Knitting in the round creates a tube shape, such as with gloves, a hat, or a sweater. Essentially you’re knitting in a spiral. This has the added benefit of eliminating any kind of seam, which you would have if you instead knit the piece flat and then stitched it into a tube shape.
Joining in the Round after Casting On
One easy way to connect stitches into the round is to cast on one more stitch than necessary. Then slip the first stitch from your left needle to the right, and pull the stitch with your working yarn attached (the second stitch on the right hand needle) over and off the stitch you just slipped. This isn’t as easy if using the traditional magic loop method.
The following are some helpful tips when knitting in the round:
- Before joining, make sure none of your stitches are twisted.
- Always make sure you’re knitting on the outside of the circle; this is particularly important when picking up your work after taking a break.
- It’s helpful to use a stitch marker to mark the end of each round.
Knitting Flat vs. Knitting in the Round
When knitting flat, to create stockinette you knit a row and then purl a row; to create garter stitch, you knit every row. Knitting in the round is exactly the opposite: to create stockinette you knit every round; to create garter stitch you knit a row and then purl a row.
Different Methods of Knitting in the Round
There are four ways (I know of) to knit in the round:
- Circular needle in the correct length (measuring both the needles and cable in between) – shown with green yarn in the image above;
- Double pointed needles – shown with red yarn;
- Traditional magic loop with one very long cable needle – shown with yellow yarn; and
- Magic loop with two sets of cable needles – shown with purple yarn.
The following video gives an introduction to all four methods, along with pros and cons and examples of when I typically use each: