Round to flat, flat to round, part 3.


This is the last installment of my series of posts about converting stitch patterns from written for flat knitting to written for knitting in the round (and vice versa).

I’m going to use the stitch that was the basis for my Pinion hat.  (Though I had to make a lot of tweaks to make it work for a beret).

This is Spiral Stitch, from Mon Tricot’s 900 Stitches Patterns.

spiral stitch

Round 1: *p3, yo, k4, k2tog, k3.*
Round 2: *p3, k1, yo, k4, k2tog, k2.*
Round 3: *p3, k2, yo, k4, k2tog, k1.*
Round 4: *p3, k3, yo, k4, k2tog.*

Note: this biases strongly to the right as shown in this pair of socks I knit:

3160993854_ee571a426d_zMy stitch dictionary lists it as a stitch to be worked in the round, which is really no surprise given that there is lace on every round. That said, it’s certainly quite possible to work flat.

The first thing to know is that decreases are kind of the same from front to back. That is, a right-leaning decrease on the front will also be a right leaning decrease on the back, so k2tog on the front will be p2tog on the back and vice versa. A left-leaning decrease on the front is a left-leaning decrease on the back, so ssk (or s-k-psso) will be ssp (or p2tog tbl).

Digression: This can actually produce unexpected effects. A pair of decreases that lean like this on the front:

/  \

Will lean like this on the back:

\  /

Okay, back to the stitch pattern at hand.

Every other round can stay as it is written and still end up with flat knitting, so the first row can just be copied over:

Row 1: *p3, yo, k4, k2tog, k3.*

Row 2, however, is going to be read from right to left, and we need to flip the stitches so that the correct thing will show on the right side. The first instruction I see is k2, so that will be p2. The next is k2tog, so that will be p2tog. K4 will be p4; yo is yo regardless; k1 becomes p1, p3 becomes k3. So:

Row 2: *p2, p2tog, p4, yo, p1,k3.*

Row 3 is just copied over from Round 3:

Round 3: *p3, k2, yo, k4, k2tog, k1.*

Row 4, read from right to left and flipped over:

Row 4: *p2tog, p4, yo, p3, k3.*

To sum up:

Row 1: *p3, yo, k4, k2tog, k3.*
Row 2: *p2, p2tog, p4, yo, p1,k3.*
Row 3: *p3, k2, yo, k4, k2tog, k1.*
Row 4: *p2tog, p4, yo, p3, k3.*

By the way, the chart above looks nice and square, doesn’t it? But if you look at the stitch map, you can really see how it leans to the right.

2 thoughts on “Round to flat, flat to round, part 3.

  1. Rebecca

    Hello! Have you ever decreased in pattern with the spiral stitch? I’m making a hat and am having a lot of trouble decreasing in pattern. Any tips? Thanks!

    – your fellow string nerd

    1. Naomi Parkhurst

      That one is tricky. When I designed Pinion, I had a hard time with that very thing. I’m going to tell you my general thought process rather than the details.

      Here’s how I thought about it: lace involves a decrease for every yarn over because a yarn over is an increase. So instead of finding a place to add extra decreases, you could leave out yarn overs instead. This will change the appearance of the stitch pattern, but it can’t be helped. The other things that will help as you get closer to the top: narrowing the purl rib by doing a p2tog and using k3tog instead of k2tog.

      I would suggest putting in regular lifelines and experimenting, or else swatching. Those are often my methods for dealing with something like that.

      The other part of the problem is figuring out how many decreases/missing increases to have per round. I’m assuming you’re knitting a bottom up hat? Generally speaking, you want to decrease away 6-10 stitches every other round. Depending on the number of pattern repeats you’re using, you might find it easier to decrease by 3-5 stitches on every round. If you have 7 repeats or some other prime number, that’s a stickier question. I’d be happy to help work that out, given more information.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *