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Greetings, knitters! We are delighted to welcome our newest columnist at MDK: expert knitter, designer, and taker-of-no-prisoners Patty Lyons.

An experienced advisor, today Patty kicks off a new column to solve all your knitterly (and some of your non-knitterly) problems. Patty has yet to see a problem, knitting related or otherwise, that could back her down. 

Do you have a problem you’d like Patty to tackle? Write to her at 

–Kay and Ann


“People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn’t stop you from having your own opinion.”

–Anne Frank

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

–Steve Jobs

“If you had a dollar for every opinion you had, you’d be a millionaire.”

–Patty’s mother

It was statements like these, and the not-infrequent suggestion by family members that I go to law school, that told me from an early age that perhaps I was opinionated. It’s no surprise, then, that I loved advice columns. It is also no surprise I had a strong opinion about which advice column was best.

I loved Dear Abby. It was the first thing I read each Sunday, even before the comics. Let me be clear, my love of Dear Abby was in no way a reflection on Ann Landers. I’m sure Ann Landers was a wonderful writer; it’s just that we were a Tribune family and Ann Landers was a Sun-Times gal.

Dear Abby believed anything you cared about you should care about enough to have an opinion on. We knitters care about our knitting … a lot. I’ve been teaching knitting for many years now, and the most important thing I’ve learned is: knitters have opinions. Lots of them! I’ve always said get 10 knitters in a room together, odds are there will be eleven opinions. (It’s one of my favorite things about knitters.)

Knitters also come up with the most amazing questions. I’ve been proud and happy to answer your questions in emails, PMs, and tweets, in my Ravelry group, and in various advice columns for quite some time now, and I’m so excited that “Ask Patty” is now joining Modern Daily Knitting. This will be a space for questions and opinions. Think of me as the Dear Abby for knitters.

There’s no question too technical-nerdy or too etiquette-sensitive. Techniques, tips, how to, knitting decorum, lifestyle questions, you name it. E-mail your questions to:

Without further ado, let’s dig into the mailbag.

 Hi, Patty:

 I love knitting in the round and I make a million hats. I hate the gap when you join in the round. I use the long tail cast on and I’ve managed to reduce the gap by working the first stitch tightly, but that makes sort of a lumpy bit. It used to be worse when I used a slip knot in the cast on (that left a big lump), and now I just use a twist to start, but it still looks bad. It’s hard to describe, but it looks like the sides don’t match up and the first stitch is really open. What am I doing wrong? I’m really careful when I join, but there’s still a weird gap!! Is there a way to avoid it? Fix it? 

Running in Circles!

Dear Running in Circles,

I have good news and bad news and good news for you. The good news is, you’re not doing anything wrong. The bad news is, what you see is not a gap from joining in the round but the jog from the nature of working in the round. The other good news is there’s a trick to avoid that jog and to fix it if it’s already there.

When you work in the round, you are not really working in the round, but rather in a spiral. If you’ve ever knit stripes in the round, you can see that spiral clearly. Think about a Slinky: for fun it’s a wonderful toy, and your circular knitting is fun for a girl and a boy (ugh, now I have that song stuck in my head).

A Slinky has a little jog at the start and the end. It’s that annoying bit of loose metal that would always get caught on the shag carpet and bend your Slinky. 

This jog is equally annoying in your knitting. First let’s look at a way you can lessen the effect if you cast on traditionally.

Here’s what it looks like after knitting just a few stitches: you can see how once you join in the round, the spiral to trouble begins. You also have the issue of the unconnected cast-on edge.

The long tail cast on edge is made from one piece of yarn on your finger being pulled through the loop you make with your thumb yarn. Each stitch seems to emerge from a tiny twist and is connected to the one that comes before and after it. All of them except for the first stitch and the last stitch. Luckily you have a yarn tail that you have to get rid of anyway, so you might as well put it to work. What we are going to do is create another little twist to connect the first stitch cast on to the last stitch cast on.

Put your yarn tail on a tapestry needle and bring it up, back to front between stitch 1 and 2.

Now bring the tapestry needle down, from front to back through the V of stitch 1.

Finally, bring the tapestry needle from front to back between the last stitch cast on and the second to the last stitch and weave the tail in to the back.

It’s a fake to smooth out the jog, and it looks pretty darn good.

However, for your next in-the-round project, there is a little trick to smoothing out that jog.

Here’s the trick: Start by casting on an extra stitch. Slip the first stitch you cast on from the left needle to the right needle and place your end-of-round marker.

Join in the round by knitting the second stitch cast on, continue to work in pattern until you get to two stitches before the end of round marker, and then work those two stitches together.

Ta-da, jog smoothed! It’s as close as you can come to the jogless join trick used for striping … but that’s a subject for another day.

So fix it if you’ve already cast on, or cast on better for your next project. Either way, no more Slinky…and now the song is back in my head.


Dear Patty,

When I was in college, my mother used to send me Cathy cartoons that she would clip out of the newspaper with a little note clipped to them like “isn’t that just a hoot.” I used to hate it. Now that I am a knitter and I am emailed, PMed, DMed, IMed and every other kind of annoying M-ed, with every “knitting is the new yoga” story by all my well-meaning friends, I would literally kill to be back to getting one Cathy cartoon in the mail once a month. I love that my friends and family are excited by my knitting, but what do you do when you get sent 1,000 copies of the chicken wearing sweaters story in the same week, or the “breaking news” that knitting is good for you, or how (gasp) even not-nearly-dead people knit. It’s enough to make you go off the grid entirely.

Drowning in Emails in Illinois

Dear Drowning,

Full disclosure, after reading your letter I did have to put my head between my knees, curl up in a tiny ball, and gently rock back and forth quietly chanting “knitting is not the new yoga, knitting is not the new yoga, knitting is not the new yoga,” until I felt calm enough to respond.

But seriously, knitting is not the new anything! Knitting is old, yoga is old, how could an old thing be a new old thing?? Yes it is my grandma’s knitting. It is literally exactly the same as my grandma’s knitting. It is a string and two sticks and it makes a thing where there was no thing … and what’s your damage with my Grandma!

OK, where to start? First off, I have tried many methods to deal with this one, and it depends on the category the “news” falls into: annoying, obvious, and true vs. annoying, unnecessary, and not true.

I began by answering every email or message. I started with a simple “thanks, I’ll read that,” but over time my answers started to become more and more passive aggressive: “A man knitting on the subway! What will they think of next! Why I once saw a woman doing math on the subway. Can you imagine, a woman … doing math. Math!”

For the category of annoying, obvious, and true (e.g., knitting is good for your health, men knit too, even young people are knitting), I found moving to a simple form email sent as a response to everyone, gently got my point across:

Dear friend, relative, or coworker,

Thank you for the article, cartoon, or video about knitting, yarn bombing, or crochet (yes it was crochet even though the headline said knitting). It was very funny, interesting, or moving. 

I certainly will consider the topic covered in this article, get a chuckle out of the cartoon or video, or consider knitting aforementioned item for aforementioned event. 


Your friend, relative, or coworker

For the category of annoying, unnecessary, and not true, I’ve had to resort to the same method I use for every Facebook message warning me not to accept a friend request from (fill in the blank). True, there is not a dedicated Snopes page for knitting (although, dear God, there totally should be), but still, do a quick Google search and you can come up with articles titled “Newtown asks people to please stop sending Teddy Bears,” “Please don’t knit a sweater for a penguin,” and perhaps my favorite “9 Reasons Your Chicken Should Not Wear a Sweater.” Simply cut and paste the link without commentary.

Good luck and godspeed my friend, and just know you are not alone. You are not alone.


[Editor’s note: Check out Patty’s updating of these techniques here.]

About The Author

Patty Lyons is a nationally recognized knitting teacher and technique expert. In her pursuit of training the mindful knitter, Patty is known for teaching the “why” in addition to the “how.” She specializes in sweater design and sharing her love of the much-maligned subjects of gauge and blocking.

You can find Patty at her website and on Ravelry.

Do you have a problem you’d like Patty to tackle? Write to her at



  • How completely relatable and utterly fantastic! (Chickens in sweaters, indeed!) I predict that this is going to become a favorite feature of mine…

    • Oh, mercy…..if someone does knit a sweater for a chicken, I do hope they make it a wattle (turtle) neck. Get it? LOL!!

    • The practice of chicken sweaters began in the UK to keep rescued hens warm and not pecked by other chickens. You may not know but chickens are mean little beasties that pull feathers out of each other and pick their flesh to the bone. In rehabilitation centers sweaters are used to warm the featherless victims and give the bullies something to victimize rather than tearing flesh.

  • Great read. I’ve used the extra stitch BO for the jog but I seem to get a little sloppy at times. Will now do the K2 tog which I think will result in a firmer stitch. Thanks! Looking forward to more advice.

  • A friend sent me an article about a performance artist who put the yarn in her vagina, then knit it. Hahahahahahahhahahaha Nothing beats that; unless of course she was knitting sweaters for chickens.

    • Some things are better left unshared. Please!

    • Was she knitting a pussy hat? (I couldn’t help it. Forgive me if I offended.)

      • Best laugh of the week!

      • Offended? More like LOL!!

    • AHHHHH. I can’t un see that!!! I’m shocked that I haven’t seen that article yet. Oh, wait, my phone just dinged a new email.

      • Memo from the Editors: Patty, we encourage you not to write up the how to on this. We feel strongly that knitters need to walk their anatomical knitting explorations on their own. Thank you.

        • Noted. Agree entirely.

        • And a chorus of lurkers muttered “amen”

      • Don’t google it. Don’t try to figure out how that works. Don’t think about it ever again.

        • Thanks, too late. Can’t unthink that one!!!

  • Many thanks. Just making hats now!!

  • Had heard of the jogless join before but could never remember the sequence of it, so the photo with the stitch marker gave me a great visual to help me along the way. (BTW, are those Gale’s photos?) — Patty, I have seen you on TV and am really looking forward to your future columns!

  • Thank you for this! I just started a new hat last night, and now I know how to fix that unsightly join!!! Saving this…love your new column!

  • Love it!!

  • Patty – so good to read you on here! You are a day maker – a person that brings joy by just being you. (I met you in Mpls last summer at a retreat – Melissa was there, too). Keep doing what you do:).

    • Aw, thanks!

  • What a hoot! Keep it coming

  • What a wonderful addition to MDK ! I miss having the “ knitting help “ that was held every Thursday evening at my LYS. It got me through my earlier years of knitting and my second pregnancy. 30 years later, I still have questions when I’m knitting but no one to ask as my skills are more complicated than the knitter who is offering assistance.
    HURRAY ! And Thanks

  • Oh! I can’t ever get enough Patty, so this will tide me over between Kristy Glass interviews and the occasional YouTube video. Wonderful addition to the MDK team!

  • Love that you’ll be doing an Ask Patty column for MDK.

  • Love this column! Thanks for the great tips, and for the great sense of humor. Looking forward to more of your advice columns.

  • I’m saving this article now!! I know I’ll need advice and so excited to have someone to ask. Talented and funny:)

  • a new favorite!

  • I love you Patty! Your tips are so simple and so helpful! Thank you!

  • A fellow Chicagoan! But we were a Sun-Times family so I grew up reading Ann. These are wonderful tips. I am definitely saving this page and I look forward to more great advice.

  • I feel like I need to knit my chickens sweaters now. Or maybe just the banties.

    What a hoot! And I love the method for joining in the round. I’ve always cast on an extra stitch and k2tog when I join. This looks like a better way to go.

    • PS I was kidding about the chicken sweaters and now that I’ve googled it I am horrified.

  • Welcome! I love your sense of humor, and look forward to your columns.

  • Being someone who has an opinion about most things, I appreciate you Patty! No, love, embrace, cherish… I feel if you have addressed an opinion about something, I can rest. I don’t have to do it all alone!

  • I am SO EXCITED that we will have an Ask Patty column. After my exhilarating (and endless) unofficial round of Ask Patty questions during happy hour at TNNA, this makes me very happy.

  • This is great, you have solved two of the first questions that sprang to mind when I started reading in the first article! Thank you, so enjoyed this.

  • Thanks for the tips-I’ll use the ‘extra Cast O- stitch’ next time. Currently, I used my version of weave the tail end through the first stitch- usually worked fairly neatly. I think method 1 could be done on the bind off say, with fingerless mitts…

    All I get are cat stories…or sheepdog videos.

  • What a delightful addition to an already wonderful website and newsletter. Bravo!

  • What a great addition to your cadre of columnists! And I learned something right off the bat!

  • Still snorting about vagina knitting. Patty, you are a breath of fresh air!!

  • I’ve always joined in the round by placing the last stitch in the left hand needle and crossing the first stitch onto the right hand needle. It works quite nicely as long as the stitches aren’t twisted.

    • That’s how I do it as well, and I’ve always thought it’s pretty well invisible. But I wonder if there is a noticeable visual difference? I may have to try the technique above to compare! After all if I’m going to have opinions (and I am) I might as well back them up!

  • Thank you for this tidbit advise, I need to save this one, it is hat season, and I am on my second one….what a simple solution I hope to remember for my next one!!! Amazing, and thanks for sharing…

  • Love Patty Lyons

  • What a wonderful way to start a Monday and the comments are a hoot and a holler. Patty, I never fail to learn something new from you and I’m so glad you will be writing this column. Thank you!

    • Thanks! I’m pretty excited. So many great questions coming in already!

  • Patty, I have so enjoyed your knitting classes over the years at Vogue Knitting and am so happy to see you here. Thanks for the visual on joining in the round, and thanks for your sense of humor. Looks like this will become my new favorite column.

  • Dear Patty,
    Except for the Slinky song now running thru my head (complete with images of the little Stepford kid pulling that weird Slinky wiener dog), I love your new column! I give it 2 enthusiastic thumbs up and am eagerly awaiting the next installment.
    Trying to knit with both thumbs up which is awkward for both a girl and a boy

    • Sorry for the slinky song . . . and I TOTALLY remember those weird kids!

  • So glad to see you here, you are the absolute BEST!

  • Thanks for the knitting tip on fixing the jog at the beginning of a circular project. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your column and look forward to the next installment.

  • This is great!! I’m not sure how often you will be contributing, but I hope OFTEN!

  • Glad to have another place to read Patty’s advice… I’ll be in your Spectacular Sweaters class in Minneapolis in a couple weeks – so looking forward to it!

  • has been my circular join for a while

  • Hello Patty! Thank you for the visual of how to join for knitting in the round. I could never figure out the way to do that, much appreciated. When knitting in the round I work the first two rows flat and then join in the round. It prevents all that stress of making sure your knitting is not twisted which is hard with a lot of stitches. I use long tail cast on and knitting two rows ensures the public side is facing you. And I just graft the first two rows.

  • If I get too much of a bad thing via -emails, snail mails, tweets, bleats…..I change my addy…… All of a sudden I get “no” commos…………..and wish I hadn’t…….so, I learned to ‘ignore’ more e-mails…..and ‘hate’ is a strong word……does one ‘really ‘hate __________? I mean, if it hurts when you do ________, then don’t do _______. Dr. Mom (LOL!)

  • I already love Patty but this is next level. Brava!
    FINALLY she asked the question bugging me for years : why diss the grandmas?????

  • Really clear internet site, appreciate it for this post.

  • It?¦s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I?¦m glad that you just shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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