How to Knit in the Round

How to Knit in the Round? Searching for an easy-to-follow guide on how to knit in the round? Circular knitting can be fun and fulfilling with the right guide. It helps you create unique hats, cowls, or socks; you don’t have to bear an unsightly seam. You can also create unique circular patterns on your clothes after you learn how to knit a circle with circular needles in this guide and these videos.

You can also enhance these knitted projects with woven labels or care labels to appeal to more prospective clients. To learn more about circular knitting, read on and check out this video.

What Are Circular Knitting Needles Used for? 

How to knit with circular needles
Image source: Knit Silk

Flat needles have one pointed side and are common among novice knitters. Whether learning how to knit a scarf or shawl for the first time, most knitters use this needle type before transitioning to circular needles.

Circular needles resemble two needles connected with a flexible cable. The two needles are pointed, and there is no end, unlike in the flat needle. You can either buy fixed circular needles or form them with interchangeable ones. 

What are round knitting needles for?

If you’re wondering what is circular knitting needles used for, they perform knitting projects that straight or flat needles cannot execute; knitting a seamless tube. So whether you are following a guide on how to knit a hat or sweater, you will require tubular sections that circular needles can create flawlessly.

While straight needles can create such parts, you will have to sew the edges together to make a tube. This process results in a seam that can be unsightly and uncomfortable when you wear it. 

Some circular needles retain their shape when knitting, making it uncomfortable to knit with. You can avoid this by acquiring round needles that are memory-free. 

The good thing about circular needles is that they can also create perfect rectangular or even square knitting projects. So if you can’t find your straight needles when learning how to knit a blanket, grab your circular needles and start knitting!

What Is Circular Knitting?

Knitting in the round
Image source: Knit with Henni

Also referred to as knitting in the round, circular knitting creates a seamless tube. Circular knitting requires the use of circular needles or double-pointed needles (DPN). 

Circular knitting helps you create sleeves and graft them on the sweater instead of sewing them. Most knitters prefer using 41cm circular needles for knitting cowls or hats and 1.5m round needles when knitting sweaters and other large projects.

DPNs are suitable for smaller projects such as gloves and socks. Since double-pointed needles allow stitches to fall back and forth easily, they are more comfortable working on small projects.

Another method you can use when learning how to knit in the round is the Magic Loop method. This technique helps you knit identical sleeves, socks, and mittens. It entails using a circular needle with longer cables 1 meter, folded to create two circles with a smaller circumference.

Advanced knitters also execute another complex circular knitting method with two circular needles. In this method, one circular needle holds half the total stitches on one end while the other circle holds the remaining stitches. 

This video will also help you understand what knitting in the round entails.

How to Knit in the Round with a Circular Needle; Requirements

Circular needle beauty knitting
Image source: Fiber Flux

Learning how to knit in the round will make your tube-like projects easy to create. You won’t use much time sewing and cutting dangling yarn. Rather you will make one entire sleeve, sock, legging, or cowl with no intermission.

Before you start circular knitting, you need to have all the tools, basic skills, and materials ready. They include

    1. Circular Needle

How to use circular knitting needles
Image source: The Spruce Crafts

Circular needles come in different materials like bamboo, steel, and plastic. To avoid straining and using much time, ensure you choose one that you are comfortable working with. 

The pointed side of the needles also needs to be fine to pick the yarn if you are using thin yarn. When using bulky or super chunky yarn, you can knit with bluntly pointed sides.

The length of the needle also determines the knitting experience you will have. For instance, if you are knitting a hat that is 20 inches, picking a longer needle than 20 inches may stretch your work, making it tough to knit properly. To avoid this, go for a smaller needle length, like 16 inches needle.

      2. Yarn

How to start circular knitting
Image source: Dora Does

Different yarn sizes and materials offer contrasting knitting experiences when learning how to knit in the round with circular needles. So, when choosing the yarn material, check whether it sits properly on the needle and if you can manipulate it with ease. 

Bulky yarn is suitable for beginners as you don’t strain to pick it. Whether you want to yarn over or pull through, it works up fast.  

      3. How to Cast On Knitting

Long tail cast on knitting in the round steps
Image source: Knitfarious

Whether you are learning how to knit a rectangular or tubular garment, you need to cast on stitches before starting knitting. You can use the different cast-on techniques depending on your level.

For instance, if you are a beginner, single cast-on and loop cast-on techniques are easy to follow. Cast on stitches on one side of the circular needle as you push them to the opposite side until you reach the desired number of stitches.

If you cast on tight stitches, you can use a wider circular needle or straight needle, then transfer them to the right needle size. Ensure the stitches are not twisted as it may result in a twisted knitting project.

Requirement

Factors to consider

Needle

    • Size
    • Material
    • Length

Yarn

    • Size
    • Material
    • Color

Casting On

    • Pattern
    • Project size
    • Beginner-friendly and advanced techniques

How to Knit in the Round with a Circular Needle Step-by-Step

What is circular knitting
Image source: Frogginette

Wondering how to start circular knitting and how to use circular knitting needles? Below is a step-by-step guide on how to knit with circular needles in the round:

Step 1. Distributing Stitches

Start by spreading the stitches across the cable so they are evenly distributed along the entire needle. While doing this, ensure that no stitch slips off on any side of the needle.

Step 2. Aligning Stitches

Twisted stitches result in wound garments, so it’s essential you align all the stitches properly. To accomplish this, lay your work on your working table and examine any twisted stitches. 

Ensure the bottom edge of the stitches runs smoothly from one end to the other. If not, adjust at the point where it bends by realigning the stitches.

Step 3. Positioning the Circular Needle

Once you confirm that all stitches are not twisted, flip your work such that the dangling yarn lays on the right. Then, have the first stitch you cast on the left hand and bring the two needles together to create a circle. As you do this, ensure you do not twist the edge.

Step 4. Hold Your Work 

    • Hold the two needles with the left hand, with the left needle lying on top of the right needle. 
    • As you do this, retain the hold of both needles’ tips to avoid sliding off stitches from the needle.
    • Take the working yarn from the last stitch you cast on and pass it outside the circle. 

Step 5. Start Working in the Round

Before you start knitting, you need to know how to join knitting in the round. This skill is essential whether you are knitting the first round or amid your project. 

Start by inserting the tip of your needle into the first stitch on the left needle and knit it. Then ensure it is tight enough because you will use it to join your work properly.

Step 6. Continue Knitting the First Row

Once you’ve learned how to start knitting in the round, continue knitting as you slide stitches on the cable. Knit until you reach the end of the row. Suppose you are wondering how you will identify the last stitch, knit as you check where the yarn tail is.

Step 7. Place a Stitch Marker on Your Knitting

A circular knitting end can be challenging to identify, especially if you are using the traditional method. To avoid this, place a stitch marker on the left needle after you transfer all the stitches to the right needle.

Step 8. Continue Knitting 

Continue knitting in the spiral path as you slide the stitches along the cable for even distribution of the project’s weight. When knitting, ensure that the right side (knit) is on the outside and the wrong side (purl) is inside. 

If you have long needles, you can learn how to knit in the round with long circular needles in this video.

Step 9. Finish the Project by Binding Off

Once you get to the last row, bind off your garment to secure all the stitches. With this guide on how to cast off knitting, you can select the bind-off method you prefer or one that matches the pattern’s needs. 

If you join in multiple yarns and leave tails in your work, here is a step-by-step guide on how to weave in ends knitting. It will help you complete the project without showing dangling yarns.

Tips on How to Use Circular Needles in Knitting

Knitting flat circular needle
Image source: WOOL AND THE GANG

    1. Dealing with Cable Kinks

Nylon cables take the shape they are stored in; as a result, when you buy the needle, it will be kinked or curled tightly; you may try to straighten it to no avail.

To fix this, place the new circular needle in hot water for around 5 minutes. The heat in the water will eliminate the kink allowing you to manipulate the needle.

      2. Unmarked Circular Needles

Looking for the size number of your new circular needle? Some circular needles come with no size number on them. You can know the size by using a needle size checker to ensure you got the right needle for the project.

      3. The Gauge

Circular knitting may require a different gauge from flat knitting. When knitting in the round, ensure you make a swatch that suits the type of knitting you will ensue. Suppose you need to use both flat and circular knitting, knit swatches that match the two.

      4. Decorating Your Work

Circular knitting offers numerous options for decorating your project. You can learn how to increase a stitch in knitting and create different patterns in your garment. You can also use this guide on how to change colors in knitting to blend in multiple yarn shades.

How to Knit in the Round with DNP

How to knit a circle with double pointed needles
Image source: A New Stitch a Day

As a beginner, knitting with four or five needles may sound complicated. You are perhaps considering a tutorial on how to finger knit; don’t renounce before trying. Like any other first-time knitting project, you can get better at circular knitting with practice.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to knit in the round on DPN

Step 1. Cast On Stitches

Start by casting on stitches, as usual, using one of the double-pointed needles until you get to the required number. You can utilize the longtail cast-on or any other technique. While executing step one, consider these two things;

    • To have a stretchy garment, use two needles or go two sizes up when casting on stitches.
    • If you want to create an invisible join, cast on an additional stitch. For instance, if the project requires 32 stitches, cast on 33 instead.

Step 2. Distribute the Stitches

Similar to when you are learning how to knit in a round on circular knitting needles, you have to distribute the casted stitches. The only variation with DPNs is that you have to transfer the stitches to multiple needles (four).

How do you distribute stitches in multiple needles?

    • Hold the needle with the stitches in your left hand.
    • Pick another needle and transfer ¼ of the stitches to it as if you are purling.
    • Repeat this until you get to the last needle. You will realize you have one extra stitch, slip it to the last needle to complete step two.

Step 3. Join in the Round

    • Place the needles on the working table to form a square.
    • Ensure your cast-on edge is not twisted by examining whether it points to the center in a continuous line.
    • The first needle is the one with the dangling yarn from the cast-on, and the last needle touches the cast-on tail.

To create an invisible join, follow these steps:

    • Slip the first stitch on the first needle to the fourth needle. Make sure the tail is secure to avoid unraveling it unintentionally. 
    • Lift the last stitch you cast on and pass it over the first stitch.
    • Drop this stitch off the needle like you would do in a bind-off.
    • Slide the remaining stitch to the first needle to complete the join.

You can also explore these different ways of joining in the round to choose one that suits you best. 

Step 4. Start Knitting in the Round

With a joined circle of stitches, you can now start knitting. 

    • First, ensure the working yarn is in the right place, then pick the free needle (5th needle) and start knitting. 
    • Continue knitting until you transfer all the stitches on the first needle to the working needle. 

Step 5. Continue Knitting in the Next Needle

    • Take the first needle, which is now free, and set it aside
    • Rotate your work to get to the second needle.
    • Pick the free needle and start knitting all the stitches in the second needle onto it.

You will repeat step 5 for the stitches in the third and fourth needle until you have all cast on stitches knitted. Once you complete the first round, you can place the stitch marker into the first needle to make the end of your round.

The other rounds follow the same process, so you can continue knitting until you get to the last row of your project.

Step 6. Bind Off

Since some projects like socks or hats do not require a bind off as you work towards a tip, you can weave in ends to complete the project. For those projects that need bind-offs, you can use simple techniques like the stretchy bind-off.

Type of needle

Pros Cons

Circular needle

    • It offers more ergonomics.
    • The two needles are connected.
    • If you have one needle, the circumference of the tube will be fixed.

Double-pointed needles

    • You can slide stitches on and off any side.
    • Suitable for projects with small circumferences.
    • It can create a ladder if the stitch between the needles is not tightened.

Conclusion

Circular knitting gives you an easy time since the weight of the garment is evenly distributed. You can learn how to knit in the round using DPNs or circular needles to make fashionable garments that will sell.

To customize knitted sweaters, check these upcycle sweater ideas to boost your clothing business. Which circular knitting needle did you prefer?

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