Knittingfilter: Is This Twisted Hat Salvageable?
December 9, 2016 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I was careful not to twist my stitches while casting on, nor in the first few rows, and I've really enjoyed the beginnings of this piece. Until I realized: the twisting just keeps twisting.

Everything I've searched online and in books contains advice for twisting during cast-on or about intentionally twisted stitches. I just need to know if, partway through the first bands of this hat, my work has twisted irrevocably. Is there any chance I can straighten it out as I decrease and transfer to double-pointed needles at the end of the pattern?

If it's toast, I guess I also need to know how to avoid doing this in the future, assuming I am meticulous about casting on. Would stitch markers help with this?
posted by witchen to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oof. I don't think there's much you can do about that other than start again, unfortunately. Stitch markers won't help in the future - you just have to be really, really careful when joining in the round and make sure the work is all turned the same way. (I usually check about 10 times, because I have accidentally created Möbius scarves before.)

Still, I would try to straighten it out one more time before you give up, just to make sure it's not salvageable. Moving it to another pair of circs could help with that.
posted by minsies at 11:58 AM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

It's hard for me to tell from the picture, but if you can't untwist your hat, you probably twisted the stitches when you joined them to knit in the round. This is the curse of knitting in the round, unfortunately. If the stitches aren't all lined up the same way when you join the work, you get a mobius strip thing that never untwists. It's apparently possible to fix it if you catch it while you're knitting the first row, but after that you're screwed and have to unravel and start again. I've found that it's easier to tell if my stitches are twisted if I knit a row flat and then join, so I usually do that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:59 AM on December 9, 2016 [8 favorites]

One more factor: when I was checking to be sure the work was all turned the same way, the direction I chose was inward--probably it would make sense, knitting something that will be several inches long, to have it turned outward so it's not all crammed together. Maybe this was my error?
posted by witchen at 12:01 PM on December 9, 2016

As long as they're all facing the same way, it doesn't matter which way they're facing. You can flip the whole thing around if you want to. Imagine that you've got a stitch that looks like "d" it's facing one way and "q" if it's facing the other. It doesn't matter if your stitches are lined up like "dd" or like "qq", but if you've got "dq" then you're going to have a twisted hat that will never untwist.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:06 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

I've done this a bunch of times. There's no way to fix it and have the hat look un-twisted, but if you've knit less than an inch or so, you can twist the stitches again so they're all flat (meaning you'lol being part of your knitting over the needle and back down again), and you'lol have a lumpy spot that's perfect for a crochet flower or other embellishment.
posted by third word on a random page at 12:31 PM on December 9, 2016

I'd go with it! You could make an interesting and cute hat with an intentionally twisted brim. Cast off what you've currently got. Choose a new, straight path of stitches to be a new starting row and thread that path onto your circular needles, then just start knitting it.

I'm not an expert knitter -- I've only made a few hats -- but I think it could be really great. Knit enough rows so that the current flippy bit can fold entirely up onto the bottom of the hat (so, maybe not saving you a lot of work). If it ends up flopping down, or just looks odd, try pinning a bit of it up, either with a little yarn tying or with a pretty pin or button.
posted by amtho at 12:45 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Note that even if you successfully join in the round without twisting, it is possible to get a twist in the first row or two if you're not careful. I often suggest to beginners that they work the first inch or so flat. Joining is much easier if you have a bit of fabric already on the needles, and you can sew up that inch with the tail yarn.
posted by rikschell at 12:55 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Welcome to the world of frogging!! I have a headband/wrap that I made recently that I am just not in love with, so will probably rip it out and use the yarn to make a hat instead. My goal is the final object being loved, mistakes are ok(and I will leave them in sometimes), and something that isn't turning out how I want it should just be started over. My first few items were much more precious, though, and I still have the first scarf I made that is wider at one end!

When I'm knitting in the round, after I have all the stitches I need cast on, I double check my stitches. You can then knit a few stitches and double check, and then just take out a few stitches instead of a few inches. It also helps to do a more substantial cast on (I have been doing a simple knitted cable cast on, which essentially gives you a small base to work from so you can see the direction all your cast on stitches are facing).
posted by DoubleLune at 2:38 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

To be crystal clear: are you saying that when you joined the round together, there was a twist in that? Or are you saying that you knitted individual stitches the wrong way? The latter is what I've heard called "twisted stitches."
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:53 PM on December 9, 2016

To be crystal clear: are you saying that when you joined the round together, there was a twist in that? Or are you saying that you knitted individual stitches the wrong way? The latter is what I've heard called "twisted stitches."

I think neither? I was very careful to have all the stitches facing the same way (bulky side inward) when casting on, knitting the first row, and joining, then the next few rows (stockinette stitch and reverse stockinette stitch to make horizontal ribs) and I thought I was good until I got engrossed in dang ol' Netflix and then I looked down and the work was wrapped around itself.
posted by witchen at 2:58 PM on December 9, 2016

Might it just be that your circular cord is rather curly? Stop knitting partway through a round so you have a good bunch of stitches on each needles. Hold the two needles parallel to each other and pair up the two sides of the knitting with the needle tips at one end and the middle of the cord on the other. If you can make the knitting match up flat all along the needle and cord, then it's not twisted and the knitting is just not heavy enough yet to make the cord uncurl. (I mean, it doesn't have to be flat the whole way down from the tips to the midpoint, if your circular is smaller than your project's circuference. Just make sure it *can* all lay flat - so smooth out the first few inches, make sure they are going the same way, then smush them toward the needle as you make sure the next bit is flat, and so on. I can take a picture of what I mean if that is helpful, I am having trouble describing it in words.)

If you find a point where the two sides can't match up flatly, then your cast-on was probably twisted.
posted by kyla at 3:35 PM on December 9, 2016

You're only in the beginnings of the hat, so you might as well redo it. It's super easy to twist the first few beginner rows until the item grows heavier and stays in place on its own. A stitch marker could help you. You could put one at the start of your row as a reminder to check the lay of your stitches before you continue knitting.
posted by Stonkle at 3:54 PM on December 9, 2016

I agree with kyla -- from your photo, it's hard to tell if the cast-on is actually twisted or if your knitting's just gotten wrapped around the cord. If you follow their directions and the problem is the cast-on, then yeah, start over -- you're only a few rows in, and being able to rip back and start over without getting too discouraged is a valuable skill for any knitter to learn. (Just the other day I got 36 rows into a sock before I realized that I'd tensed up while knitting and made it unsalvageably tight, so I feel you.)

Aside from knitting the first row flat, you may find Dee's No Twist Circular Knitting Cast-on to be helpful in the future!
posted by bettafish at 4:22 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yep, from looking at it, it got twisted when you joined it in the round -- which is easy to do even if you've double- and triple-checked it before joining, alas. I still manage to do that, and I've been knitting for almost 20 years.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:03 AM on December 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Looking at your photo carefully, it looks like you've actually twisted it at about row 4 or 5, as there's a white stripe crossing the cast on near the tail at the bottom. I would unravel back to the beginning of the white and see if it flattens itself out.
posted by kjs4 at 3:47 PM on December 11, 2016

« Older Help Plan An Imperial Whistle Stop   |   Gift ideas for a dude who likes weird things Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.