Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Circular Start Revisted...

One of the frequent barriers knitters have, to projects that start from the center, is the start. A center start can be frustrating, especially in very fine yarn; frustrating but achievable. The more you do it the easier it becomes. Practice makes perfect and all that... Less experienced knitters should not avoid patterns that have a center start. I suggest you do the opposite. Jump in and try a few different techniques. There are many free patterns on the Internet for doilies, which usually have a center start. The start for my recent doily involved making a loop and picking up stitches from either side of the "hole," placing the stitches on double pointed needles, and pulling both ends to snug it up. You can see the results here. Fleegle shows an excellent technique that involves the same process, using two circular needles. You can see a full discussion of her technique here:
I used an entirely different technique for The Veil of Isis, because I started with only four stitches, which is a different challenge. You can see the entire process for that technique here:

Another blogger, Rosemarie Buchanan, shows yet another excellent circular start here: , which she calls a "belly button" start. Another great option for a center start with few stitches.

Yet another excellent resource can be found here at Judy Gibson's site: , which covers Emily Ocker's circular start. You can also find an illustrated description of the same start here, in this wonderful book.

The circular start is at the back of the book, but it comes along with a discussion of Pi Shawls (and other great EZ stuff.) Just think! For very little money, you can buy this book, see an excellent circular start AND try it to make a Pi shawl! What could be better? Maybe a doily, you say? Well try this:

This website is owned and maintained by Nurhanne Reckweg, who has translated some of the best doily patterns on the Internet, and the above link takes you to some tips and tricks for doily knitting. While you are on her site, I suggest you look around and find the free doily patterns, which you can use with any of these circular starts. CAST ON!

12/15/07 Addition! Fleegle sent me this link: which shows a Turkish style cast-on. The selling point of this technique is that you do not have a hole in the center when you are done. This might be a good option in certain situations, and Fleegle says it is an easy way to negotiate just four stitches for a center start. I have only used this technique for starting socks from the toe and hats from the top, but I will try it for lace the next chance I get. Meow...


  1. I started a new shawl this week that began with 4 stitches. I used the Turkish cast-on for it. That worked very nicely!

  2. thanks for posting all these great links! I always have such a hard time starting circular lacy pieces, maybe this time I can get a handle on it! (and practice, practice, practice)