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How to Knit in a Circle to Join Knitting in the Round

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Learn how to join your knitting in the rounds to knit hats. This technique is a simple and easy way to join knitting with cable needles.

To knit beanies or hats we need to join our knitting in the round. This means we’ll knit in a circle, and continue working on the same side and in the same direction.

If you have only used regular straight needles to primarily knit flat, then eventually you’ll need to learn how to knit in the round. For this tutorial you’ll need needles with a flexible cable, called cable needles or circular needles.

Pink stitches cast on and joined in the round.
Several stitches cast on and knit in the round using cable needles.

The Needles

You can knit in the round with either DPNs (double pointed needles) or with cable needles (knitting needles attached to cables with the needles at either end).

Like most knitting techniques there are various ways to knit in the round. Here I’m going to show you how I join to knit in the round with cable needles.

There are several ways to join knitting in the round on circular (or cable) needles. The technique I show you here is my preferred method for knitting in a circle.

I find this the simplest way, and that’s helpful when you’re new to knitting and learning all the new techniques!

To knit in the round you’ll need at least a 16″ length cable for hats. If you will be decreasing (or knitting a smaller project like a cuff) you’ll need to use a longer cable (32″+) and magic loop method or DPNs.

Stitches cast on in honey gold yarn.

For beginning knitters, wooden needles are usually preferable over metal needles. The wood grips the stitches a bit more, which helps you keep them on the needle when you’re learning.

Knit Picks has a great tutorial on knitting with various needle types, you check it out here.

Yarn

For this tutorial I’m knitting with Red Heart With Love in the color Cameo. It’s such a pretty purply pink.

This is a nice soft #4 medium worsted weight yarn from Red Heart. You can use any yarn for this technique if you’re just practicing.


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Stitches/Abbreviations (US Terms)

CO – Cast On You might like to cast on with a crochet hook or this short tail cast on.

K – knit the garter stitch is easiest beginner stitch!

rep – repeat  

rnd – round

st(s) – stitch(es)

Easy Hat Knitting Patterns

If you’re a new knitter you might want to try some small projects in the round after you learn how to join and knit in a circle for the first time. These easy hats feature stitch patterns that are simple repeats for beginners!

The purple knit hat is laid flat with yarn, needle and scissors.
The Trento Hat features an easy textured stitch.

The Trento Knit Hat Pattern is an easy, worsted weight hat. And for a speedy super bulky knit hat check out the Alba Hat. This chunky hat is a free pattern that’s great for beginner knitters!

Do you know how to knit brioche? If it sounds too intimidating, you might check out the Brioche Knitting for Beginners and Beyond book and review. This definitely makes it sound accessible to new knitters!

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STITCHES cast on needles for knitting in round.

How to Knit in a Circle Video Tutorial

Watch the step by step video on how to join and knit in a circle on my YouTube here.

Scroll down for the How to Knit in a Circle Tutorial

How to Knit in a Circle Beginner Tutorial

How to Knit in a Circle Beginner Tutorial

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 1 minute
Active Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 12 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $10

Learn how to join to knit in a circle using cable needles with this step by step photo tutorial.

Materials

  • any weight yarn; I'm using a #4 medium worsted weight yarn

Tools

  • 16" + circular knitting needles in size that matches your yarn; I'm using my 4.5mm needles on 16" cables. 16" is the smallest cable length that you can knit a circle without using the magic loop technique.

Instructions

  1. Cast on the required number of stitches. Again for this method to work you need enough stitches to make it around the length of the cable and needles. If it's too small circuference then it will require another method. For this tutorial I cast on a stitch count of 84 for a Teen or Small Adult size hat.Pink stitches cast on circular knitting needles. Be sure it’s not twisted on your needles.
  2. Position your needles so the working yarn (attached to the yarn ball) is coming from the right-hand needle. The yarn tail is on the left.
  3. Bring your needle points together.
  4. Insert the right needle tip into the first stitch on your left-hand needle and knit it.Knit first stitch on left needle. When you slide the stitch to the right needle it will form a connection between the first and last stitches. You have joined in the round.
  5. Continue to knit around.
  6. When you get back to the first stitch you knit, place a stitch marker, or use the yarn tail to note the stitch at the beginning of the round.
  7. To knit in the round you'll just keep knitting when you come to that first stitch, slide the marker from the left needle on to the right needle and knit around and around.
  8. There will be a slight jog from cast on to row 1, but you can easily straighten that out when you weave in your tail.

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