One round stripes are forever linked to the ships & seaside cowl I knit for my mum in December 2013. That was the month I got my offer to study at the University of Edinburgh, incidentally enough. I was tired after a term of A-Levels and had big, horrible exams looming ahead of me. Over Christmas, I mentioned to my mum that knitting something might be fun and within about 2 minutes she had gotten yarn, needles and a pattern from her stash and I was knitting her a cowl she’d had her eye on. Child labour of the worst sort, honestly.
Five years later, I got the same urge. The exams were completely different, I had to provide my own yarn and needles, and the pattern is something I made up as I went along. But the simplicity of a cowl, especially one that I could make in Christmas colours was appealing. The original cowl was the first time I ever noticed the colour jog, and I didn’t know what to do about it so I just carried on. This time, I started playing around trying to fix it.
Look at me back then!
I had some ideas of what worked and what really didn’t from knitting Christmas ornaments, but here was a chance to pin it down. Full disclosure, this cowl is not perfect in this regard. There’s techniques that I discovered don’t work all through it, as I figured out how to get the effect I wanted. Tension is also important with stripes as you carry up the yarn from one stripe to another. Make sure you don’t pull too tight, and go in there afterwards with the tip of your needle tugging the stitches so they line up perfectly if you need to.
I could just show you the side of the cowl opposite the start of round and say, look it’s perfect. But that would be pointless. This technique minimises as much as I can the effect of the start of the round, but brace yourself, because it’s not perfect. But if you couldn’t see the stripes below the final white stripe in the following picture, it’s not blatantly obvious (to me at least) that it is the start of the round.
It’s not going to fool a knitter who’s looking closely, but it minimises the effects. The top white stripe is done by the method given below. The other white stripes have been knit using techknitter’s technique of slipping the first stitch. The middle stripe is done vanilla style and the one below that has been modified to see if twisting the stitch helped.
Unlike the red stripes below, all the white stripes ‘meet up’. The first white stitch looks noticeably larger using techknitter’s technique but it definitely works even though she does not recommend it for one row stripes. It’s a great technique, and the only thing I wanted to improve was the size of the first stitch. The large appearance of this stitch is due to the fact it spans two rows as it is slipped. You can tug it tighter, but it is still going to look bigger than the other stitches as the final white stitch to the right of it is pulling it upwards.
The fix for this is pretty simple: pull the final stitch of the stripe down a bit to the level of the first stitch. And voila, you get the look shown in the top white stripe in the image above. The first stitch of the round is regular sized, and the last stitch of the round dips slightly to meet it.
It’s not perfect, but my eye doesn’t get drawn in to the fact the stripes don’t meet or that a stitch is larger than the others.
The technique is simple:
Set up round: Knit one round in colour of new stripe.
Round 1: Slip first stitch of the round purlwise. Pick up the left-hand leg of the stitch directly underneath the slipped stitch, and knit it using the colour of the stripe you have just worked. Work rest of the round in the colour of the new stripe. The next stitch will be the first stitch of the round accompanied the stitch you created at the start; ssk these two stitches together. The stitch just worked is now the last stitch of this round.
(or more concisely
Round 1: SLI, switch to CC, k in to end of round, ssk;
where SLI is slipped left leaning increase, CC is contrast colour, and ssk is slip, slip, knit.)
Repeat Round 1 each time the colour of the first stitch does not match the colour of the last stitch.
In the photo above, I worked three green rounds between each contrast colour stripe in order to see if my stripes were coming out. The first white round would be my ‘set up round’ as described above, and then I would work the first stitch as described above also using white. Then I would switch to green for the rest of the round, ssk using the green and knit a further two rounds with no adjustments.
Strictly speaking, the start of the round moves one stitch to the right each time you make the correction. In techknitter lingo, this is a moving jogless stripe. However, if like above the other stripe is more than one round thick, you can ignore this and keep it in the same place. There is a further step that can be done to make it a stationary jogless stripe even if the next stripe is also only one round, but we’ll leave that for now because I don’t have photos of that.
The photo below shows how it looks when each stripe is one round thick. Not perfect, but not bad, right?
For this, the first red stripe was knit (‘Set Up Round’), then the white round was worked (‘Round 1’) and the next red stripe was worked (‘Round 1’ again). I continued on repeating Round 1 until I started the ribbing in green.
The ribbing makes the final stripe go a bit weird, which I’m slightly sad about. However the cowl was getting rather long and I wanted it to be wearable so I sacrificed the last stripe to finish off the whole project.
It could do with a bit of tugging to make it all look perfect but I should wrap it so that it can go under the tree.
That photo also shows the other place where I have found this technique works well in colourwork knitting. Where there is a single round of alternating colours with a round of plain colour above and below, this technique makes sure that the three rounds meet up and look neater. In the photo below of my (well loved) Marius yoked jumper, you can see what this looks like without any correction.
So that’s the technique as promised with a side of chatter about Christmas knitting. I would like to put together a video illustrating this, but I am off home for Christmas so the video may be delayed. The final round up post will have the method without the chatter but we’re not quite there yet.
Have a very Merry Christmas!