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How are you getting on with your knitting? I’m really enjoying the soothing nature of knitting round and round on the tubes of my Debut Pullover (Ravelry link). I settle on the sofa in the evening, with something good on the telly, and off I go on autopilot. Knitting round and round. Slowly but surely, tubes of knitted fabric are being made.

Last month I showed you how to join to work in the round (without getting a pesky twist), so I’m hoping that you’ve been happily knitting in the round since then.

If you are a newer knitter, maybe you aren’t aware that by simply knitting round and round, you can make a sweater. Yes! You can make a three-dimensional shape, to fit your body, simply by knitting a series of tubes.

All together now

Today’s video tutorial is going to show you how to go from three separate tubes–a body and two sleeves–to one nearly-pullover.

Here are our cute mini-sleeves and mini-body, ready and waiting to be pullover-ified. You can almost see how it’s going to work. Once the pieces are joined into one big round, it will become a single final tube (with some decreasing) that completes the yoke of the sweater (that’s the top part that goes over the top of your arms, chest and shoulders).

Who knew that a sweater was just four tubes joined in a clever way?!

Watch the video for a deep-dive into how that transformation occurs:

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.

I’ve used a mini-version of the fabulous Debut Pullover by Karida Collins, from Field Guide No. 18 Beginnings, but the principle applies to all bottom-up, knit in-the-round pullovers: 

  • You make two sleeves and cast off some stitches at the underarm. 
  • You then knit the body and cast off the same number of stitches at each underarm of the body (that’s to say, on opposite sides of the tube of fabric).
  • Then you work across the back, followed by a sleeve, followed by a front, and finally, the second sleeve.

That’s it! Your pattern may have you doing that last round in a slightly different order, but it’s all essentially the same.

There’s very little more to it. You are going to want to watch the video to pick up some pro-tips on maneuvering the needles, and you will be able to see how things should match up. But really, it’s no more complicated than the knitting round and round you were doing before.

You can do it! 

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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.


  • Always such clear, helpful information. Thank you Jen, and thank you MDK.

  • The first time I did this was #bangoutastopover and I still remember that dubious feeling as I knit the connecting row…

    • I had that same feeling when I knit the Carbeth!! Magical…

  • Your voice is perfectly suited to teaching a nervous student how to do anything–so soothing and calm! And you’ve inspired me to go ahead and knit a sweater for my granddaughter by using just tubes and joining. It takes so much of the pressure out of it!

  • I have no experience knitting a bottom-up in-the-round sweater; all mine have been top-down to avoid having to do sleeves separately and join as this vvideo shows. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what benefit, if any, there is in creating a sweater this way. Of course, if the pattern you want is written this way and not easily flipped, I suppose one must just go along with it.

    Can anyone give me the wisdom I’m missing for why I should embrace bottom-up construction? Seriously, thanks.

    • I love a bottom up, in the round design. It saves all the complexity for the end in terms of shaping or yoke design or colour work, I do not have to worry too much about row gauge at the beginning, and I can knit it in pieces. Top or bottom is a matter of preference, I always prefer bottom up in terms of process and fit.

    • I love bottom up because you can work the sleeves and body separately. It makes the project more portable and you knot the sleeves (where you spend half the time turning the work) without the weight of the rest of the sweater to turn as well. I also particularly love bottom up for colourwork yikes because you do all the dull knitting first. They you have the joy of the colourwork yoke to look forward to! But there’s no right or wrong with this. It’s all about what YOU like most. 🙂

      • Oh my word! Knit not knot. And yokes not yikes! ‍♀️

        • And that was meant to be a facepalm emoji… I might give up and go to bed now!

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