How to Avoid Jogs in Circular Knitting

Learn how to avoid jogs in circular knitting from expert Jessica Kaufman in this Howcast video.

When we are knitting circularly, we are actually knitting kind of like a helix. We’re spiraling up and up and up.

So if you think about a sheet of paper. If you are knitting flat, you would be working up in rows like lined notebook paper. You would do one line and then the next line and then the next line and they stack, kind of like bricks.

But when you’re circular knitting, you kind of think about bending that notebook paper around in a circle, and then jogging it just a little bit so that the lines continue all the way up instead of being offset.

It’s easier to think about in terms of yarn, at least for me.

When I’m knitting with color changing yarn, this is yarn that I dyed, and this is my Katrina sock which is a pattern that I wrote and is available on sale at my website, it’s really easy to see that helix because my yarn is fading from one color to the next as you go around, there’s no clear stopping point.

But what if you’re using two different colored yarns?

I’m going to show you how to avoid an obvious jag when you get to the end of the round.

So I’ve got a finished example of this headband, another pattern that I have for sale.

If you look here at the beginning of the round, it’s not really obvious where one round ends and the other one begins so I don’t have a really clear jog.

Part of that is helped by the pattern, and part of that is helped by the tips that I’m going to show you now.

So I’ve just finished, this is the same headband, just finished the first round which is alternating red then black, red then black, red then black, all the way around so that I end with a red then a black.

And now it’s time to go on to my second round which is going to be black then red, so that it alternates so that it makes a little checkerboard, just like here on the pattern.

So I’m going to knit with my black on top of my red, and I’ve started my second round of pattern. Therefore, this stitch is a little bit higher than this stitch.

What I want to think of is that right now it looks uneven. It looks like if I take them off the needles, you can see that this guy is actually one stitch taller than the row before. So there’s my helix jump where I’m sort of angling up on to the next round.

It’s a-okay that he is one stitch higher because I’m going to be building the entire row one stitch higher and when I get back around then this guy will be the same height that he is now and I’ll be adding on to the next one.

So it looks like you have a jog, but you don’t actually. And once your knitting project is knitted up and it’s blocked like this mitten, this is my Arrowmont mitten, you won’t be able to see any jog at all anywhere on the color changing because our eyes read it as sort of one long circle.

But if you want to look at it really up close, this is the color change here. And you can see that yes, this blue is a little bit lower than this brown because this is where I changed colors at the end of every round.

I would encourage you to really not worry about it too much. I don’t think that anyone is going to stop you on the street and examine your knitting and try to find the beginning of your round.

But if those jogs really bother you, one thing you can do is to give a tug on the stitch at the beginning and the end of the round and sort of pull them into place.

And when you block it, when your knitting is nice and wet and pliable, find that spot, you can block that jog out by kind of pulling the higher point down and pulling the lower point up and it will dry that way so that it’s nice and even.