5 Tips for Knitting in the Round

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in Knitting | Comments


From seamless hats to fingerless gloves, knitting in the round opens up your knitting to a whole new world full of double-pointed and circular needles.  But knitting in the round isn’t always a walk in the park. Here are a few tips for knitting in the round to avoid frustrations — and to avoid ripping out your project.

Lacy Cabled Knit Cowl, on Craftsy.com

Photo via Craftsy instructor Stefanie Japel

1. Circular knitting needle lengths

When you’re knitting with circular needles, make sure your circular needle’s length is slightly shorter than your project’s finished circumference. This pretty Lacy Cabled Cowl, taught in Stefanie Japel’s Knit Lab: In the Round class, has a circumference of about 30″, but it’s knit on a 24″ circular needle. A larger circular needle length would stretch the stitches too much, completely altering the gauge and therefore altering the finished circumference of the project. And of course, you’d never use a circular needle that’s significantly shorter than the project’s finished circumference. Can you imagine trying to cram this cowl’s stitches onto a 16″ needle and still have room to knit? Yikes!

2. Tighten those tails

If you find that joining your work into the round produces a few loose stitches or even a gap on that first row where the join happens, just pull taut on the tail when you go back to weave in the ends. No one will ever know the difference!

3. Get colorful with stitch markers

Marking the first stitch in the round is super important, but sometimes you need to use multiple stitch markers to mark other things in the pattern, like decreases or cables. If you plan to use more than one stitch marker, mark the beginning of the round with a different color so that you don’t get confused as you’re knitting.

Fingerless Knit Gloves - on Craftsy

Photo via Craftsy instructor Stefanie Japel

4. Casting on to double-pointed needles

When you’re casting on a project that uses double-pointed needles, cast all your stitches onto one needle, then divide them up onto multiple needles. It’s hard enough to juggle all those double-pointed needles on the first few rows, so save yourself some grief and make the cast-on part a little easier.

5. Organizing your needles

Buying circular and double-pointed needles can cause a lot of clutter in your craft space. Avoid tangled circular needles and misplaced double-pointed needles with handy tools like double-pointed needle cases. If you want to invest in a large set of circular needles, try interchangeable knitting needles. These needles don’t require tons of cords and they keep all your circulars in one neat, organized place.

Sometimes you need just a little extra help when you’re learning to knit in the round. If you’d like expert guidance along the way, check out Stefanie Japel’s Knit Lab: In the Round class. She’ll walk you through helpful techniques like making a magic loop, plus help you knit the beautiful projects seen in this post.

We’ll continue discussing knitting in the round tomorrow on the Craftsy blog with a look at the differences between fixed circular and double-pointed needles.

Do you have any tips for knitting in the round, either on circular or double-pointed needles?