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Knitting a Scarf in the Round

Posted by jillofthejungle on 2010.04.28 at 11:17
Well, after the wonderful responses in my last post I am eager to ask my next question. :)

First off, though, thank you guys for the responses! I was a bit overjoyed with the answers I received; unfortunately it's rare to be in an LJ community as helpful (or maybe I'm just getting to see too much snark these days) as this one is. Thank you guys so much!

I'll focus on one thing for this post.

Namely, I'm trying to figure out how to knit a scarf in the round. I haven't tried it yet because, quite frankly, I'm not sure what type of needles to get. That and I am not sure how knit-in-the-round actually works on a scarf (I know I need to try it). I am again looking at the Leaky Cauldron's HP scarf pattern and it calls for US 6 or 8 needles, 12-16" long. Easy enough, yes, I just need to figure out what type of yarn I'm going to try before I buy those.

However, when you knit a scarf in the round, do you join the ends (and doesn't this create a tube rather than a flat item?) Or do you go back and forth like normal knitting? I guess my confusion is resulting from finding plenty of videos that show knitting-in-the-round in the beginning, but never really get past the first row. I also know (or so I've read, at least) that when you knit something in the round, you typically want circular needles that are the same length/slightly smaller than the length of the item you're going to knit; does this apply to scarves knit this way as well?

As before, any help you guys can offer me would be fantastic. If anyone has a link to a video that shows something similar to what I'm trying to figure out, I'd greatly appreciate that too. :) Thanks!


That's MISS Raging Bitch to you
miss_tish at 2010-04-28 16:29 (UTC) (Link)
I'm pretty sure that with the Harry Potter scarf, you DO make a long tube. that way it looks like stockinette on both sides. I assume you just block it to get a "seam" along the edge when you press it flat.
Fair Witness
fair_witness at 2010-04-28 17:08 (UTC) (Link)
I've knitted a few of these, and yep, you make a long tube. Once you're done knitting, you turn it inside out for the blocking and for adding the fringe. Adding the fringe seals up the tube ends, and blocking helps the shape stay rectangular rather than cylindrical.
shoelaceswitch at 2010-04-28 23:02 (UTC) (Link)
Curious, why do you turn it inside out? Wouldn't that show the wrong side?
Fair Witness
fair_witness at 2010-04-29 00:21 (UTC) (Link)
When knitting garter stitch in the round, the stockinette side is on the inside of the tube. So when the scarf is a WIP, the outside is all bumpy, as you might be able to see in this photo here:


Once it's cast off and all the ends have been woven in, turning the tube inside out reveals the smooth stockinette side:

(Anonymous) at 2010-04-29 01:29 (UTC) (Link)
My scarves on circular needles don't need to be turned inside out when I'm done, as it looks like knit stitches as I go. I suppose this is a difference in technique...

To the OP: When you cast onto circular needles, you join the round of stitches to create a tube and then basically knit in a spiral. You never have to turn your work like you do on straights; it just slowly rotates around as you go. Because of this, to do stockinette in the round you never have to do a purl stitch -- only knits! It's wonderful. I love circulars. :)

If you have trouble with the length of your cable for the first few rounds (it can pull the yarn too tight in the beginning), look up the Magic Loop method. It basically involves pulling out the cable between a few stitches to give yourself a smaller circumference. After a few rows your work will have enough substance to it to stretch easily on the cable, and you won't have to Magic Loop it anymore.
phatkitten at 2010-04-29 01:30 (UTC) (Link)
Oh bugger. That was me. :(
Sara / Kate
sarakate at 2010-04-29 15:10 (UTC) (Link)
There's a lot of misinformation here. First, there is no garter stitch involved in this project. When all the knit sides of the stitches are on one side of the fabric, that's stockinette stitch; the reverse of the fabric, with all the purl sides together, is reverse stockinette. It's produced by knitting and purling alternate rows when worked flat, because you're working on the WS of the fabric on the purl rows -- you purl because that puts the knit side of the stitch on the RS. When working in the round, you're always working on the RS of the fabric, so you always knit.

Garter stitch is a different fabric altogether. It has alternating rows of knits facing the RS and knits facing the WS, and forms ridges; when compressed, it looks something like reverse stockinette, but when stretched somewhat, the ridges are obvious. It's formed by knitting every row when working flat; when working in the round, you knit one round and purl the next, so that the knit sides face the WS on the alternate rounds.

In addition, most people do not work inside-out, with the RS of the tube facing out, when knitting in the round. Some people do, and it's not an error to do so (in fact, there are circumstances where it's preferable), but by no means is it as universal as you've implied. When you knit inside out, it's because you're knitting at the top of the circle formed by the circular needle, with the bulk of the project between your hands and body -- if it were a clock face, you're working at the 12-o'clock position. To knit right side out, with the RS facing, you knit at the 6-o'clock position, with the bulk of the project behind your hands. This page illustrates the issue well.
Sara / Kate
sarakate at 2010-04-28 16:38 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, when you knit a scarf in the round, you join the ends. Yes, this creates a tube. What this gives you at the end is a double-layered scarf, which fulfills the usual warm-and-snuggly mandate of a scarf nicely, and which gives you stockinette on both sides and lays flat -- no curling side edges, no ugly wrong side.

You do want circs that are the same length or a bit shorter than the *circumference*, not the length, of the tube you're knitting. For a scarf knit as a tube, this is both sides -- if the scarf is 8" wide, then the total circumference of the tube is 16", and a 16" circ will work fine and dandy. So will a 12" circ. A 20", not so much -- the fabric would have to stretch too much to go around it comfortably, and it's not enough longer to make some of the alternative techniques work.

However, if you can't find the shorter circs, you have two reasonable choices -- get two circs of whatever length you can find, and use the 2-circs method, or get one with a length at least a foot longer than the circumference you want (29" would be just doable here *if* the cord is very flexible, which most of the craft-store brands are not -- a 32", 36" or 40" circ would be better here), and use the magic loop method.
gapelout at 2011-04-08 16:55 (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoyed this post. You write about this topic very well. There are many cherished moments in life, why not wear a beautiful dress! When looking back on special memories of your child wearing a gorgeous dress, it will make a fond memory.

cifegulo at 2011-04-14 05:14 (UTC) (Link)
Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.

bradwellyjo at 2011-11-02 22:22 (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm for some reason only half the post can be seen. I tried reloading but still same.

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