showing on the rolling edge (and you won't have to knit extra rows to hide it).
I used the German twisted CO, and I don't know if it is its fault or because I'm using a very thin yarn, but for me casting on a single needle worked better.
Thanks again