Cast-on without doing the twist!

So many knitters prefer to knit in the round—no purling! I enjoy the occasional knit-in-the round project, too, but I've had a few wrong turns if you know what I mean (twisting the cast-on without realizing it).

Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4

I just merrily knit along and then I notice something odd after the first few rows: my knitting isn't hanging below the needles like it usually does after an inch or so of knitting. It is sort of turning over the needles. So I just take out the whole thing and start over, hoping for the best.

This happened to me a couple of times before I became really attentive about making sure the cast on stitches were all in the right place before joining.

Then I read an article in the winter/spring 2010 issue of Knitscene (now available as a digital download!) all about knitting in the round, including a section about fixing the twist without ripping the whole thing out. Yahoo!

Joining without a Twist
by Karen Frisa

Instructions for joining in the round will often contain some variant of "join, being careful not to twist stitches."

"Twist" in this case means spiraling or wrapping the cast-on edge around the needle. Use the small ridge that forms at the base of the cast-on to determine whether the cast-on is twisted. Push the ridge toward the center of the circle and make sure that it hasn't wrapped around the needle. The loops of the stitches should run along the top of the needle without interference.

If you are working with double-pointed needles, check for twists in the spots where the double-points meet, too. It can be tricky to tell whether your cast-on is twisted, especially if the stitches are scrunched up on your needle; they tend to ruffle.

If this is the case, consider knitting a row or two before joining. If you do this, you will need to sew a short seam during finishing to join the flat knitting.

Fixing a Twist After the Fact

What if, despite your valiant efforts, you discover that you have a twist in your cast-on? (I often hear people say they have created a Möbius strip, but this is not true; a Möbius strip has a half twist, but a twisted cast-on has a full twist.)

It's easy to correct this at the end of your first round. Shift the twist around to the tip of the left needle (Figure 2). You'll see that there is only one strand of yarn going from the right needle to the left (it's the strand that made the initial join).

Work the twist into that strand by putting the point of the left needle down and through the center of the circle that you're knitting (Figure 3), passing the needle tip either in front of or behind the single strand so that the cast-on no longer twists around the needle (Figure 4).

The single strand will be twisted a little more tightly or loosely, depending on which way your cast-on was twisted, but it won't be noticeable. After you start working your second round there will be two strands in that space. If you tried to work the twist into that area, the two strands would twist around each other, which would be noticeable. So always double-check for a twist at the end of your first round—it's your last chance to fix it easily!


Knitscene is always full of funky patterns and fun articles, but you can expect lots of technique tutorials like this one, too, designed to make you a better knitter! I hope you enjoyed this project-saving technique.


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