Very regularly, I receive comments or private messages asking if it is possible to convert a flat knit knitting pattern for circular needles. Indeed, all knitters have their preference on this subject. Fortunately, most patterns can be converted from one to the other easily.
Just follow a few simple rules and you can do it for almost any project you want.
Avoid models that should not be converted for “flat” knitting
I know, I just said that most patterns could be converted, but “most” does not mean “all” and sometimes it’s really not a good idea to convert the pattern to flat knit then that it should be knitted with circular needle.
I’m thinking in particular of Fair Isles patterns that are very difficult to convert for flat knitting and this for several reasons. First of all, the patterns are supposed to be knitted in round so as not to have too many tangled little bits of yarn. With so many yarn changes, converting this knitting can really make things difficult (and knitting painful!).
Similarly, it is better not to try to convert the lace patterns and it is better to stick to the original pattern. Although the patterns can be easily converted, it can be very complicated to convert a pattern that has specific instructions for each row!
Read the pattern carefully before you start
If the pattern use unusual construction techniques or a lace pattern with specific points on each row, forget the conversion! Of course, this also depends on your level and your knowledge of the pattern and only you can make this decision (at your own risk, however).
Knit your sample in round
Culture spot, knitting in the round makes you knit slightly more than when you are knitting flat. It is therefore necessary to make a good sample to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Remove all edge stiches when calculating the number of stitches
For example, if you have to cast on 102 stitches for the front of your sweater (100 stitches for the body and 2 edge stitches) and 112 stitches for the back (110 stitches for the body and 2 edge stitches), you will need to cast on 210 stitches in all to knit it with circular neeedles
Remember that all wrong side rows will be worked opposite as they shown.
The purl stitches will be knitted, the knitted stitches will be purled while the lace and the twists will be worked upside down. If you have a grid, you can read the rows from right to left.
Do not be afraid to put several markers!
Often, I put a color to see clearly the beginning of the sleeve, another to separate the front and the back of the sweater. This allows me to follow the different instructions for each piece without tying the needles. I also like to use it for lace or twists.
If your pattern has sleeves …
You can knit them flat and sew them to the rest. Another option is to take armhole stitches and knit a short sleeve start. It only remains to decrease at the intervals indicated on the pattern.
The conversion of knitting patterns according to your preferences can help you to avoid many run of bad luck with seams (especially if you do not like it). Although it is better to learn to knit with both techniques, the conversion allows you to not be limited and save yourself the step of seams.
If you follow these tips, everything should be fine during your next conversion 😉