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How many times have you read that pattern instruction to “Join, being careful not to twist”?

If you are a newer knitter, perhaps this is the first time you’ve come across that instruction. And if you hang around with knitting patterns for long enough, I doubt that this will be the last time you see it!

I think it’s a knitter’s rite of passage to, at least once in their knitting career, discover that they are working on a twisted tube. It’s also quite likely that the more experienced you are, the more stitches you will have cast on, before discovering your error (ask me how I know that).


Never fear though! I’m here to show you what that instruction means if you’ve not tried before. And I’m also going to give you a few tips on avoiding the dreaded twist, which I hope will be useful even if you’re a seasoned knitter in the round.

This little lesson will be helpful no matter what project in the round you choose to work on, but it’s going to be SUPER helpful if you are working on the Debut Pullover by Karida Collins, from Field Guide No. 18: Beginnings.

Yes, we want one in every color of Organic Studio DK too.

Off to a brilliant start

The Debut Pullover (Ravelry link) has you start by working the sleeves using double-pointed needles. I love patterns that start with the sleeves! It’s like a nice amuse-bouche to get you going before the main course of the body.

The instructions tell you to cast on your stitches, and then there’s that classic line: Join, being careful not to twist sts. In this first video tutorial I show you how to join, how to check for a twist, and how to check for a twist at the end of the first round and remove it if needed. I’ve also included a top tip if you find it tricky to see whether the cast-on edge is twisted or not. Spoiler alert: you can knit the first row flat, before joining into the round.

Video notes: If you are watching on YouTube, you can hover over the time bar to see the different sections of the video, which is handy if there’s a particular thing you want to re-watch. The video also has subtitles which you can display by clicking on the CC button.

No-fear join on circular needles

Once you’ve made your sleeves, it’s on to the body of this elegant sweater, and there it is again! That line: Join, being careful not to twist sts. This time it’s the circular needle edition!

The happy news is that it’s actually a bit easier on a circular needle, as you don’t have to worry about the joins between the double-pointed needles. Everything is just on the one needle and you simply have to bring the tips together. Without twisting.

Our video tutorial shows you the way to fearlessly join and ensure that you don’t get anything in a twist, let alone those stitches.

Once again there are instructions on getting rid of a twist after the first round, as well as that top tip for working the first row flat if you fancy a bit of extra security. We have you covered knitters!

Go forth and knit your Debut Pullover. Whether it’s actually your first garment, or simply the first garment this month, you will be joining in the round like a pro.

Happy knitting!

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About The Author

We think Jen Arnall-Culliford is flat-out brilliant. Jen is one of the knitting world’s superb technical editors and teachers, and the star of the tutorial videos.

Cheerful. Cool headed. Supersmart. To take lessons from Jen ups our knitting game, every time.


  • Definitely saved this one ! It has not happened to me in a long time, but is is ever annoying (&$#% !) when it does !

  • It never occurred to me that I could just flip the twist out at the end of the first round when I have one sneak in there. Thank you!

  • I am not sure I even saw this correctly. She didn’t use an empty needle to start knitting. That idea has never crossed my mind; I think juggling that fifth needle is so tricky at the beginning. I will be pulling out the dpns again this afternoon!

  • If I have a large number of stitches to cast on, I use a spool of brightly colored lacey trim and as I cast on, I place a loop of the trim on my needles every 10th stitch. Stitches do not twist and I have an easy way of counting the stitches. I drop the loops of trim as I start knitting and roll it back on the spool for next time. I came across the hint a long time ago and can’t remember who to credit but it’s a wonderful way to keep your stitches from twisting.

    • That is brilliant!!

  • Can you do the sleeves of that sweater with the magic loop method? I hate using double points and don’t do a very good job with them

    • Thank you Donna! You asked my question and I am waiting with bated breath for the answer! I like the efficiency of being able to do both sleeves at the same time.

      • You absolutely can use Magic Loop! For any small circumference knitting. I don’t even own dpns. More than 2 sharp pointy things in my hands is a danger to self and others;)

  • It’s nice doing the sleeves first, because they’re like an extra gauge swatch before the body of the sweater. No matter how experienced you are, the twisted row is very annoying. Check, check, triple check!

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