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Inside-Out Circular Knitting?

On the first night of Craft Sessions in 2013, I was sitting at the dinner table with a bunch of amazing, like-minded ladies as we stitched away, waiting for some announcements to be made by Felicia and her team. A fellow knitter I was just getting to know was working on a Bloom dress (designed by Tikki), and mentioned that whenever she got to the skirt section (she'd knit a fair few Blooms), the piece felt uncomfortable to knit as the dress was getting in the way. I asked if I could show her something. She handed me the dress, I turned it inside out and handed it back to her. She started knitting again and ...I still remember the grin spreading across her face :) She said, "why have I never thought to do that?"

That has always been the way I knit in the round - Right-side in, Wrong-side out. Basically Inside out.

I thought this was the generic way to knit in the round, but over these few years, it appeared more often than not that I was in the minority here.

Now I am not here to say my way is the correct way, I mean, we're all creating gorgeous knits either way! But I'm going to see if I can convert some of you to knit inside out in the round ;) Please note this is only my own experience, and I'm not an expert of course.

Let's begin by looking at the above photos. What you will see quite easily here is that having your work right-side out means that it is in between you and the cable of your circular needle. That's what my friend found disrupted the flow of her knitting. As you sit, and especially when the piece has gained some length, it begins to push up and gathers in front of you. On the left, you can see the work is inverted, but you can clearly see all your live stitches and the RS (right side) of your work as well.

So, here are a few "pros" to knitting inside-out:

1. Your work falls more naturally.

When you knit inside-out, the piece falls downwards, away from you slightly, and you're still looking at the RS at all times, but your work falls straight down, not towards you. The cable of your circular needle is right in front of you while your work is growing away from you, not bunching up between you and your live stitches (no, not even your beautiful knitting should get in the way of your knitting! Haha!).

2. Your hands may sit more comfortably too.

Because there is nothing in your way and your work is not bunching up in front of you, your hands are free too.

3. It keeps my tension consistent.

No matter how long your work becomes, your view of the work remains the same and the arrangement of your needle is the same, because your work is not growing between you and your live stitches. Your live stitches are always in front of you, your hands are angled the same way throughout, there is less rearranging of your work on your lap so you knit longer before you need to pause.

If you're doing stranded colourwork, you will find that your consistency in tension will increase ten-fold because the strands have an even space to drape behind your work, for the whole knitted piece, whereas knitting right-side out will likely shorten your stranding, causing puckering and uneven tension in your colourwork.

4. Sleeves become easier to knit!

There has been an increasing interest in recent times, in 20cm/7.8in circular needles. I don't know that many people who love them. Most say they are awkward to use as there isn't enough room to hold the needles comfortably. Some say it hurt their wrists to use them etc.

I love my mini circulars!! I wondered why I felt alone about this. I may be wrong, but perhaps my fellow knitters who have given up on them, are knitting right-side out. As your sleeves gain length, you may feel the need to adjust the way you are holding the needles (it isn't greatly obviously in my photo on the right that I am holding the needles differently, but you can see how cumbersome the work is). If you're knitting inside-out however, you may feel more relaxed as you go around and around in bliss, without the fumbly magic-looping, or wrangling of 4-5 dpns. Your tension for sleeves will also be closer to your tension in the rest of the garment.

So, are you a die-hard inside-out knitter or do you prefer working rightside-out? Have I managed to at least get you to try knitting inside-out? :)

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