Converting in the round to flat sleeve with colour work

I need to convert in the round to flat knitting for sleeves.
My questions

  1. Do I add TWO stitches to allow for seaming in mattress stitch? Or do I just add ONE stitch because the seam takes a half stitch from each side? I just can’t think
  2. What colour should the extra stitches be? Should the first and last of the row both be the first colour on a chart to create one stitch in that colour after seaming? What do I do colour wise if i am supposed to add 2 colours?
    This can’t be as hard as I’m making it… I’ve gone blank.

Maybe I’ll give it another go in the round but I don’t feel comfortable with it, I think I’m better working flat.

Thank you

It’s probably easiest to add two sts for seaming although you could work it with one stitch. There are probably increases as you work cuff to shoulder so it’s a good idea to work the shaping one stitch in from the edge. If you decide to knit flat, you might keep these extra sts in the background color.

One other thing to consider when changing in the round to flat in stranded knitting. With in the round the yarn needed for the next round is right there at the beginning of the round. If you work the same pattern flat, the yarn you need for the next row may be left at the end of a row. It would need to be cut in order to bring it to the beginning of round. You can check this by looking at the chart (assuming there is one) and tracing where yarn ends up after each use.

1 Like

Thank you so much.
I will use an extra 2 as you suggest.
I also realised I won’t be working the chart from the end of row due to the increases there (just as you said) but instead will line up the pattern on the centre line for the outer arm. I’ll add in a colour pattern on the seam edge when it looks right to do so based on the colour and pattern. I realise even with knitting in the round the colour work would have not run smoothly at the underarm due to increases and colour jogs. I feel more in control flat, I can choose what I want more easily.

Yes, i know exactly what you mean about the yarn being at the wrong end. I had this with the cardigan body which was knit flat. A few times I did need to cut the yarn and join in the other side but many times I was able to knit a row of colour A and B then drop B, knit a row with A and instead of turning the work I slipped the stitches to the other end and worked the same side in colour B. I was sometimes working the right side twice consecutively for instance.

Thanks for your help.


If you work mattress stitch using a full stitch both edge stitches will be hidden from the RS of the work. Video below. If you click the blue numbers here you’ll jump right to Full Stitch Seam: 4:08.

If you add two stitches and use the full stitch method for seaming I think it doesn’t matter which color. I would be inclined to use the main color for the edges but that’s me.

I will admit I only do stranded colorwork in the round because I find it easier and am able to maintain closer to even tension than working flat. Is this a general question about colorwork of any type?

1 Like

Thank you.

My mind just went blank - I’m struggling with pain management and not able to think straight at times - I’ve done mattress stitch so many times but just couldn’t work out what stitches I needed so my rib would meet up, or how to work the colour so it would line up after seaming.

I’m set now though. I think.
I decided to let the seam edge have extra main colour and add in the second colour pattern as enough stitches become available with the increases.
Even in the round I would have been wondering how to maintain the pattern with the increases and the colour jogs. For one thing I can’t knit small things in the round, just can’t, for another I can’t figure how the colour jogs in the spiral of the round don’t mess up the colourwork. Maybe I’ll get to grips with it one day.

My flat stranded colourwork has turned out with a much better tension too. I don’t mind working the wrong side it feels almost as comfortable as the right side and a lot more comfortable than when I try to knit a small number of stitches in the round.

It’s a noridc pattern, sleeves for my son’s colourful cardigan. I’m only half following the pattern too - just to add to how much my brain has to work out! I hadn’t planned on going rogue but he chose a pattern he liked and I thought it would be easy to just follow, but later I discovered the size was quite strange and the gauge for the yarn he chose didn’t go with the gauge on the pattern, and, and oh dear. But I think I have it. I’ve measured it all out and worked out the increases from cuff to under arm. Fingers crossed eh.

The pattern I am using but not following is this one

1 Like

I’m sorry for your troubles. Yes, it makes figuring all these things out just that much more difficult.

As far as the jog at the end of round (or end of row for that matter) you can always start and stop the chart one or two sts before the ends. Nothing wrong with a “seam” and increases in the main color. You can also start and stop with a completed motif rather than working the chart to the edges.

Trying to get knitting a small circumference may just be one too many things to add to the mix of colorwork, in the round, gauge and size changes. Phew, that’s staggering. Your solution of working flat is fine. Enjoy working the sleeves which will be as lovely as the body colorwork you’ve already posted, I’m sure.

1 Like

I applaud you! I’m not sure I could hold up and do complicated knitting with all you’re coping with. In fact I’m pretty sure I’d not manage it. Your choice to work flat is what works for you which makes it the right choice. Please don’t get too persnickety about the underarm seam and exactly how to do the colorwork there. It won’t be a focal point. I doubt your son will care about it at all and anyone who might be critical isn’t worth your time. Go a bit easy on yourself. I saw your photo in Whatcha Knitting? and am more than impressed with what you’ve done.

1 Like

Thank you both so much.

I’m on row 26, with a “gap” in the colour work at each end just as you’ve suggested, and it seems to be going okay. I agree no one will look at the inside of the arm and who cares anyway, my son will love it - so long as it fits!! Fingers crossed my maths is correct. If not, well, I’ll just frog and redo it.

I’m glad to be able to knit again. I couldn’t knit at all for over a week as the pain was waaaaay too much whereas now it has eased just enough so that I can use the knitting for pain relief as it is such a good therapy to have a focus for the brain it helps to mask those pain signals.


Just wanted to stop by this thread to say thank you again.

Thank you!

With your support I was able to work out the colour work easily and the sleeve knitted up nicely. It’s funny, working the seam edge stitches in the main colour of the stripe seems so obvious now but at the time i just couldn’t work it out.

The pic is actually the second sleeve. The first was totally the wrong size - my foggy pain addled brain convinced me I needed 44cm across the top. I don’t know where I plucked that number from but at the time it seemed crucial. I worked out all the increase maths for this width and the desired length. My son mentioned a few times the sleeve looked too big which prompted me to remeasure it, check the maths, the stitch count, and I came up with the same answer.
Then after binding off I saw just how huge it was!

No matter.
I eventually had an ‘aha’ moment and realised the top width should be 32cm (and this figure is so obvious i don’t know why i would ever think it could be anything else - but our brains can play tricks when bombarded with pain and/or medication). I reworked the increase maths and started again.

Now casting on for sleeve number 3.


That looks perfect. It’s going to be such a stunning sweater.

1 Like

This is beautiful! Your stranding is amazing. I’m jealous, mine doesn’t look amazing.

Thank you, that’s very kind.
There are some uneven stitches, I resized a few today as I was weaving in, but I have improved massively with the stranded colours, the fabric is stretchy-bouncy and not tight and ungiving like the first stranded sweater I made.

1 Like

If I ever finish the stranded my colorwork bag WIP I’ll probably post a photo. Then you can feel even better about your knitting.

1 Like