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Few words cause a new knitter to panic more than “join to begin knitting in the round.”  Join?  JOIN?  This direction inevitably leads to a litany of questions: How do I join?  Did I join correctly?  Can my project come un-joined?  What’s the best way to join?

Let’s demystify things a bit!  How you join your knitting often depends on your cast on.  If you’re using the long-tail cast-on, you’ll find that your working yarn is on your right-hand needle.  First, make sure your cast-on isn’t twisted.  Double check it!  Now, simply begin knitting, working the first few stitches a smidge tighter than you usually would.  Voilà!  Joined!

Other common cast-on methods including the knitted cast-on, cable cast-on, and reverse loop cast-on (also called single cast-on) will leave your working yarn on the left-hand needle.  This is a little trickier, but I have four solutions for you:

  1. Knit the first row flat, without joining.  Your yarn will end up on the right-hand needle, so you can now begin knitting in the round and find you’re joined!  This first flat row will be imperceptible — don’t worry!
  2. Cast on one extra stitch.  Pass the first cast-on stitch over to the left-hand needle and knit it together with the last cast-on stitch.  Joined!
  3. Carefully “trade” the first and last stitches between your needles.  This is NOT a good solution when working with a slippery yarn, but wool and wool blend yarns will do this easily.  Begin knitting.  Joined!
  4. With your working yarn held to the back, pass the first cast-on stitch over to your left-hand needle.  Bring the working yarn to the front, between the needles.  Pass this first stitch back over to the right-hand needle.  Take your working yarn to the back again, between the needles.  You’ve essentially “lassoed” this first stitch, and you’re joined! Begin knitting!