In this guide we explain two different ways to knit in rounds. You will learn how to play with needles and circular needles and what to look out for when knitting a pattern in a circle. We will also show you a small exercise project with the needle play, namely a cute basket.

You already know how to knit in rows, but would like to knit a project in rounds? In this guide, we will explain step by step how to use a needle play or a circular knitting needle. The big advantage of circular knitting is that no seams interfere with the look.

You can use the techniques described here for numerous knitting projects, for example for socks, caps, loops, bags, pullovers and covers for glasses and vases. As a first exercise project we will show you a basket in which you can store small utensils, such as paper clips or ear sticks. As previous knowledge we assume right and left meshes.

Material and preparation

There are two ways to knit in a circle: With a needle play or with a circular needle. A needle play consists of five needles, each with two points. In a circular knitting needle, two needles are connected by a cable. The needle play is suitable for projects in which the circular knitted piece has a small diameter, for example for socks or a cap.

For larger rounds, such as a loop or pocket, it is better to use a circular needle. These are available with different cable lengths. Make sure that the length matches the size of your round. The needle size is also important for both methods. On the banderole of your wool you will find a recommendation from the manufacturer.

Wool and stitch test

In principle you can knit in rounds with any wool. For your first attempt, it is best to use a yarn without effects (i.e. no fleece wool or similar), because this is the easiest to knit. If the measurements are important for your project, make a stitch test. Knit a piece in the chosen pattern and measure how many rows and stitches make ten centimetres. Now you can calculate how many stitches you have to strike to get the desired measurements.

Knitting in rounds
With the needle play
Cast as many stitches as you need for your project on a needle of needle play.

Spread the stitches evenly over four needles.

Arrange the four needles into a square. The working thread hangs on the last stitch of the fourth needle.

With this needle and the free fifth needle, knit the stitches of the first needle. The round is now closed, i.e. the four needles are connected in a circle.

Tip: There is often a gap at the beginning of the round at the stop edge. There is a trick against this. Hit one more stitch than you need and place it on the fourth needle. When you close the round, slide the last stitch of the fourth needle onto the first (without knitting it). Now knit this stitch together with the first stitch on the first needle. To do this, stitch both stitches at the same time and knit them as if it were a single stitch.

After all the stitches of the first needle have been knitted, you have a free needle again. Now use this to work the stitches of the second needle. Do the same with the third and fourth needles. Once you have knitted the stitches of the fourth needle, the first round is ready.

For the second round, start again with the stitches of the first needle. Unlike row knitting, you do not have to turn the work around.

Tip: If you want to count the number of laps, add a marker to the first stitch of the first needle, for example a different coloured thread or a special stitch marker. At the beginning you can see the round transition by the stop thread hanging down at this point. If you knit a long piece, it will become increasingly difficult to see.

If your knitted piece is long enough, chain off all stitches over the entire round in your usual technique and sew the hanging threads.

With the circular knitting needle
Cast the required stitches on one end of the circular needle. Then distribute the stitches over the entire length of the two needles and the connecting cable. Bring the needles together in the knitting position. The working thread hangs on the right needle and the cable is behind the needles as seen from you. Knit the first stitch of the left needle. The round will close automatically.

Tip: Make a mark between the first and last stitch if you want to count the laps. If you do not have a stitch marker, you can use a ring or a different coloured thread.

Continue knitting the stitches of the left needle. There is no need to turn around. The stitches already knitted will automatically return to the left needle in the next round. As soon as your knitted piece is long enough, chain off the entire round as usual.

Tip: The trick for a continuous stop edge described when knitting with needle play also works on the circular knitting needle. Slide the additional stitch from the right to the left needle.

Knitting patterns in rounds
If you want to knit patterns in a circle, you must bear in mind that, unlike in row knitting, the work is not inverted. Right stitches therefore always produce a flat V shape on the outside and left stitches produce a knot. On the inside, the stitches appear the other way round. In order to knit smoothly on the right, you only need to work right stitches in each round.

Descriptions of knitting patterns are usually designed for knitting in rows, unless they are specifically intended for a circular knitting project. To knit the pattern in a circle, you must adapt the instructions. When knitting in rows, a distinction is made between back and forth rows, which is usually noted in the description (otherwise odd numbers stand for back rows and even numbers for back rows). Rows are the rows where you look at the front side of the work when knitting, while back rows are the rows where you look at the back side.

You can knit the rows in rounds according to your description. For the back rows you have to read the row backwards and knit left stitches if right stitches are given and vice versa. If the pattern is shown graphically, for circular knitting read all rows from right to left and knit the back rows with reversed stitches, i.e. right instead of left and vice versa.

Exercise project | Knitting baskets
Material and preparation

One basket can be made with the rest of a simple acrylic yarn. On the banderole of your wool you will find out which needle sizes the manufacturer recommends. Use the smallest indicated thickness and knit very tightly to give the basket a stable wall. The piece in this manual is five centimetres high and five centimetres in diameter. We have knitted with a needle size of 2.5. Your yarn may make the basket bigger or smaller. Just try out how many stitches you need.

This is what you need for knitting the basket:

Wool rest
Needle play in matching thickness
Wool needle for sewing

They begin with the top edge of the basket. Cast 48 stitches, distribute them over four needles of the needle play and close the round. If you change the number of stitches, note that it must be divisible by six for the braiding pattern. Knit four rounds of right stitches. Then work in the weave pattern.

Braiding pattern
1st – 3rd round: 1 stitch left, 2 stitches right, 3 stitches left

4th – 6th round: 4 stitches left, 2 stitches right

Repeat the instructions until you have knitted the rounds completely. When the wall for your basket appears high enough, start with the floor.

Work the floor completely from right mesh. Knit two rounds before starting to remove stitches. To remove a stitch, knit it together with the following one. To do this, stitch both stitches at the same time and knit them like a single stitch. Your number of stitches will become smaller and the diameter of your round will become smaller.

The aim is to remove the stitches in such a way that the bottom becomes almost flat. Fold the piece at the transition from the wall to the floor. At the end all four needles should be in the middle of the piece and there should be only a few stitches left. Try out how many stitches you have to take off to get a flat bottom with your yarn.

We have lost weight as follows:

3rd round (of the bottom): knit the last two stitches together on each needle.
Round 5: knit every 6th stitch together with the 7th.
Round 7: knit every 5th stitch together with the 6th stitch
Round 9: knit every 4th stitch together with the 5th stitch
Round 11: knit every 3rd stitch together with the 4th. stitch
Round 12: knit together two stitches at a time

Thread the working thread onto a wool needle and thread it through each stitch. Remove the needles and pull the bottom together.

Sew all the hanging threads. Roll the top edge outwards and press the basket into shape.

Possible variations
1. knit the basket in any other pattern. Remember to adjust the pattern for round knitting as described above. Also note how many stitches the pattern requires.

2. omit the rolled edge at the top by knitting in the pattern from the first round.


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