Just as with DPNs, you can also knit a seamless tube on circular needles. Like a double point needle, a circular needle has sharpened tips on both ends. A circular needle, however, will have a long, flexible cord between the two needle tips. This allows you to bring the ends of the needle together and knit in spirals or “rounds.” With fewer needles to manage, knitting in the round on circular needles tends to go a bit faster.
When to Knit with Circular Needles
When you want to seamlessly knit a tube of fabric, circular needles are a great option. Choose a circular needle that is roughly the same length as your finished object will measure around in circumference. Here, I am making the brim of an adult-sized hat with 16-inch circular needles. Shorter circular needles allow you to make smaller items like gloves or socks, while longer circulars are great for pillow covers and sweaters.
Below you will find both video and written guides to help you learn how to knit in the round on circular needles.
Video Guide: How to Knit in the Round on Circular Needles
Written Guide: How to Knit in the Round on Circular Needles
Knit with Circulars, Step 1:
Using one end of the circular needle held in your right hand, cast on all of the stitches called for by your pattern; here, we will use the long-tail cast on.
Knit with Circulars, Step 2:
To keep track of the beginnings and ends of your rounds, slip a stitch marker onto your needle tip directly after your last cast-on stitch.
Knit with Circulars, Step 3:
Ensure you have not twisted any stitches. If you have not twisted stitches, you will have a straight edge along the bottom of your knitting needles.
The back side of the needles will have a “purl-side” pattern. If your stitches are twisted, straighten them before proceeding.
Knit with Circulars, Step 4:
Continue grasping the same needle with your right hand while packing up the other end of the circular needle in your left hand. The needle tip with the last cast-on stitch should be in your right hand and the tip with the first cast-on stitch (the slip knot) should be in your left hand.
Knit with Circulars, Step 5:
Wrap the working yarn (coming from the righthand needle) around your left hand in your preferred yarn hold. Bring the needle tips toward one another to assume the knitting position.
Knit with Circulars, Step 6:
Slide the live stitches rightward, toward the tip of the left needle. Insert the right-hand needle tip into the first live stitch on the left-hand needle (this was your slipknot).
Knit with Circulars, Step 7:
Work directly into the live stitch and move it off the left needle tip and onto the right; this will “join the round” and connect the two ends of your cast on.
Knit with Circulars, Step 8:
Following your pattern, continue working stitches off the left needle tip and onto the right. When you have reached your stitch marker, you have finished one row/round.
Knit with Circulars, Step 9:
Move the stitch marker from the left-hand needle to the right-hand needle.
Knit with Circulars, Step 10:
Begin working your next row/round.
Knit with Circulars, Step 11:
The more circular rows or “rounds” that you knit in this spiral method, the more tube-like your knit will become.
Practice With My Knitting Pattern
My Beginner Knit Ear Warmer Pattern is a great place to start learning to knit in the round. The larger sizes can be made with 16-inch long circular needles.
In many of my patterns, you will be asked to switch needle sizes as you work in the round. In the next lesson, I’ll show you how to switch needle sizes when you are working with circular needles.