The Sweet Honeycomb Cowl: Slip-Stitch Colorwork in the Round with a Jog-less Jog
In our second post about the Sweet Honeycomb Cowl KAL, we’re discussing the ins and outs of slip-stitch knitting and the jog-less jog. Our first post offered advice for choosing colors, along with information about yarn amounts. Ready to knit along?
There are two choices for this pattern, a short cowl and a longer, infinity-scarf-style cowl.
My primary objective when designing the Sweet Honeycomb Cowl was to keep the knitting as fun and stress-free as possible.
You may think that working with eight or nine colors would be anything but stress-free (except maybe for that master knitter who comes to your knitting group every week who can carry on a conversation while juggling two colors in each hand). But the honeycomb pattern I used in the cowl employs slip stitches, so you never have to work with more than one color at any given time.
An Easy Approach to Colorwork
The secret to slip-stitch colorwork is that stitches that are the same color as the stitches on the previous round can be slipped without being worked. Only stitches that are a different color from the ones in the previous round need to be worked. This doesn’t mean that stitches of the same color as on the previous round will never be worked; in fact, it’s necessary to do so unless you want elongated stitches such as the two stitches at the beginning of the repeat. But slipping stitches to achieve color changes makes it possible to use only one working yarn at a time.
On Round 5 of the Honeycomb pattern, for example, the color changes every two stitches.
Working the round using stranded knitting would entail carrying three colors at once: two contrast colors and the main color. However, by working the pattern using slip stitches, only two of the eight stitches in the repeat need to be worked and the other six can be slipped, which means that you have to work with only one of the contrast colors, as can be seen in the video below.
Hiding the Jog
Knitting circularly involves working a series of spirals. This means that the end of the round will be one row higher than the beginning of the round. Since the end of one round actually abuts the beginning of the next round, the pattern will be interrupted wherever the pattern changes from one round to the next. The jog can’t be eliminated entirely, but it can be obscured, or “hidden,” by making sure the beginning of the round occurs at a place in the pattern where a jog won’t be so noticeable.
In the Sweet Honeycomb Cowl, I hid the jog by making sure the beginning of each round fell just before the two elongated main-color slip stitches at the beginning of the repeat. Because the pattern shifts four stitches to the right and the left every eight rows, the beginning of the round needs to shift, as well. The process of shifting the beginning of the round is very simple. In the following videos, we show how to move the beginning of the round four stitches to the left and to the right.
To move the beginning of the round to the left, remove the marker and slip four stitches to the right needle, then replace the marker and continue from Round 1 of the pattern.
To move the beginning of the round to the right, remove the marker and slip four stitches to the left needle, then replace the marker and continue from Round 1 of the pattern.
There will be a lot of ends to weave in, but this isn’t as daunting as it looks at first glance. Because the ends will be enclosed in the tube, you can get away with securing them by weaving them through a couple of stitches and then trimming them, leaving an inch or so unwoven.
There is a bit of grafting at the end, but the garter-stitch grafting involves four easy steps that are repeated from beginning to end. The live stitches stay securely on waste yarn until they are grafted, so there’s no danger of losing any of the stitches. If you make a mistake, you can simply remove the grafting yarn and redo the grafted stitch before removing the waste yarn. I’ll talk more about that in my next post.