Knitting in the Round - Expert Tips and Tricks

Tuesday, 22 June 2021  |  Admin

Knitting in the Round - Expert Tips and Tricks

by Josh Walker, Knit and Crochet Tutor

  Hello there, fellow yarn artists!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been knitting for a little while now, having perfected scarves, blankets, pot holders, washcloths, and just about anything else you can knit flat. You probably gaze wistfully at hats, socks, and tube scarves, wishing you could make those. What if I told you you could? And what if I told you knitting in the round is actually easier than knitting flat?

Now, now, I hear you screaming, “BALDERDASH!” at your computers. But it’s true! Would I lie to you?

I had been knitting for a few years before I allowed myself to consider what I thought was the highly advanced technique of knitting in the round. There was no beginning or end, you used five needles instead of two; it was intimidating! But I’m here to tell you—yes, YOU—that you can do it. If you can knit flat, you can knit round. And here’s how you do it.

Firstly, I would start off with a set of circular needles before trying double-pointed needles (DPNs). Circular needles are two short needles connected by a flexible cord. I personally use circular needles for all of my knitting, flat and round alike. They’re fantastic and they allow you to knit in the round without fumbling with four or five separate needles. As circular needles come in a variety of different lengths, from 22cm for things like socks and gloves to 150cm for blankets and afghans.

For your first foray into circular knitting, I would suggest the simplest pattern: the tube scarf. To make a tube scarf, cast on your desired number of stitches onto 40cm circular needles. Remember, since this will be a tube, if your preferred width is 40 stitches, you’ll want to cast on 80 stitches total. Spread your stitches along the entire length of the needles, making sure there are no twists. Next comes the only real tricky part; you’ll need to do what’s called joining in the round. This means turning a line of 80 stitches into a closed loop. And to do that, all you need to do is swap the first and last stitches. Take the first stitch on the left needle and place it on the right needle. Then, passing the last stitch on the right needle over the stitch you just moved there, move it to the left needle. Voila, you have just joined in the round. At this point, you’ll need to place a stitch marker (usually a small plastic ring) onto your right needle to mark the beginning of the round. Then, just knit!

It really is that simple. Remember when I said that knitting in the round is actually easier than knitting flat? Have you worked out what I meant by that yet? Knitting in the round means knitting in one continuous spiral. This means no turning your work. That’s right. No turning your work. If you, like me, love stockinette stitch but hate purling, knitting in the round was tailor made for you. Once you’ve joined your work in the round, just knit, knit. Knit until you’ve reached your desired length. Then bind off like normal and stitch up the ends of the tube. That’s it.

Once you feel comfortable with knitting in the round, you can begin playing with different stitches and patterns. First, you’ll probably try some colourwork with stripes. But soon enough, you’ll branch out and play with textures and shapes until you find yourself knitting pretty much anything your imagination can come up with. You’ll be amazed at the new possibilities opened up to you just by learning this simple yet versatile technique.

Happy knitting!