Monday, January 12, 2015

Knitting Stockinette in the Round vs. Flat

I've always wondered what the difference would be between knitting stockinette in the round and knitting it flat. Since my purls are a little bigger, I've assumed that my Flat gauge would be a little looser than my in-the-round gauge. I've never really had the energy to take a look. Luckily, my Stitches 2015 class homework has me knitting stockinette in the round for one class and stockinette flat for another. So I'm taking this as an opportunity to compare my gauge. I am knitting these swatches using Cascade 220 on US 6 (4.0mm) needles.

Swatch in the round: Cast on 72 stitches using long-tailed cast on. Knit until swatch reaches 4.5 inches. Bind off using K2tog tbl bind off. Block by laying out to dry -- no stretching, just shaping.

Flat Swatch: Cast on 42 using long-tailed cast on. Knit until swatch reaches 7 inches. Since I was on a WS row, I used the P2tog bind off. Block by laying out to dry, no stretching.

Pre-blockPost-block
24 stitches / 4 inches, 33 rows / 4" 22.5 stitches / 4", 31 rows / 4"
23.5 stitches/ 4 inches, 30 rows / 4 inches 21.5 stitches / 4"; 30.5 rows / 4"

As you can see I have a whole stitch difference between my flat stockinette gauge and my in the round stockinette gauge. How does this affect a project? Lets assume I have knit a flat swatch but intend to knit a sweater in the round. Lets assume as well that the circumference I will be knitting is 36". So looking at my flat swatch I will need to cast on 21.5 stitches * 9 or 193.5 stitches. I would round that up to 194 stitches. Now I knit for a while only to discover that my circumference is *not* 36 inches because my in the round gauge is 22.5 stitches / 4" or 5.625 stitches / inch. My actual circumference would be 194 / 5.625 = 34.488 or 34 1/2". I've lost a whole 1 1/2" from the sweater, which would definitely affect fit.

So what's the lesson? When knitting in the round, make sure your swatch is knit in the round as well.


Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry;

Photos copyright Prairie Willow Knits. .

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