Knitting in the round is a fundamental skill that opens up a world of possibilities for knitters beyond the basics. If you’re new to this technique, you might find it intimidating, but fear not! Knitting in the round is actually one of the easiest techniques to master, and once you do, you may never want to return to using regular flat needles. In this guide, we’ll take you through the process of knit in the round with circular needles step by step, covering the basics, needle selection, and providing detailed instructions.
Understanding Circular Needles
Before diving into the knitting process, let’s understand what circular needles are and how they differ from traditional straight needles.
What Are Circular Needles?
Regular straight needles have a pointed end and a stopper on the other. Circular needles, on the other hand, consist of two pointed ends joined by a flexible cable. Unlike straight needles, there’s no stopper at either end of circular needles.
Regular Flat Needles
Regular flat needles have a pointed end on one side and a stopper on the other. These are typically the first needles beginners encounter in knitting.
Circular needles, on the other hand, consist of two needles joined by a flexible cable, both ends of which are pointed. They are specifically designed for knitting in the round and working on three-dimensional tube-like projects such as hats, sweaters, socks, and mittens.
Also Read: How to Pick Up Stitches in Knitting
Circular Needles vs. Regular Needles
Circular needles excel at creating seamless round tubes, while flat needles are better suited for two-dimensional projects like scarves. Circular needles eliminate the need to sew seams when working on tube-shaped items, resulting in a smooth, continuous fabric that can be shaped as desired.
Choosing the Right Circular Needle
When selecting a circular needle for your project, consider two main factors:
Length of the Needle
Choose a needle length shorter than the circumference of your project. For example, if you’re knitting a 20-inch hat, opt for a 16-inch circular needle. This prevents stretching and discomfort during knitting.
Material of the Needle
Circular needles come in various materials, including bamboo, wood, steel, and plastic. For beginners, bamboo and wooden needles are recommended due to their grip on the yarn. As you gain experience, you might prefer steel or aluminum needles for their smoothness and speed.
Recommended Circular Needle Brands
- Clover Takumi Bamboo Needles: These needles are accessible, have smooth joins, come in various sizes, and are lightweight.
- Chiao Goo Stainless Steel Needles: Known for their smoothness, lightness, and “memory-less” cable.
- Knit Picks Nickel-Plated Needles: Lightweight needles with a low-memory cable.
The Two-Circular Needles Method
For seamless circumferences and an even weight distribution, try the Two-Circular Needles Method:
1. Divide Stitches
Divide the number of stitches for your project evenly between two circular needles. For instance, if you’re knitting a hat with 72 stitches, place 36 stitches on each circular needle.
2. Hold the Needles
Hold one circular needle in each hand, with the working yarn coming from the first stitch on the right-hand needle.
3. Knit Across
Knit across the stitches on the right-hand needle as usual, then use the left-hand needle to knit the stitches on the right-hand needle.
4. Continue Knitting
Continue knitting in this manner, switching between the two circular needles as you work. The stitches on one needle will be the foundation for the stitches on the other needle.
Key Points to Remember
- When knitting in the round, you always work on the front of the fabric; there’s no need to turn the work.
- Knitting in the round is faster and produces seamless tube-like fabric.
- Choose a circular needle shorter than the project’s circumference to prevent stretching.
- Consider bamboo or wooden needles for beginners and steel needles for smoother and faster knitting.
If you prefer learning through visuals or need a quick reference, follow this step-by-step photo tutorial to start knitting in the round:
- Cast on using your preferred method onto the circular needle.
- Ensure a braided edge runs along the entire length of the cast-on.
- Turn the braided edge in the same direction to prevent stitches from twisting.
- Place a stitch marker on the right needle.
- Push the stitches close to the needle tips to prepare for knitting.
- Use the right needle to knit into the first stitch of the left needle.
- Knit the first stitch from the left needle and pull it tight to join in the round.
- Continue knitting across the entire round.
- Move the marker to the right needle and keep knitting.
- After knitting several rounds, your work will resemble a seamless tube.
- Finish by weaving in the cast-on tail to close any gaps.
Knitting in the round is an essential skill that takes your knitting beyond the basics. With all these steps and guides that will help you to use your circular needles, you’re well on your way to mastering knitting in the round. Through the process of knitting in the round with circular needles step by step, covering the basics, needle selection, and providing detailed instructions will help you to make your own knitting designs.
Also Read: How To Wash Chunky Knit Blanket