Knitting in the round – a how to

Just when you think you’ve got the hang of something, the universe transpires to prove you wrong. I certainly found this to be true last week. After finishing my knitted cardigan (will post pictures when I get chance to take some in the sunshine) I’d planned to knit some nice and easy fingerless gloves from a gorgeous pattern I’d found on ravelry. I sat down on Thursday evening ready to start, opened up the pattern and saw the words ‘knit in the round’... umm... what?

It turns out knitting in the round involves either four needles or a long circular needle and is, as it says on the tin, knitting a round cylinder shape. I went for the circular needle and magic loop method, which looks a bit like an instrument of tourture but sounded less scary than four needles! So instead of a nice, easy pattern this one has been harder than the cardigan and I’m only eight rows in. However for now at least, I think I‘ve just about got the hang of it and knitting in the round and it's actually quite fun (although I may retract that statement when I get to the point of having to negotiate a thumb hole).

If you’re thinking of learning I’d highly recommend these two youtube videos - here and here, especially to get you started with separating the stitches in half on the circular needle as admittedly I was far too busy concentrating to take any pictures! After that you need to hold your needles in the position below – points facing to the right, with your ball of wool attached to the back needle. I had mine back to front to start with and I don’t think it did any damage, but it’s much easier to keep track this way.

Mark your first stitch by attaching coloured wool (tie it into the stitch, I just looped it over to start with and it kept falling out, so it’s pure fluke that the first few rounds worked out ok). From here on always remove the back needle, by pulling to the right, and use that to knit the front needle.

Once you've knitted the first row push the back stitches onto the back needle again and return to the position in the first image. Then pull the back needle out to the right as before and knit onto the first needle. When your coloured wool is at the front again you have completed one round. I know it may look and sound complicated, but once you've done a few rounds it does, amazingly, all become clear!


  1. Hiya. The technique you're using is called Magic Loop. Just thought you might like to edit your post to add that. Magic Loop is generally used for small circumference circular knitting, e.g. socks, if you were knitting a sweater on a circular needle the technique would be quite different.

    Happy knitting :D

    1. Thanks, added a mention of the magic loop. Wow had no idea you could knit a sweater on a circular needle, clearly got a lot to learn still! :)

    2. You're welcome :) I don't think knitters ever stop learning. I've been knitting since I was five and still discover stuff I don't know!

  2. I've got the circular needle but so far I've not conquered that knitting in the round method although I can do on two double-pointed needles. It's on my list of knitting goals ;) Now to go and find out what magic loop is all about... :)

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