Beginner’s Guide to Knitting in the Round

Are you a beginner eager to learn the art of knitting in the round? Look no further! This guide is here to assist you in unraveling the mysteries of this technique. Whether you’re creating a cozy hat, a snug pair of socks, or a trendy cowl, knitting in the round allows you to seamlessly craft your projects without the hassle of seams. So grab your needles, select your favorite yarn, and get ready to embark on a knitting adventure that will keep you warm and stylish all year round.

Getting Started

Knitting in the round opens up a whole new world of possibilities for knitters. It allows you to create seamless projects with no need for any seams or sewing. If you’re a beginner interested in exploring this technique, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know to get started with knitting in the round.

Choosing the Right Needles

The first step in knitting in the round is selecting the right needles. Circular needles and double-pointed needles are the two main options you have. Circular needles have two pointed needle tips connected by a flexible cable, making them perfect for large projects like sweaters or blankets. On the other hand, double-pointed needles come in sets of four or five, and they are ideal for smaller projects like socks or mittens. It’s important to choose the needle type that suits your project and personal preference.

Selecting Yarn

Choosing the right yarn for your knitting project is crucial. When knitting in the round, it’s best to pick a yarn that has good stitch definition and is easy to work with. Medium-weight yarn, also known as worsted weight, is a popular choice for beginners as it is versatile and widely available. However, feel free to experiment with different yarn weights and fibers to achieve the desired look and feel of your finished project.

Understanding Gauge

Before diving into your project, it’s important to understand the concept of gauge. Gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows per inch in your knitting. It may vary depending on the needles, yarn, and your personal tension. Taking the time to do a gauge swatch before starting your project can save you from potential headaches down the road. Make a small sample using your chosen needles and yarn, and measure the number of stitches and rows per inch. Adjust your needle size accordingly to achieve the correct gauge specified in your pattern.

Preparing to Knit in the Round

Casting On

Once you have gathered your supplies, it’s time to cast on. To start knitting in the round, you’ll need to cast on stitches just like you would for flat knitting. The only difference is that you won’t be joining the ends to create a flat piece. When casting on, make sure to leave an extra-long tail, as you’ll need it later to close any gaps in the initial round.

Joining in the Round

After casting on, it’s time to join in the round. Take extra care to ensure your stitches are not twisted around the needle. Insert the right needle tip into the first cast-on stitch and knit it with the working yarn from the left needle. This connects your knitting into a circle, and you’re now officially knitting in the round!

Using Circular Needles

If you’ve chosen to work with circular needles, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the different techniques involved. With circular needles, you can knit two ways: using the magic loop method or knitting with a shorter circular needle. The magic loop method involves using a longer circular needle and creating a loop to divide your stitches. On the other hand, if you’re using a shorter circular needle, you’ll need to switch to double-pointed needles or the magic loop method when decreasing your stitches for smaller projects like hats or sleeves.

Using Double-Pointed Needles

For those working with double-pointed needles, the process is slightly different. Divide your stitches equally onto three or four needles, depending on the set you have. Make sure to distribute your stitches evenly to avoid any ladders or gaps when working on your project. It can be helpful to use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of your round, making it easier to keep track of your progress.

Knitting Techniques for Circular Needles

Knitting in Stockinette Stitch

Stockinette stitch is one of the most basic and popular knitting stitches. To knit stockinette stitch in the round, simply alternate knitting one round and purling the next until you have reached your desired length. This creates a smooth, flat side (the right side) and a bumpy side (the wrong side) in your fabric.

Knitting in Garter Stitch

Garter stitch is another simple and versatile stitch pattern. To knit garter stitch in the round, simply knit every round. This creates a textured fabric with ridges on both sides. Garter stitch is often used for scarves, blankets, or other projects where you want a reversible pattern.

Knitting Ribbing

Ribbing is a stretchy and decorative stitch pattern commonly used for cuffs, hems, and necklines. To knit ribbing in the round, alternate between knitting and purling stitches in a specific pattern. A common ribbing pattern is k1, p1, which means knitting one stitch, then purling one stitch, and repeating this pattern across the round. Experiment with different ribbing patterns to add texture and interest to your projects.

Knitting Cables

Cables are a beautiful and intricate stitch pattern that can add depth and texture to your knitting. To knit cables in the round, you’ll need to use a cable needle or a double-pointed needle to hold stitches while you cross others over them. Cables can be simple or complex, depending on the pattern you choose. They create the illusion of twisted or braided strands running through your fabric.

Knitting Techniques for Double-Pointed Needles

Dividing Stitches

When working with double-pointed needles, you’ll need to divide your stitches equally onto multiple needles. This ensures an even distribution of stitches and prevents any ladders or gaps from forming between the needles. Take care to transfer the stitches smoothly, ensuring they are not twisted or tangled. Using stitch markers to mark the beginning and end of your rounds can also help you keep track of your progress.

Working with the Needles

Double-pointed needles can be a bit intimidating at first, but with practice, they become second nature. Hold one needle in your right hand, as you would with a regular knitting needle, and hold the other needle in your left hand. Use the third or fourth needle to knit the stitches from the first needle, then move on to the next needle and repeat the process. As you knit, keep the other needles out of the way to prevent any accidents or dropped stitches.

Avoiding Ladders

Ladders are gaps that can form between your double-pointed needles when knitting in the round. They occur when the tension between the needles is not consistent. To avoid ladders, make sure to knit the first stitch tightly after switching to the next needle. This tight stitch helps close any potential gaps. Additionally, gently pulling the yarn between the needles can help redistribute the tension and create an even fabric.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Twisted Stitches

One of the most common mistakes when knitting in the round is accidentally twisting your stitches. Twisted stitches can ruin the overall look of your project and make it difficult to continue knitting. To prevent twisted stitches, make sure all your stitches are oriented in the same direction before joining in the round. You can easily check this by laying your knitting flat and ensuring the cast-on edge is facing the same way as your working yarn.

Gaps at Join

Another frequent issue is gaps appearing at the point where you join in the round. These gaps can form due to loose tension or not adequately closing the circle when joining. To combat this problem, use your extra-long tail from the cast on to close any gaps by weaving it through the initial stitches. This will create a seamless and gap-free transition between your first and second rounds.

Uneven Tension

Achieving consistent tension is key to creating a professional-looking finished project. Uneven tension can result in an irregular fabric with tight and loose areas, affecting both the appearance and fit of your item. Take your time to ensure your tension remains consistent throughout your project. If necessary, practice knitting in the round on a swatch until you are comfortable and confident in your tension.

Accidental Yarn Overs

Yarn overs can be unintentional eyelets or holes in your knitting. They typically occur when you forget to move the working yarn to the correct position before knitting or purling the next stitch. Pay close attention to your knitting and make sure the working yarn is positioned correctly. If you do accidentally create a yarn over, simply drop that extra loop and continue knitting normally.

Tips for Success

Using Stitch Markers

Stitch markers are essential tools when knitting in the round. They help you keep track of the beginning and end of your rounds, as well as marking specific sections or pattern repeats. Place a stitch marker on your needle after completing the first round to mark the beginning, and move it up as you progress. This simple tool will save you from confusion and help you stay organized throughout your project.

Tracking Rows

Counting rows when knitting in the round can be challenging, especially if you’re using a complicated stitch pattern. To keep track of your rows, place a removable stitch marker or piece of contrasting yarn every few rounds. This will act as a visual guide and make it easy to track your progress. Alternatively, you can use a row counter or make a tally mark on a piece of paper for each completed row.

Blocking the Finished Project

Blocking is a crucial step in knitting that helps to shape and even out your finished project. It involves wetting your knitting, gently shaping it to the desired dimensions, and allowing it to dry in that shape. Blocking can help smooth out any uneven stitches, open up lace patterns, and improve the drape of your fabric. Follow the specific blocking instructions for your yarn and project to achieve the best results.


Fixing Mistakes on Circular Needles

Making mistakes while knitting is inevitable, but the good news is that most mistakes can be fixed. If you notice a dropped stitch or a mistake in your knitting on circular needles, you can use a crochet hook or a smaller knitting needle to pick up the dropped stitch and correct the error. Take your time and carefully work your way back to the mistake, ensuring that you catch and fix every stitch correctly.

Fixing Mistakes on Double-Pointed Needles

Fixing mistakes on double-pointed needles follows a similar process to circular needles. Use a crochet hook or smaller knitting needle to carefully pick up any dropped stitches or fix any errors. Pay close attention to the positioning of the stitches and make sure they are correct before moving on. Take your time and work methodically to avoid creating further mistakes or dropped stitches.

Projects to Start With

Simple Hat

A simple hat is an excellent project for practicing your skills in knitting in the round. Choose a pattern that matches your skill level, whether it’s a basic ribbed hat or a stockinette stitch beanie. Knitting a hat allows you to familiarize yourself with the techniques needed to knit in the round while creating a functional and stylish accessory.

Beanie with Ribbing

A beanie with ribbing is an excellent next step after mastering the basics. Ribbing adds texture and elasticity to a hat, ensuring a comfortable and snug fit. Experiment with different ribbing patterns, such as k2, p2, or k1, p1, and combine them with stockinette stitch or garter stitch for a unique and personalized beanie.

Basic Cowl

A basic cowl is a versatile accessory that can be worn in various ways to keep you warm and stylish. Choose a pattern that suits your style and knit it in the round. Whether you prefer a simple garter stitch cowl or a more intricate cable pattern, knitting a cowl allows you to practice different techniques and create a beautiful and functional accessory.


A headband is a quick and easy project that is perfect for beginners. It’s a great way to practice knitting in the round on a smaller scale while creating a practical accessory. Choose a fun stitch pattern or keep it simple with garter stitch or ribbing. Headbands make great gifts and can be customized to match any style or outfit.

Next Steps

Exploring Advanced Techniques

Once you’ve mastered the basics of knitting in the round, it’s time to explore more advanced techniques. Challenge yourself by trying more intricate stitch patterns such as lace or colorwork. Experiment with different increases and decreases to shape your projects. The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and explore new techniques.

Experimenting with Different Yarns

As you gain more experience knitting in the round, venture into the world of different yarns. Explore the qualities of different fibers, yarn weights, and colorways. Each yarn has its own unique characteristics that can dramatically affect the look and feel of your finished project. Embrace the opportunity to experiment and discover your favorite yarns.

Designing Your Own Patterns

Once you feel confident in your knitting skills, why not try your hand at designing your own patterns? Start by modifying existing patterns to fit your preferences, then gradually transition into creating your original designs. You can explore new stitch patterns, experiment with varied shapes and sizes, and customize patterns to suit your individual style. Designing your own patterns is a creative and rewarding way to take your knitting to the next level.


Congratulations on embarking on your knitting in the round journey! By choosing the right needles, selecting yarn, understanding gauge, and practicing various knitting techniques, you’re well on your way to becoming a proficient knitter in the round. Remember to embrace the versatility of knitting in the round, and let your creativity shine through your projects. Happy knitting!