How do I knit jogless stripes in the round?

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“How do I knit jogless stripes in the round?”

–Megan B.


Hi Megan,

Stripes are popular with almost all knitters since they add a bit of flair to otherwise plain vanilla projects while creating opportunities to use up leftover yarn in your stash. Unfortunately, knitting stripes in the round can present a bit of a problem. Each time a new color is added, a small hiccup or jog appears. This occurs because when we knit in a circular fashion, we are not working in a true circle. We are actually knitting in a spiral, and this means the beginning and end of of each round never actually meet. But fear not! There are a few easy techniques you can employ to create the appearance of smooth jogless stripes.

Slip Stitch Technique: Step One

Work the first stripe as directed by your pattern. Next, change colors and knit the first round. (For best results, always use a stitch marker to designate the end of each round.)

step 1 - small

Step Two

Slip the first stitch of the next round. (Take care to slip purlwise with the yarn in back so as not to twist the stitch.) Then complete the round in your established pattern whether it is garter, stockinette, lace, cables, etc.

step 2-small

Step Three

Work the next rounds in your established pattern until it is time to change color once again.

This slip stitch technique effectively lifts the line of stitches where the color changes to create the appearance of a smooth join. However, it also causes the work to pucker and creates a visible line when the lifts are stacked on top of each other. So this method is best for wide projects containing wide stripes of four or more rounds in each color. For narrower stripes, try working traveling stripes by moving the marker over by one stitch at each color change, thereby forcing the beginning of each round to shift to a new position. Traveling stripes will stagger the puckers around the work causing them to appearance less noticeable, but they can make some patterns like lace or fair isle more difficult to follow. Here’s another alternative:

Knit One Below Technique

Follow the instructions for Step One of the Slip Stitch Technique above. Then at the beginning  of the next round, insert the right hand needle into the first stitch on the row below. Knit it the “row below” sittch together with the first real stitch on the left hand needle.  Finish the round as normal and continue to step three as stated above.

knit below - small

Why not add stripes to your next pair of socks or to the sleeves of your next sweater? Armed with these relatively simple techniques, you can knit jogless stripes in the round anytime.