Have you ever admired a cozy knit hat or a stylish pair of mittens and wondered how they were made? If so, you’re in luck! In this beginner’s guide, we will walk you through the process of knitting in the round, a technique used to create seamless circular projects such as hats, socks, and cowls.
Knitting in the round eliminates the need for sewing seams, making it an efficient and enjoyable way to create a wide variety of projects. Whether you’re a seasoned knitter looking to expand your skills or a complete beginner eager to learn a new craft, knitting in the round is a technique worth exploring.
Before diving into the steps, let’s briefly talk about the tools you’ll need. Firstly, you’ll need a set of double-pointed needles or a circular needle. Double-pointed needles are shorter and have points on both ends, while circular needles have a flexible cable between two needle tips. Both options work well, so it’s a matter of personal preference. You’ll also need a skein of yarn in your chosen color and weight, as well as any additional tools such as stitch markers and a tapestry needle for finishing.
Pro tip: Choose a smooth yarn for your first project, as it will be easier to work with and show your stitches more clearly.
Now that you have your tools ready, let’s get started with the step-by-step process of knitting in the round. By the end of this guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful circular knits!
The Basics of Knitting in the Round
Knitting in the round is a technique used to create seamless projects such as hats, socks, and sweaters. Instead of knitting back and forth in rows, you will be knitting in a continuous circle. This allows you to easily create tubular or cylindrical shapes without the need for seaming.
- Circular knitting needles or double-pointed needles
- Stitch markers
- Tape measure or ruler
1. Casting On:
Before you can begin knitting in the round, you need to cast on your stitches. This can be done using any method you prefer. When casting on for circular knitting, make sure to join your cast-on stitches in a circle by knitting the first stitch you cast on together with the last stitch.
2. Placing Stitch Markers:
To help you keep track of your rounds, place stitch markers at the beginning and end of your round. You can also place additional stitch markers at specific intervals if your pattern requires it.
- Hold your knitting needles with the cast-on edge facing away from you.
- Insert your right needle into the first stitch on your left needle, knitting it as you normally would.
- Continue knitting each stitch around the circle, using a knit stitch or any other stitch pattern specified in your pattern.
- When you reach the end of the round, the stitch marker will indicate the beginning of the next round.
- Slide the stitch marker from the left needle to the right needle.
- Continue knitting in this manner, working in a continuous circle, following your pattern instructions.
4. Checking Gauge:
It is important to check your gauge when knitting in the round, especially if you’re working on a project with a specific size requirement. Use a tape measure or ruler to measure your stitches per inch to ensure that your tension matches the pattern’s instructions.
5. Joining New Yarn:
If you run out of yarn during your project or need to change colors, join a new ball of yarn by overlapping the ends and knitting a few stitches with both strands held together. Then continue knitting with the new yarn, making sure to weave in the loose ends later to secure them.
By following these basic steps, you can begin knitting in the round and create a variety of seamless projects. With practice, you’ll be able to tackle more complex patterns and designs.
Choosing the Right Needles and Yarn
When starting your knitting in the round project, it is essential to choose the right needles and yarn. Here are some factors to consider:
- Needles: For knitting in the round, you’ll need circular needles or double-pointed needles (DPNs). Circular needles are recommended for beginners as they are easier to work with and provide more flexibility in terms of project size. DPNs are used for smaller projects or when working on projects with small circumferences, such as socks or gloves.
- Material: Needles can be made from different materials, such as metal, wood, or plastic. The material you choose depends on your personal preference. Metal needles are smooth and slick, allowing the stitches to glide easily. Wood needles provide a warmer touch and a bit more grip, preventing the stitches from slipping. Plastic needles are lightweight and often less expensive but may not be as durable as metal or wood.
- Size: The size of the needles is indicated by a number, such as US 7 or 4.5mm. The size you need will depend on the yarn weight and the desired fabric density. Thinner yarns require smaller needles, while thicker yarns need larger needles. Check the label on your yarn for a recommended needle size or consult a knitting pattern.
Next, let’s move on to choosing the right yarn for your knitting in the round project:
- Yarn Weight: Yarn comes in different weights, ranging from lace to super bulky. The weight of yarn you choose will depend on the project you’re working on and the desired outcome. Thinner yarns, such as lace or fingering weight, are suitable for delicate projects like shawls or lightweight garments. Bulky or super bulky yarns are great for cozy winter accessories.
- Fiber Content: Yarn can be made from various fibers, such as wool, cotton, acrylic, or blends. The fiber content affects the drape, warmth, and care instructions of the finished project. Wool yarn is warm and elastic, making it suitable for sweaters and hats. Cotton yarn is breathable and cool, making it ideal for warm-weather garments. Acrylic yarn is budget-friendly and easy to care for, making it great for baby items or blankets.
- Color and Texture: Lastly, consider the color and texture of the yarn. Choose a color that you love and that complements your project. Experiment with different textures, such as smooth, fluffy, or textured yarns, to add visual interest to your knitting.
By selecting the right needles and yarn for your knitting in the round project, you’ll set yourself up for success and create a project you’ll love.
Casting On for Knitting in the Round
When knitting in the round, the first step is to cast on your stitches onto a circular needle or double-pointed needles. Casting on for knitting in the round is similar to casting on for flat knitting, but there are a few important differences to keep in mind.
1. Choose your cast-on method:
- Long-tail cast on: This is a commonly used cast-on method that creates a neat and elastic edge.
- Knitted cast on: This method is simple and versatile, making it a good choice for beginners.
- Cable cast on: This cast-on method is useful when you need a firm and stable edge.
2. Determine the number of stitches to cast on:
Depending on your knitting pattern, you may have a specified number of stitches to cast on, or you may need to calculate the number of stitches yourself. If you need help determining the number of stitches, refer to your pattern for guidance.
3. Divide your stitches evenly:
If you are using a circular needle, you will need to divide your stitches evenly around the needle. This can be done by using stitch markers to mark the beginning and end of each round.
4. Join in the round:
Once you have cast on your stitches and divided them evenly, you are ready to join in the round. Hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your right hand and bring the working yarn from the last stitch cast on over to the left-hand needle. This will join your stitches in a continuous circle.
5. Double check your cast on:
Before you start knitting, double check that your stitches are not twisted around the needle. Make sure that all the stitches are facing the same way and that they are in the correct order.
Congratulations! You have successfully cast on your stitches for knitting in the round. Now you are ready to start knitting your project using circular needles or double-pointed needles.
Joining the Round and Creating a Seamless Seam
When knitting in the round, joining the round is an essential step to create a seamless project. This technique is commonly used for knitting hats, cowls, sleeves, and socks. Follow these steps to join the round and create a seamless seam:
- After casting on the desired number of stitches, ensure that your stitches are not twisted on the needle.
- Hold your working yarn in your right hand and the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand.
- Insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle as if to knit.
- Wrap the yarn around the right needle counterclockwise.
- Pull the yarn through the stitch, creating a new stitch on the right needle.
- Slide the new stitch to the right needle’s tip, ensuring that the stitches are not twisted.
- Repeat steps 3-6 until all stitches have been worked and are on the right needle.
Now that you have joined the round, you can begin working in a continuous spiral. To create a seamless seam when knitting in the round:
- Knit all rounds in the desired stitch pattern without turning your work.
- Use stitch markers to mark significant points in your pattern, such as the beginning of a round, pattern repeats, or increases/decreases.
- Continue knitting until you have completed the required number of rounds for your project.
- When finished, you can bind off your stitches as usual, or use a stretchy bind off if required.
By joining the round correctly and knitting in a continuous spiral, you can create a seamless seam in your knitting project. This technique is great for avoiding visible seams and is particularly useful for projects like hats and socks.
Knitting Techniques for Knitting in the Round
Knitting in the round opens up a whole new world of possibilities for creating seamless and continuous knitted projects. Here are some important techniques to know when knitting in the round:
- Circular Needles: To knit in the round, you will need a circular needle. Circular needles have two needle tips connected by a flexible cable. The length of the cable will depend on the circumference of your project.
- Joining: To start knitting in the round, you need to join your cast-on stitches in a circle. After casting on, arrange your stitches evenly on the needle tips, making sure they are not twisted. Hold the working yarn in your right hand, insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle, and knit as usual.
- Markers: Using stitch markers can help you keep track of the beginning of your rounds or specific points in your pattern. Place a marker on the right needle after the first stitch to mark the beginning of the round. Additionally, you can place markers to indicate pattern repeats, decreases, or other important points in your project.
- Working in the Round: When knitting in the round, you will continuously knit from the right needle to the left needle, following your pattern instructions. Since you are working in a circle, the right side of your work will always be facing you, and you do not need to turn your project.
- Changing Needles: If you are working on a project with a small circumference, such as a hat or a sleeve, you may need to switch to double-pointed needles (DPNs) when there are too few stitches to fit comfortably on the circular needle. DPNs are short needles with points on both ends, allowing you to distribute your stitches evenly among them.
- Keeping Tension: It’s important to maintain an even tension when knitting in the round. Make sure not to pull your stitches too tightly, as this can lead to a tight fabric. Alternatively, avoid leaving your stitches too loose, as this can result in loose or uneven stitches.
With these basic knitting techniques, you will be well-equipped to start knitting in the round and create a variety of seamless and beautiful projects.
Increasing and Decreasing Stitches in the Round
When knitting in the round, increasing and decreasing stitches are essential techniques to shape your project. Here are some common methods to increase and decrease stitches in the round:
1. Knit Front and Back (KFB)
- Insert your right needle into the front of the next stitch on the left needle.
- Knit the stitch as usual, but do not slip it off the left needle.
- Without removing the stitch from the left needle, insert your right needle into the back of the same stitch.
- Knit the stitch again.
- Slip the stitch off the left needle, and you have increased one stitch.
2. Make One (M1)
- Insert your left needle from front to back under the horizontal strand between the current and next stitch.
- Knit into the back of this strand, twisting it to prevent a hole from forming.
- Slip the new stitch onto the right needle, and you have increased one stitch.
1. Knit Two Together (K2tog)
- Insert your right needle into the next two stitches on the left needle as if to knit.
- Knit these two stitches together as one stitch.
- Slip the new stitch off the left needle, and you have decreased one stitch.
2. Slip, Slip, Knit (SSK)
- Slip the next stitch from the left needle to the right needle as if to knit.
- Slip the following stitch from the left needle to the right needle as if to purl.
- Insert the left needle into the front loops of both slipped stitches.
- Knit these two stitches together through the back loops.
- Slip the new stitch off the left needle, and you have decreased one stitch.
Remember to always follow the pattern instructions for the specific increases and decreases needed for your project. Practice these techniques, and you’ll be able to shape your knitting in the round effortlessly.
Knitting Patterns and Projects for Beginners
Knitting can be a great hobby for beginners, and there are many patterns and projects that are perfect for those who are just starting out. Whether you prefer to knit in the round or work flat, there are plenty of options to choose from.
If you’re new to knitting, it’s best to start with simple and straightforward patterns. This will help you practice basic knitting techniques and get comfortable with the different stitches and tools. Here are a few beginner-friendly knitting patterns and projects to get you started:
- Scarves: Scarves are a classic project for beginners. They are easy to knit and can be made using a variety of stitch patterns. You can choose to knit a simple garter stitch scarf or try your hand at a more intricate pattern like a ribbed or seed stitch scarf.
- Hats: Hats are another great project for beginners. They can be knitted in the round or worked flat, depending on your preference. A basic beanie pattern is a good place to start, or you can experiment with different ribbing or colorwork techniques.
- Blankets: Knitting a blanket is a larger project, but it can be a rewarding one for beginners. Start with a simple pattern and choose a chunky yarn for a quicker finish. You can opt for a basic garter stitch blanket or try a pattern with stripes or textured stitches.
- Headbands: Headbands are a fun and quick project that can be knitted in the round. They are great for practicing simple stitch patterns and can be a stylish accessory for colder weather. Try knitting a basic seed stitch or ribbed headband.
- Coasters: Coasters are a small and practical project that beginners can easily tackle. They are perfect for practicing basic stitches and can be a great way to use up leftover yarn. Experiment with different stitch patterns or color combinations to create unique coasters.
As a beginner, it’s important to choose patterns and projects that are within your skill level. Take your time, practice the basic stitches, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. With practice, you’ll soon be ready to tackle more advanced knitting projects.
Troubleshooting Common Issues and Mistakes
When starting out with knitting in the round, it’s common to encounter some issues and make mistakes. Here are some common problems you may face and tips on how to troubleshoot them:
- Twisted Stitches: One of the most common mistakes beginners make when knitting in the round is accidentally twisting their stitches. This can happen when you join your work in the round and start knitting in the wrong direction. To avoid twisted stitches, make sure your stitches are aligned correctly on your needles before joining in the round.
- Gaps between Needles: Another issue you may come across is gaps between your needles when knitting in the round. These gaps can result in holes or ladders in your work. To prevent this, make sure your tension is consistent and snugly pull your working yarn between the first and second stitches on each needle when transitioning from one needle to the next.
- Uneven Tension: Maintaining a consistent tension is essential for producing even stitches. If you find that your stitches are uneven, try adjusting your grip on the needles or experimenting with different knitting techniques to find the method that works best for you.
- Losing Track of Your Round: Knitting in the round can sometimes make it difficult to keep track of which round you’re on, especially if you’re knitting a complex pattern. To avoid confusion, consider using stitch markers to mark the beginning of each round. You can also make a tally or note every time you complete a round to help you stay organized.
- Untwisting the Circular Needles: As you knit, your circular needles may twist, making it challenging to work on your project. To untwist the needles, simply hold the needle tips with one hand and the project with the other hand and allow the cables to dangle freely. Gravity will help untwist the cable naturally.
Remember, knitting is a learning process, and it’s natural to make mistakes along the way. The key is to practice patience and persistence. Don’t be afraid to unravel your work and start again if you’re not satisfied with the results. With time and practice, you’ll become more comfortable knitting in the round and troubleshoot these common issues with ease.
Why should I knit in the round instead of using straight needles?
Knitting in the round allows you to create seamless tubes of fabric, which is ideal for projects like hats, socks, and sweaters. It eliminates the need for seaming and gives a neater finished look.
What materials do I need to start knitting in the round?
To start knitting in the round, you will need a set of circular knitting needles or double-pointed needles, depending on the project you are working on. You will also need some yarn and stitch markers.
Can I use regular knitting needles for knitting in the round?
If you want to knit in the round, regular straight knitting needles won’t work. You will need to use either circular needles or double-pointed needles to hold your stitches.
How do I choose the right size needles for my project?
The size of needles you choose depends on the weight of your yarn and the stitch pattern you are using. Most yarn labels will recommend a needle size range to achieve the desired gauge. It’s essential to swatch and check your gauge before starting your project.
What is the magic loop method, and when should I use it?
The magic loop method is a technique used to knit small projects in the round using a long circular needle. It is ideal for projects with a small circumference, such as socks or sleeves, where using double-pointed needles might feel too fiddly.
What are some beginner-friendly projects I can knit in the round?
Some beginner-friendly projects to knit in the round include hats, cowls, and simple socks. These projects usually require basic knit and purl stitches and are a great way to practice knitting in the round.
Do I need to learn any new stitches to knit in the round?
No, you don’t need to learn any new stitches to knit in the round. You can use the same knit and purl stitches you would use when knitting on straight needles. The only difference is that you will be working in the round instead of back and forth.