Why are round things knitted flat and sewed rather than in the round?

I have tried googling this, and I still can’t figure it out. Is there any good reason for a hat or something to be knit flat rather than in the round? Sewing a seam seems like an unnecessary extra step, and the seam, no matter how well done, with never be as smooth as the knit fabric itself. I know something with numerous complicated elements that get combined, like a sweater, can be tricky to do in the round, but for hats, cowls, socks, etc., sewing a seam really seems pointless. Am I missing something? I’ve started converting flat patterns I like to round because I think it works out so much better. I don’t understand why they’re not written that way in the first place.

Your feedback is much appreciated.

What it comes down to basically is personal choice. It’s really just two different methods. Sometimes new knitters are worried about trying something new or don’t have the needles to do it. When someone comes in here wanting to knit flat I have to really hunt to find them a pattern to knit flat because there seem to be more patterns written for circular knitting. I do have some bookmarked for them now though. My preferred method is magic loop unless I’m knitting tiny things then I use DPN.

Are you looking for something particularly?

I design all my hats in the round and prefer to work that way, mostly because the more finishing steps after the knitting, the longer it takes to get it done!

But there are occasionally really good reasons for knitting a hat flat. Most of the ones I can think of involve colorwork. You can make stripes that have absolutely no jog in them. You can do intarsia. (Which can be done in the round, but it’s not easy to get it perfect.) Converting a complex textured stitch pattern from flat to in the round can be a bear, so I can see just knitting it flat and seaming as an easier route at times. (I have one right now that I just can’t get to work out in the round. Driving me nuts.)

Beyond hats, the same reasons would apply for a sweater, for example. But also, seams in sweaters and other items provide structure like a skeleton. It’s one of the reasons a sweater pattern might have you bind off the neckline, then pick up stitches to knit the neck edges. Keeps the neckline from stretching out of shape.

Grandson wanted a knit kitty with a different color belly. Mostly I worked in the round but doing the belly with intarsia I switched to knitting flat. I went back to working in the round to finish. The opening where I worked flat was handy for stuffing. So, for intarsia I would go to flat knitting and do the S word to finish the project.

Some people insist that sweaters need side seams. I do pullovers in the round.

Forgot to mention garter. If you despise purling, you might prefer to knit something flat and then sew it together. Just depends on what you hate more - purling or seaming.

Things that are knitted flat and then seamed are there for people like me who turn into a grade-A klutz whenever they try to use DPN’s. :blush:

Things like hats that are knitted flat are great for beginners also; good way to learn basic shaping without having to worry about changing needles, jogging stripes, etc.

I attempted to knit one hat knit flat. One was more than enough. I could not wait to learn to use circular needles. I shun DPN for circular work like plague. Well, I do use them on rare occasions for working in the round but mostly do magic loop - even for an Emily Ocker cast on type start for a project. DPN are evil where I live. :imp: In my version of reality they are too easily dropped, they lose themselves unaided by me, and using them to start in the round is like herding cats. But that’s just me. Some people love them and they should use them. IMO new knitters should embrace the tools available and learn to use them effectively.

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I only use DPN for very small things otherwise I use ML, too. I have started multiple things that were supposed to be seamed and ended up ripping it out and doing it my own way…in the round.