Joining in the Round: A Knitting Experiment

Do you remember the Pepsi challenge? There were a bunch of commercials in the 80s where ordinary people took a blind taste test to determine which they liked better: Coke or Pepsi. Even though we all know Diet Coke should be the real winner, I still love myself a good test.

It got me thinking, are there knitting questions that we can answer once and for all? Of course there are! First up: what is the best way to join for knitting in the round? There are three options that pop up most frequently:

1. Just knit and fix it later

2. Cast on an extra stitch and bind it off

3. Cast on an extra stitch and k2tog at the end of the round

For each method I used the long-tail cast on. I cast on 60 (or 61, depending on the method) stitches of Cascade 175 onto my shortest cable needle and knit a k1 p1 rib for 4 rounds before taking a look at how the join turned out. Want to see the results?? Let the games begin!

Method One: nothing fancy, just keep knitting

For this method, I cast 60 stitches onto the cable needle. Then I just knit the first stitch with my working needle and, voila – joined in the round.

Check out that jog

This join has a really visible jog at the cast-on edge and a decent sized hole where I made the first stitch. It gets points for simplicity, but surely we can do better.

Method Two: The sacrificial stitch

In this method, I cast on an extra stitch for a total of 61 stitches. I passed the first stitch (with the slip knot) onto the working needle, and passed the last extra stitch over the first stitch and off the needle, essentially binding off the extra stitch.

This method works a lot better. There was little to no stair-step jog at the beginning of the round. I still got a giant hole over the slip knot. Maybe I’m not doing this right? But overall I would have a much easier time fixing this when I weave in the ends.

Method Three: Cast on an extra stitch and knit or purl 2tog at the end of the round

This time I cast on 61 stitches, passed the first cast-on stitch onto my working needle and then knit the next stitch to join in the round. When I got back around to the end of the round, I purled the last stitch of the round together with the extra stitch to finish the round and return the stitch count to 60.

This method seems to be the best of both worlds. There is no real visible stair-step jog at the beginning of the round, and for once there’s also no giant hole over the slipknot.

Well, there you have it. The results are in: join the the round with method three. Our first knitting challenge is in the books. How do you usually join to knit in the round? Did I leave out a method that you like to use? Am I the only one that prefers Diet Coke? I’d love to hear about it.

Published by knotfancyknitter

I love knitting, books, dogs, and kids - not necessarily in that order. Thanks for stopping by!

One thought on “Joining in the Round: A Knitting Experiment

  1. I used to do the k2tog with the extra stitch, but now I prefer to cast on the number called for and swap the first and last stitch, add a BOR marker, and go.

    Liked by 2 people

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