Kniftybits's Blog

All knitting, all the time.

Translating Circular to Flat Knitting October 12, 2010

Knitting experts tell us knitting a flat gauge swatch (i.e. working back and forth) for a piece you plan to work in the round gives you an inaccurate gauge count.  Why?  Because if you knit every stitch circularly you produce stockinette stitch without the tedious process of purling and since most knitters purl at a different tension than they knit this skews your gauge.  However, most of us aren’t going to knit a gauge swatch circularly, because it’s just too much work.  And generally, you’ll be ok.  But, how do you translate a stitch from circular to flat knitting for your gauge swatch?

Here are several common stitches translated for a flat knitted gauge swatch.

Stockinette Stitch

Circular: Each round: Knit each stitch.

Flat instructions for your gauge swatch: Row 1: Knit      Row 2: Purl     Repeat these two rows until your gauge swatch measures 4″.

Knit Two, Purl Two Ribbing

Circular: Cast on stitches in multiples of four. Each round: K2, P2

Flat instructions for your gauge swatch: Cast on stitches in multiples of four.   Row 1: K2, P2      Row 2: P2, K2     Repeat these two rows until your gauge swatch measures 4″.

Garter Stitch

Circular: Rnd1: Knit        Rnd2: Purl        (Keep in mind, when knitting Garter Stitch in the round there will be a jog in the pattern where one round ends and the next begins.)

Flat instructions for your gauge swatch: Each Row: Knit     Repeat until your gauge swatch measures 4″.

Seed Stitch

Circular: Cast on an ODD number of stitches.  Each round: K1, P1

Flat instructions for your gauge swatch: Cast on an EVEN number of stitches.  Row 1: K1, P1      Row 2: P1, K1     Repeat these two rows until your gauge swatch measures 4″.

Basically, when knitting circularly you are ALWAYS working with the right/front side of the knitting facing you unlike flat knitting where, for example, with stockinette stitch your knit rows are the right/front side of the work and your purl rows is the wrong/reverse side of the fabric.

These are the same guidelines you would use if you wanted to translate a pattern written for circular knitting to flat knitting, though that’s just craziness! 😉

I hope this helps!  If you have any questions email me or drop me a comment!

Abbreviations: K – Knit, P – Purl, mm – millimeter, sts – stitches, ” – inches

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