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Jogless Garter Stitch in the Round: Comparison of Four Methods

Way back in 2018 I shared my simple hack for knitting jogless garter stitch in the round. In this post I'll revisit that method, compare it with other solutions, and in the process unvent a whole new method! Read on to find out which one of them — if any — results in the best, most invisible way of producing jogless garter stitch.


A small caveat: in this post I'll review one-yarn methods only. There is a way to apply helical knitting to create jogless garter stitch (similar to helix stripes) but that involves juggling two yarns.


But first: what is jogless garter stitch and why should you care?


 

What's the Jog?

It may come as a surprise but knitting in the round is actually knitting in a spiral. The beginning and end of round never meet at the same level — they're always offset from one another by the height of one row. Interweave have a great illustration of this phenomenon: the last stitch of the first round is connected to the first stitch of the second round.


If you're working in one-color stockinette, the spiral nature of in-the-round knitting is completely invisible and poses no problems. The beginnings and ends of the round look exactly the same so you can't see where the round changes from one to the next.


But things can get a little dicey with any stitch pattern that involves alternating knits and purls, stripes, or colorwork — basically anything other than plain stockinette. The visual discrepancy you get at the change of rounds is called the jog which Merriam-Webster defines as "a brief abrupt change in direction".


The jog in garter stitch in the round creates a vertical seam.
The jog in garter stitch in the round creates a vertical seam.

In garter stitch this jog is especially jarring: it's the place where knits change to purls and vice versa. If nothing is done at the beginning of round (BOR), the jogs that happen on every round look like a seam in the middle of your otherwise seamless knitting.


What can you do? Next, I'll examine four ways of knitting jogless garter stitch and compare them side by side.


Method 1: Slip 1 with Yarn in Front

This is the hack I developed for my 2018 blog post, and it's really simple. First, knit one round to get going, then repeat these two rounds.


  • Purl round: Purl around.

  • Knit round: Slip 1 with yarn in front (sl1 wyif), knit to end.


Blurring the lines: slipping with yarn in front hides the jog under a bar of yarn.
Blurring the lines: slipping with yarn in front hides the jog under a bar of yarn.

That little bar of yarn you get from the sl1 wyif mimics the loops of reverse stockinette, and hides the transition from round to round. While this easy trick is certainly an improvement over doing nothing, there's a downside to the simplicity: it's by no means entirely invisible. Instead of a clear, sharp discontinuity at the BOR you get a blurred-out disruption in the garter stitch pattern.


Method 2: Lift a Strand and P2tog

This method comes courtesy of the designer behind the moniker SeventhSedge and is based on lifting the running bar between stitches as if making a strand increase.


  • Knit round: Knit around.

  • Purl round: Purl to the last stitch of the round and slip it with yarn in back. Lift the strand between the last stitch you slipped and the first stitch of the next round by bringing the working needle from front to back (as if making a M1R increase). Replace both the picked-up strand and the slipped stitch back on the holding needle, then purl them together (P2tog).


Lifting a strand and purling it together with a stitch creates a downward-slanting transition across the BOR.
Lifting a strand and purling it together with a stitch creates a downward-slanting transition across the BOR.

It took me a few tries to figure out exactly which way to lift the bar and which direction to twist the stitch so that you don't accidentally create holes in your work. P2tog-ing the lifted bar and the previous stitch can feel a bit awkward — and you'd want to work that decrease quite firmly — but the result is a relatively smooth transition across the BOR. This method tends to create a downward slant in the garter ridges and slightly longer purl bumps right before the BOR but both are nearly imperceptible.


Method 3: Short Rows

The short-row method for jogless garter stitch in the round has an additional benefit: you don't have to purl at all!


First, knit one round to get everything started. Then repeat this:


  • Purl round: Slip the first stitch, bring the working yarn to the front between stitches, replace the stitch, and turn your work. In short: wrap & turn. Knit to the last stitch going on the outer rim of the work (that is, knitting inside out). When you reach the last stitch that was slipped in the beginning of the round, pick up the wrap, and knit the stitch together with its wrap.

  • Knit round: Wrap the first stitch and turn, then continue knitting in the usual direction to the last stitch. Pick up the wrap and knit it together with its base stitch.


Short rows: great for avoiding purling, not for hiding the jog.
Short rows: great for avoiding purling, not for hiding the jog.

The short-row method is more of a solution to avoid purling when doing garter stitch in the round but it does an OK-ish job as a jogless method, too. It's far from seamless, though, and this method tends to create thicker fabric on both sides of the BOR where wraps are worked together with their corresponding stitches.


Method 4: Moving the BOR

This last method comes from 2008 blog post, and it involves gradually shifting the BOR forward by one stitch on each round.


First, knit one round to get started. Then repeat these two rounds:


  • Purl round: Remove BOR marker, slip 1 with yarn in back, replace marker, purl around including the stitch that was slipped in the beginning.

  • Knit round: Remove BOR marker, slip 1 with yarn in back, replace marker, knit around including the stitch that was slipped in the beginning.


Moving the BOR creates a jagged diagonal line.
Moving the BOR creates a jagged diagonal line.

Where the moving BOR method excels in comparison to the others is in preventing subsequent jogs from stacking up in the same place. Hiding the actual transition from round to round? Not so much. The result is a jagged diagonal line that travels upwards with the BOR from its original position to the new.


If only there were a method that did both of those things well!


Best of Both Worlds: Combining Methods 1 and 4

Maybe there is. What happens if you combine methods 1 (slipping with yarn in front) and 4 (moving the BOR)?


If you recall (or scroll up) back to method 1, slipping a stitch with yarn in front creates a bar of yarn that hides the transition from round to round. But this is just one half of getting jogless garter stitch. The other half is preventing the jogs from happening in the same vertical line, and this is achieved by shifting the BOR forward as in method 4.


Here's how this best-of-both-worlds jogless method goes. Again, knit one round to get things started, then repeat this:


  • Purl round: Purl around.

  • Knit round: Remove BOR marker, slip 1 with yarn in front (sl1 wyif), replace marker, knit to last stitch, purl the stitch that was slipped in the beginning.



With this Franken-method you still get a diagonal line that travels up with the moving BOR but it's now less conspicuous. Because the BOR is shifted only on every other round, the angle is sharper. Would I want this on the front a sweater? No. On a sleeve cuff? Maybe… given the right yarn and a lot of blocking.


Conclusion

So what's the verdict? Is there one jogless method that outperforms the rest?


Jogless garter stitch in the round: side-by-side comparison.
Jogless garter stitch in the round: side-by-side comparison.

Compared with doing nothing at all to hide the jog, methods 1 (slip 1 with yarn in front) and 2 (lift the bar and P2tog) perform the best. Method 3 (short rows) is good for no-purl garter stitch in the round but not so much as a jogless method. Method 4 (moving the BOR) is possibly the worst of the bunch: it doesn't hide the jog and might even move it to a more obvious place.


None of the methods 1 through 4 alone create a perfectly seamless, jogless garter stitch. For most invisible results you need to combine elements of different methods: slipping with yarn in front to hide the jog (method 1) and shifting the BOR to move the jog (method 4). Given the right circumstances the resulting diagonal line can be nearly imperceptible… but by no means perfectly invisible.


 

Pin this post!

How do you knit jogless garter stitch in the round? In this blog post I compare four different methods of hiding the jog: the position at the beginning of the round where knits change to purls. Which one of them performs the best? And what happens when you combine the best aspects of two methods into one Franken-method? Learn the best method for knitting jogless garter stitch in the round in this blog post! #knitting #knit #knittingtips #garterstitch

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Thank you so much for those useful tips, Susanna! A lof of research and work went into this blog post. I think I will use methode #1 for 'simple' knits, and then combine method #1 and #4 for 'chic' knits 😊

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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