No Purling in the Round

I was working on the pattern, Honey Cowl when I realized they expected me to purl half of the rows. I don't think so!! Since that pattern is free and I've linked to it I don't think they'll mind if I describe the stitch pattern. Rows 1 and 3 are just plain knitting. Rows 2 and 4 alternate Purl 1 and slip one (with yarn in front).

Now purling is not so bad, but knitting is easier. And I remembered a technique I had read about once which would let me knit all the time. (I've since traced it back to a post in Fleegle's blog which I found through a link on the great TECHknitter's blog. Fleegle's blog is apparently also great but I haven't explored it much so I can't say that from personal experience.)

What is this great method?

Sorry, before we get there, let us first review a simple fact about knitting: The knit stitch and the purl stitch are the same but are reversed from front to back. In other words, a knit stitch is a purl stitch from the other side; and a purl stitch is a knit stitch from the other side. So when you are supposed to purl, if you could just work from the other side, you could knit and it would be the same thing.

Ok, now for the meat of it:

Row 1 you knit as directed. When you get to the end of the round, you are here:
The right side is facing you.
Normally you would pull the yarn in front and start purling. But what if you tried to just turn the work around and knit?

Then you are here:
The wrong side is facing you.
Now one option would be to start knitting "backwards" (from left to right) and that would get the job done. But it's slower, awkward and hard to get an even tension (for me anyway).

So what you do is work with a second yarn. See here I have the yarn I just finished knitting with on the left. And a new yarn attached on the right:
Now you can drop the first (left) yarn and just start working with the second yarn:
This has you going in the right direction and lets you "Knit 1 and slip one (with yarn in back)" instead of the "Purl 1 and slip one (with yarn in front)". When you get to the end of the round, turn your work, drop the working yarn and pick up the yarn you had dropped previously.

You go through the whole project alternating working yarns and changing directions. It works brilliantly. Since you're changing yarns every row, there's no line of carried yarn up the back and I think the "seam" is no more obvious than what it is in "regular" knitting in the round. (There's always some sort of jog in the pattern at the "end of round" changeover point.)

Why does it work?? Well knitting in the round is actually knitting in stacked "spirals." Usually all the spirals go in the same direction. (For a visual, Grumperina's diagram on this post might help.) But there's no reason you can't interlace two spirals going in different directions. That is what we're doing by turning the work over.

Simple. Ingenious. Not my idea. But I love it.


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