How To Use Circular Knitting Needles

How to Use Circular Knitting Needles (A Must-Have In Your Toolkit)

Whether you’re a seasoned knitter or just starting out, circular needles are a must-have in your toolkit. These versatile tools are perfect for knitting in the round or tackling flat projects with ease.

In our post today, we’ll explore the benefits of circular needles and provide step-by-step instructions on how to use them effectively for a range of knitting projects, helping your master their use with ease.

Main Highlights

  • Circular knitting needles are versatile tools that can be used for both flat and in-the-round projects. They consist of two needle tips connected by a flexible cord.
  • When choosing circular needles, it’s important to consider the length of the cable and size of the needle. Interchangeable needle sets can be a cost-effective option for knitters who work on various projects.
  • Techniques like Magic Loop and joining seamlessly in the round require attention to avoiding twisted stitches and managing yarn tension.
  • Knitting with circular needles allows for even distribution of weight, less strain on hands and wrists, and increased flexibility with project sizes compared to straight needles.

In this article:

What Are Circular Knitting Needles?

Circular knitting needles are a type of needle used for knitting in the round, consisting of two pointed needles connected by a flexible cord.

Circular Needles Vs Regular Needles

Both circular and regular knitting needles both have their unique advantages in the world of knitting.

Circular Knitting Needles

Circular needles consist of two needle tips connected with a flexible cable, ideal for creating tube-like objects such as hats, socks, mittens or sweaters without any seams.

This is particularly useful when working on large projects where carrying heavy fabric is cumbersome on traditional straight needles. On the other hand, regular (straight) knitting needles are perfect for flat knitting projects like scarves, dishcloths or blanket squares since they enable easy back-and-forth motion along single rows.

Choosing The Right Circular Needles

When choosing circular needles, it’s important to consider the length of the cable and the size of the needle, as well as whether you want interchangeable sets or a single pair.

Length Of Circular Needles

Selecting the appropriate length of circular needles is crucial for your knitting projects, as it directly affects both comfort and success while working. Generally, the cable’s length should match or be slightly shorter than your project’s circumference to provide easy manoeuvrability and avoid excess slack.

However, there are some exceptions where longer cables can be utilized for smaller projects using the Magic Loop technique; this method allows knitters to work seamlessly in the round on just one long circular needle by pulling out extra cord loops during each round.

Interchangeable Needle Sets

Interchangeable needle sets have become a popular choice among knitters for their versatility and cost-effectiveness. These sets typically include a range of needle sizes, multiple flexible cords with different lengths, and other accessories such as end caps and tightening tools.

Several well-known brands offer interchangeable needle sets such as Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina, Lykke Grove wood, and Lykke Driftwood. With options like varying tip shapes, material types (bamboo, metal or plastic), cord flexibility, case style choices to organize the components neatly – there is an interchangeable set available that caters to different preferences and budgets! Investing in one of these kits not only saves money but also helps reduce clutter by eliminating the need for fixed circular needles in all sizes.

How To Knit In The Round With Circular Needles

To start knitting in the round with circular needles, you need to cast on your stitches and join them seamlessly – it’s easier than it seems! Keep reading to learn more about casting on, joining techniques like the Magic Loop technique, and tips for managing yarn tension.

1. Casting On

To cast on with circular knitting needles, start by making a slip knot and placing it onto the needle. Then, hold the needle with the slip knot in your left hand and use your right hand to insert the needle into the loop of yarn from front to back.

Wrap the working yarn around your right-hand needle counterclockwise, then pull this loop through the first stitch on your left-hand needle.

Circular Knitting Needles

It’s important to note that when casting on for a project worked in rounds, make sure not to twist or cross any stitches before joining them together. You can place a stitch marker at each end of the round as a reminder of where one round ends and another begins.

2. Joining Seamlessly In The Round

To join your circular knitting needles seamlessly in the round, you’ll need to purl into the first stitch on your left needle instead of knitting it. This will create a small twist at the bottom of your work and ensure that there are no gaps between stitches when completing the first round.

It’s important to remember not to twist or turn your work when joining in the round as this will result in an unsightly spiral effect and make it difficult to maintain consistent tension throughout the project.

Using different colored yarns for marking can also help distinguish between rounds, making it easier to see where each one ends and begins.

3. Magic Loop Technique

The Magic Loop technique is a popular method for knitting small rounds in the round with circular needles, eliminating the need for double-pointed needles.

To use this technique, you will need a long circular needle of at least 32 inches, and it can be used for any weight yarn and needle size. The process involves creating a loop in the middle of the cable to divide stitches in half before pulling the cable through to create two loops.

With practice, this method can save time and make knitting in the round much easier. It’s particularly useful for smaller projects like hats, socks, or sleeves and can be used to cast on and knit your first few rows seamlessly.

Using Circular Needles For Flat Knitting

Circular needles aren’t just for knitting in the round – they can also be used for flat projects. Discover the benefits and tips for using circular needles for flat knitting, including how to avoid twisted stitches and manage yarn tension.

Benefits Of Flat Knitting With Circular Needles

Circular needles are not only useful for knitting in the round but also have significant benefits when used for flat knitting projects. The main advantage is that they eliminate the need to turn your work constantly, as you would with straight needles.

In addition, circular needles allow you to knit larger pieces than straight needles because they can hold more stitches without them falling off the ends.

They also make it easier to distribute weight evenly across the length of the needle, preventing tearing or warping of your project due to uneven tension.

Tips For Flat Knitting On Circular Needles

Flat knitting on circular needles is a game-changer for many knitters. It provides the benefits of using circular needles, such as decreased strain on wrists and flexibility with the size of projects, but without having to knit in the round.

When flat knitting on circular needles, it’s important to remember that you need to turn your work at the end of each row just like you would if you were using straight needles.

Additionally, because of how flexible the cable is, it can be easy for stitches to slip off the ends accidentally.

Tips And Tricks For Using Circular Knitting Needles

To avoid twisting stitches, double-check that the cast on is not twisted and use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round.

How To Avoid Twisting Stitches

To avoid twisting stitches when knitting in the round with circular needles, it is important to regularly check the direction of your stitches. Twisted stitches can be difficult to fix and may result in a misshapen project.

A good way to prevent this is by using stitch markers or different colored yarn at the beginning and end of each round to keep track of where your first stitch is. Additionally, make sure that your cast-on edge isn’t twisted before joining seamlessly in the round.

Managing Yarn Tension

One of the most critical aspects of knitting with circular needles is managing yarn tension. Even small variations in tension can affect the appearance and fit of your finished project.

To keep your stitches even, try to maintain consistent pressure on the working yarn as you knit around the circle.

Another helpful tip for managing yarn tension is to pay attention to how you wrap the working yarn around the needle. Each time you complete a stitch, make sure that the loop of yarn sits snugly against the previous stitch without being pulled too tightly.

Finishing A Project Knitted On Circular Needles

To finish a project knitted on circular needles, you can use a combination of decreasing and binding off techniques.

Binding Off

Once you have completed your knitting project on circular needles, binding off is the final step to secure your stitches and prevent them from unraveling.

To begin, knit two stitches onto the right needle. Then use the left needle to lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off of the right needle.

Knit a third stitch onto the right needle and repeat until there is only one stitch remaining on it.

It’s important not to bind off too tightly as this can cause puckering or pulling in your finished product. Additionally, make sure that you are using a circular needle with a cord length long enough for all of your stitches so as not to run out of space during binding off.

Weaving In Ends

Once you’ve finished knitting your project on circular needles, it’s important to properly weave in the ends to prevent any unraveling or loose threads.

To do this, thread your working yarn onto a yarn needle and pass it through the nearby stitch on the wrong side of your knitwork. Continue weaving in and out of stitches until you reach a good stopping point.

There are different techniques for weaving in ends depending on what type of stitch pattern you used – duplicate stitch is great for stockinette while mattress stitch works well with garter stitch.

Whichever method you choose, take care not to pull too tightly; if the fabric puckers around where you’ve woven in loose ends, simply loosen up that section until it lays flat again.

Before you go…

Circular knitting needles are an excellent investment for any knitter, and they open up a world of possibilities for projects. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can knit in the round without any fuss or difficulty.

Choosing the right needle size and length will ensure successful completion of your project.

Circular Knitting Needles FAQs


1. What are circular knitting needles used for?

Circular knitting needles are primarily used for creating seamless tubes, such as hats or socks. They can also be used for larger flat projects like blankets and shawls.

2. How do I cast on stitches with circular knitting needles?

To cast on using circular knitting needles, make a slip knot and place it onto one of the needle tips. Begin casting on stitches onto the same needle tip until you have the desired number, then transfer them to both tips of the needle and join in the round.

3. How do I knit with circular knitting needles?

Hold both needle tips together in your left hand with your first stitch ready to begin working on your right hand side. Insert your working needle into that stitch from left to right (as if you were kniting regularly), wrap yarn around the tip clockwise, pull through, then slide that original stitch off its corresponding (left) needle tip.

4. Can I use circular knitting needles for non-circular projects?

Yes! Circulars can be replaced by straight single-pointed when needed but they’re perfect for large items since due their length they accommodate many more loops/stitches than standard short straight ones would allow thus great during long-term usage sessions too!

How To Use Circular Knitting Needles

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