Thursday, August 16, 2007

Simple Ring Beginning for Circular Shawls

I was so taken by Jane's Lyra (actually Neibling's Lyra, but Jane alerted me to the pattern's existence, so she gets my credit), that I dug out the magazine and some black Zephyr to swatch it. I was astounded that the pattern has lain, dust-covered, for years amidst a large stack of Anna magazines. I subscribed to Anna a long time ago when I was in my sweater phase and, after 10 years of staring at ugly sweaters, I stopped my subscription.

After I saw Jane's post, I unearthed them from underneath a pile of old notebooks and nearly fainted with delight. They are FULL of Neibling designs. I found about 20 of them, including the gorgeous Lyra design.

I am a disaster with a crochet hook and DPN's are not my favorite,* so I spent an hour inventing a nice, simple way to begin circular shawls.

This is picture-intensive and I hope I can explain it so everyone can give it a try.

Basically, you make a loop and knit into it. When you have the correct number of stitches, you can arrange them on either DPNs or, as I did, two circulars and start knitting. After a few rows, or whenever you feel like it, you just pull on the end to close the circle.

Aside from not having to find or use a crochet hook, tatting shuttle, or any other esoteric object, the advantage of this method is that you can make the central loop nice and large. Doing so makes it easier to manipulate the multiple needles you need for circular beginnings.

I have never seen this method anywhere, but if someone else invented it already, my apologies for restating your elegant technique.

Here we go:

Flop the yarn over your hand thusly:


Flip your hand over...



...And make a loop.


Insert the needle into the loop..


...And bring the yarn over the top. One stitch made.



Now go under the needle and wrap the yarn for the second stitch.


And then over...


..and under as many times as you need stitches. End by going under, not over. You'll see why when you start to knit. The exact number isn't important, because you can slip off the excess stitch(es) later.


Start knitting. I use two circs, but DPN fans can begin juggling their needles of choice:


Here I am starting the second circ.


And I am at the end of the round, ready to start the second one.


Three rounds finished.


Pull on the end of the yarn to close the hole.


I love those 99-cent bamboo needles, too!

*I loathe, hate, and detest DPNs.

33 comments:

z's momma said...

Thanks so much! I just learned the crochet hook circular cast-on, and have been meaning to check this technique out too.

Also, totally envious of your stack of Anna mags. I've been checking ebay to figure out if there's any particular issue that actually fits my budget, and the ones with Niebling are just too expensive.

Can't wait to see your Lyra.

Janice in GA said...

That's kinda like that provisional cast-on over waste yarn, but in a circle. Cool!

Courtney said...

Thants :-) Your great!! I love the color of that yarn, it would make some crazy socks :-)

PenCraft said...

Wow! A stack of Burda's!! I love Niebling designs and Lyra is one of the most stunning. I just spent too much time this morning looking at this page: http://lyralearninggroup.blogspot.com/index.html

Someday, when I'm a good knitter, I will put together a shawl that incorporates one or two of the pattern repeats from a Niebling doily with a lovely edging to create a shawl. I'm sure you could do that now!
Thanks for the great blog.

Anonymous said...
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Opal said...

Oh the siren call of the Lyra is strong. Must. Resist.

Thanks for the excellent tutorial! It's important to have a good visual guide to such a vital technique.

Iris G said...

Twenty Neibling designs--I'm speechless and about to faint!
Thank you so much for sharing this great technique, as always your instructions are perfectly clear and easy to understand. And that colorful yarn looks cute, too ;-).

sjmercure said...

great technique! I'm seriously coveting that yarn. I luv bright colors!

Batty said...

Fabulous technique. Thanks for sharing!

Laritza said...

I do almost the same but with a crochet hook. Tug on the tail and it shuts it close!
I have a Niebling collection that is way out of control. Never paid more than retail for anything. Lyra went for over $150 on Ebay when we had the Lyra Learning group.

Jane said...

Dear fleegle,

Do you know after you said you found all those patterns in your old Anna magazines that I went over to an old stack of my craft magazines and found a Burda Special on Lace Knitting from 1995 and it was all Neibling patterns? I never knit from it since I was not really doing much lace at the time. I just bought it because it was pretty. I will be looking forward to your Lyra. As for E-bay and bidding on this pattern, I actually got an E-mail from the woman who I out-bid for my pattern. She got one for herself right afterwards so I don't feel so guilty.

Jane said...

Dear fleegle,

Menopausal moment. I LOVE your cast-on. I'm going to give it a try. I've never knit with 2 circular needles before. I use double pointed.

Ebony said...

Thanks so much for those instructions! I found them much easier to do than the Emily Ocher start, and now I am ready to try those circular shawl patterns that I've been avoiding due to my frustration with the circular beginning.

Anonymous said...

I think you are a very tolerant knitter - ten years of "ugly patterns? Big thanks for the tutorial - been thinking about circ knitting - this fits the need for a smooth beginning w/o the fuss! Now I gotta look thru my old stuff to see what I unearth, I think you and Lacefreak are onto something! Terry

fluffbuff said...

Thank you for this clear tutorial! I haven't ventured into the world of circular shawls yet, but I was wondering how to get one started.

BadCatDesigns said...

Like EZ's temporary cast-on, just in the round! Very sweet...

Angeluna said...

Fleegle dear, this method is soooo cool. What a gal! Thanks.

FUZZARELLY said...

I visited the link you had to the low cost cashmere store. You are bad! I spent $50 before I knew it.

I love your site and appreciate all the work you put into it. I like spinning laceweight and knitting lace, but not exclusively.

Dave said...

This is most excellent, and timely. ;-) Thanks so much!

Hidden gems indeed -- you could probably just about retire if you sold your mags. Neiblings are in high demand.

2trees said...

Thought you might want to know that Thom Christoph is trying to take credit for *your* circular beginning (see A Gathering of Lace, pg 163). What nerve!

miyamojo said...

I'm so thankful that you post these clear directions on how to do things the easy way...
for those of us (me) who can't think outside the 'box' and just follow written patterns without question!
m :)

LittleBerry said...

very good instructions as ever and a practical lady after my own heart :) if I ever decide to do a circular shawl (I don't really fancy them at the moment) I know where to come to start off. Thanks

Soo said...

What an odd coincidence - last weekend I stumbled across the Lyra somewhere in blogland (I don't even really remember where) and immediately became obsessed!

I bought a copy of the magazine (in German*) on eBay last Sunday and I'm gathering the materials to make on for my mother for Christmas (fingers crossed and the knitting gods willing)>


*no, I don't understand German, but I'm hoping the charts and expertise of people like you will help me through!! Already I've learned how to start it.

KnitYoga said...

That method looks really interesting and I must try it next time I need to make a circular start. I love the way you can just pull on the end to make the hole in the centre close up tight. It looks really neat! Thank you!

Kathy said...

Oh Jane is a devil herself, she splashes pictures of doily loveliness all over her blog, then what do you know, I dig out a doily pattern to knit one for myself, then start trolling ebay for neibling. A couple bids so far, one out bid, but Lyra isn't the top of the list for me.

Thanks for showing that cast on method, I usually use the crochet cast on too, but will try this one.

Kathy

Anonymous said...

I'm not up to knitting laceweight or even large doilies. But what a great tutorial!
Now I have one less excuse for not starting to knit lace.
So perhaps I shall start with a Hemlock Blanket.

Thank you,
Janey
janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca

Knittinannie said...

love this technique but I think it is "Emily Ocker's cast-on" from way baack. She was an extrodinary crocheter and used a crochet hook instead of the knitting needle.

Thanks for inventing this newer version using the knitting needle!

Batty said...

Heh, this is sort of a crossover between the crochet start in the round and tatting! I'll be trying it out tonight, as I'm casting on for the Shipwreck shawl. Can't wait to see how it goes.

Holly said...

Um... so, this seems to make oodles of sense to everyone else, but I seem to be missing something. How the heck do you get from stitch one to stitch two? From what I can tell, stitch one isn't even really a solid stitch. Please help!

fleegle said...

Dear Holly--

All I can say is study the pictures. There is a real Stitch #2. Lots of people use this technique and most of us are not crazy!

Lia Nord said...

There's a version of this in Charlene Schurch's More Sensational Knitted Socks, p. 75, which she calls Loop de Loop--similar in spirit but not exactly the same. Your explanation and pictures are great! I only offer the reference in case someone wants to see a slightly different way. I love it for toe-up socks and for circular shawls. Thanks!

al oof said...

i can't figure it out either! it looks like you need to go through the loop with the not-tail end, but how can you do that?

Nicole said...

I'm also terribly confused :( My email address is quixoticvignette @ gmail.com; if you could maybe send me an email, that'd be great. Thanks!