Donna's Writings

03/27/2012

Lesson: Knitting in the Round

Knitting in the round is quite easy, and many people love it so much they never knit back and forth once they try circular knitting. It eliminates the need to sew seems, which can be an added bonus if you don’t like finishing.

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The only hard part about knitting in the round is getting started. You have to get the stitches onto the needles and join them into a circle without twisting them.

When working on circular needles, cast on then place the needles on a flat surface and make sure all of the stitches are lined up on the inside of the curve of the needles. With the tail and the working yarn on the right needle, pick up the needles carefully, and knit the first couple of stitches. This joins the knitting into a circle. Just knit around and around and around. You can use the yarn tail to keep track of the beginning of the round (as I do), or you can put a little plastic marker onto the needle and slip it every time you come to it.

 

Knitting with double-pointed needles (dpns) is not very different, but it is slightly more cumbersome until you get used to it. In fact, switching needles as you progress around becomes part of the rhythm of knitting.

When working on dpns, cast on then divide the stiches evenly onto 3 or 4 needles. Do this by just slipping the stitches from one needle to another. You can put your work on 4 needles and knit with the fourth (my preference and common in the United States) or you can put your work on 4 needles and knit with the fifth (common in Europe). If you’ve never used double-pointed needles before, try both setups to see which is most comfortable for you.

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Place the needles on a flat surface and make sure all of the stitches are lined up on the inside of the triangle or square formed by the needles. With the tail and the working yarn on the right needle, pick up the needles carefully, and knit the first couple of stitches. This joins the knitting into a circle.

If you are new to circular knitting, I suggest you try a project on circular needles first. A hat is a good project, because you have to switch to double pointed needles when you knit the crown. Because you already have the rest of the hat knitted, switching from circular to double-pointeds is easy, and you only have to knit a few rows on the mutliple needles. When you are ready to switch, pick up one dpn and knit 1/4 to 1/3 of the stitches. Pick up another dpn and knit the second batch. Continue until all of the sts have been knitted onto 3 or 4 dpns and the round is complete.

To start the next round, take another empty dpn and knit all of the sts off of the first needle. The first needle is now empty. Use this needle to knit the stitches off of the second needle. Keep going in this manner.

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