Since I published a tutorial about a gorgeous criss-cross cast on border, I was flooded with requests for instructions that explain how we can add this edging to a project worked in the round. You are absolutely right, my friends, to send those requests – the elasticity (and beauty!) of this edging makes it perfect for hats, mittens, top-down socks and other seamless projects.
So I took yarn and needles and fiddled with stitches until I found a way to make this cast on edging suitable for working in the round so that the lovely criss-cross pattern is not interrupted.
Here’s how it works.
If you are a visual learner, click here to watch every step in a video tutorial.
Cast on any number of stitches using the long-tail cast on method.
Arrange stitches for working in the round.
I’ll make my swatch on five double-pointed needles, so I divided the 16 stitches I cast on into four equal groups and slipped each group to a separate needle. If you are new to knitting with double-pointed needles, this tutorial explains the basics of this knitting technique.
Make sure the stitches are not twisted around the cast-on edge. If you prefer to join stitches for working in the round, go ahead and use any way explained in this tutorial or any other way you like.
If you work with one circular needle, place a marker to mark the beginning of the round.
I won’t bother joining the stitches this time, and I won’t use a marker because it slips off a needle when we work with double-pointed needles. I will introduce the marker in round 3 to help you better see how stitches shift, but, for now, I will simply move on to the first round and let the yarn tail help me understand where each round ends.
This round is very similar to row 1 of the instructions that explain how to make this edging back and forth:
[knit 1 stitch through the back loop, then make a stitch by pulling a yarn wrap from under the bottom of the cast on edge], work brackets to the end of the round.
Just as we did when we worked flat, we use an unusual way to make a new stitch by pulling the yarn from under the cast on edge. This little technique is demonstrated in this part of the video tutorial. You can also learn it from detailed step-by-step photos in the first half of this tutorial.
Another interesting thing about this round is that we double the number of stitches. It is totally fine – we’ll turn these extra stitches into a beautiful line of crossed strands in the third round of the pattern.
[purl 1 through the back loop, slip 1 with the yarn at the back of the work], work brackets to the end of the round.
When we purl or knit stitches through the back loop, we twist them making the fabric tighter and less elastic. If you want to add more stretch to the edging, purl stitches as usual, through the front loop.
No matter how you choose to purl the stitches, remember to slip every other stitch with the yarn at the back of the work.
This round is crucial for forming the lovely line of crossed strands and for ensuring this line goes around the edge uninterrupted.
To achieve the flow of the pattern, we’ll use an interesting concept known as the “travelling stitch”. It is occasionally used in lace patterns worked in the round, for example, in a lacy border of the Snowflake Hat.
In a nutshell, travelling stitch means shifting the beginning of the round by one stitch to avoid a jog or other disruptions to the pattern.
To make the shift more obvious, I will use a stitch marker in my swatch.
If you don’t use a marker in your project, there is no need to add it to the work – simply slip the first stitch from the left needle to the right needle and remember that the beginning of the round is going to shift in this round.
If you work with one circular needle, then you are likely using the stitch marker already. In this case, follow the instructions below to a tee.
Remove the marker, slip 1 stitch purlwise, then place the marker on the right needle.
[knit 2 stitches together through the back loop], work brackets to the end of the round.
As you knit two stitches together, make sure that the stitch created from the wrap is the first one from the tip of the left needle.
Now we are back to the number of stitches we cast on in the “Set Up” section.
If you use double-pointed needles, you will shift stitches by one stitch every time you move to another needle, just as I do in this part of the video tutorial. It could be a bit uncomfortable, but don’t worry – we won’t do it again after we finish this round.
This “stitch-shifting” is the only way to make the pattern continuous, so it is definitely worth the effort. As you see in the photo below, the line of crossed strands is not interrupted at the beginning of the round.
The task of the last round is to highlight the beautiful texture of the edging and to separate it from the main pattern of the project.
This round is the easiest of the four – we simply purl every stitch of the round.
Now the edging is finished and we can work on the main pattern of the project. There is no need to shift the beginning of the round back by one stitch to the “true” beginning of the round. It is easier to accept the “shifted” beginning of the round and use it as you work in any pattern of your choice.
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Matching Cast Ons and Bind Offs” Book
Discover six pairs of cast on and bind off methods that form identical edges on projects worked flat and in the round.
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.
Dealing with Unfinished Projects
Dictionary of Knitting Symbols and Abbreviations – E-Book
Eastern (Russian) Knitting Simplified
How to Shape Neckline Without Binding Off Stitches – E-Book