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Today we're kicking off the KAL by starting at the bottom and building a solid base.
Circular knitting: some swear by magic loop, other prefer two circulars and still other like the old fashion simplicity of double-pointed needles (dpns). As for me? I think they all do different things really well, so it's about matching the method to part of the project. So while the majority of this KAL will be shown using magic loop, I'm going to start on dpns - you can, of course, use whatever method you prefer. :)
Note: Click any photo in a grid to bring up a larger image.
Joining in the Round
When it comes to a very small number of stitches, I find dpns the easiest to handle, rather than constantly shifting around a circular cord. To join in the round, my favorite method is a follows:
- Spread your stitches evenly across 3 dpns, making sure that the stitches don't get twisted at the needle breaks (Check to make sure the loops/bumps under the needles all look the same).
- Shift the last stitch on the left hand needle to the right hand needle.
- Pull the stitch that is second-most to the left on the right hand needle (the first stitch you cast on), pull it over the stitch you just shifted and place it on the left needle.
- Now you're joined your stitches and can begin knitting in the round.
Increasing with KFBs
All of the increases in this pattern are KFBs or knit into the front, then back of the stitch. This increases one stitch, and leaves a rather visible bump or bar on the left at the increased stitch, with a smooth line on the original stitch. You'll want that line of the original stitch to continue unbroken up across series of increases.
- Insert your right-hand (RH) needle into the first stitch on the left-hand (LH) needle and knit as you normally would, but do not remove the stitch from the LH needle yet.
- Shift your RH needle so it goes through that same LH stitch, but through the back of the loop.
- Make a knit stitch and slip off the LH stitch off the needle. You'll have increased 1 st.
Changing from DPNs to Magic Loop
Because you'll be stuffing the duck as you go along, having the flexibility of a circular cable can be helpful, so once I reach a solid number of stitches on my dpns (about 10 per needle or more), I'll switch to using the magic loop technique. Two circular needles can accomplish this too.
However, when you're on dpns it's easy to use the needle breaks in lieu of stitch markers (and I try to design my animal patterns to make sense along those needle breaks), so you'll need to add them when you switch to the circular(s).
To switch, simply put down that 4th dpn you've been knitting with and pick up your circular and start knitting as usual, putting a stitch marker at each needle break.
Keep increasing (and keeping those increase lines nice and straight!) and next time we'll look at wrap and turn short rows for making that adorably curly tail.