If you like to make hats from the crown down or amigurumi (toys), knowing how to get a tight circle is a handy skill.
My favorite method for these types of projects is the “adjustable slip knot”. This is a technique I first heard about in a class I took with Dee Stanziano, though it took me a while to play with it. I use it all the time now.
The trick with a slip knot is if the beginning tail or the working yarn tightens it. Generally speaking, the working tail is best for projects like afghans, scarves or garments. But the beginning tail end is ideal for hats and toys, or anything sculptural where you need a tightly closed ring. I call this slip knot an Adjustable Slip Knot, because you can adjust the size of the loop even after you have worked into it.
To make an adjustable slip knot: Wrap the yarn around 2 or 3 fingers to make an X. The working end of the yarn should be on the bottom and the beginning tail should cross over it. Then use your hook or fingers to reach under the bottom strand to pull up a loop from the top strand.
The best thing about the adjustable slip knot is that you don’t have to fight to make all your stitches into the same spot. If your beginning tail is long enough, you can open the loop as you make stitches. This is loads easier to count your stitches to know if you have the right number in your starting round too.
Once you are finished with the first round, you give a gentle tug to the beginning tail to close the loop. Voila! you have a nice snug first round that did not involve any hair pulling. Now you can proceed with either concentric rounds or working in the spiral to complete your project.
Give it a try on your next project and see if you don’t love this method as much as I do.