Let’s not do the twist

Chubby Checker might not agree, but there are times when twist isn’t a good thing.

At the beginning of any pattern knit in the round, you’re likely to see “Join without twisting”. We’ve all done it, though – we’ve all joined and knitted blithely on for a few rounds, only to discover that yes, there was a twist, leaving us with no option but to rip out the entire thing, fuming. So here’s a few ideas to help avoid the whole sorry mess.

The first involves stitch markers. Once you’ve cast on, put a number of markers (or safety pins) through the bottom of the cast on, so that they’re hanging off the very edge of the knitting below the needles.

When you bring the needles around to join into the round, the markers allow you to see if there’s a twist – in the picture above, there’s none, because all the markers are pointing in the same direction. So it’s safe to join and start knitting.

If there’s a twist, some of the markers will be pointing away from the rest as they are below:

Another ruse is to use a cast on which creates a generous amount of knitting under the needle, such as the twisted German we talked about in a post here. Again, you can easily see that there’s no twist when all the stitches are pointing in the same direction:

You can also see when they’re not – the lowest needleworth in the picture below are facing the wrong way, so this would be a twist.

Finally, you can just not join. At least, you can postpone the join a little, and knit a few rows flat. If you have an inch or so of knitting under the needles, it’s very easy indeed to see if there’s a twist. This is probably the best method if you’re dealing with a lot of stitches, such as the cast on for the body of a jumper knit in the round.

We can’t guarantee that you’ll never twist again, but these tips might make it less likely. Even if you did last summer.

3 comments

  1. Elana’s avatar

    YES! This is totally helpful. On my last hat I twisted on the first row and had to rip a HUGE amount. Then I was told about the flat then join method…LOVE IT.

  2. clara’s avatar

    Your tips are very interesting. I wish I’ll remember them when casting-on next time ! I might add that putting your knitting on a table, so that the stitches stay well-arranged may help too.
    Thanks again ! (the pictures are very clear)

  3. Suzann’s avatar

    This is a really helpful post. I got the link to your blog from Ravelry. Are your ears burning?

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