When I started knitting I didn’t really get it. Same with crochet. With both of these crafts it finally clicked when I started in the round. It seems to flow much easier and I seem to find it less awkward to keep track of where I am in a pattern. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would much rather knit straight but given the choice, I’ll usually pick something knitted in the round.
There are a few methods of doing this, which I’ll lay out here. I am not comfortable enough with some of the methods to be able to instruct from scratch, so I’ll provide you with the links and resources to learn as quickly as I did.
Double Pointed Needles
These are needles that do not have the stopper at one end. They’re pointed on both sides – hence the name – and they’re usually quite a bit shorter than regular straight needles. They’re used a lot in knitting socks.
This is my preferred method for knitting socks and mittens/gloves. It looks a bit fiddly but once you realise you’re only ever knitting on two of the needles, it becomes much easier. The only problem is trying to avoid the obvious line through the bits where the needles switch, something I haven’t quite got the hang of yet. I learned through YouTube videos such as this one, though if you search for ‘knitting on double pointed needles’ a lot of tips and tutorials come up.
The most important thing with knitting on DPNs is that you don’t get the first stitches twisted. If you do, your sock is going to look more than a little strange and will be rather unwearable!
These are needles specifically designed for knitting in the round; they’re generally used for larger projects than socks etc. They’re two straight needles attached to a flexible cord which comes in a variety of lengths.
I recently used a 16″ circular to knit my mum a hat, shown in the previous post. I also used the same needle to knit myself a headband using an offcentre rib stitch which I’m sure has a name but I have no idea what that would be! It was entirely improvised. Knitting on circulars is quite useful because you can slip the project down onto the cord when transporting. I’ve never had anything fall of circular needles, unlike DPNs; I have also used circular needles to knit straight just for the portability factor.
Magic Loop Knitting
This is the newest method for me. It’s where you use one long-cabled circular needle and knit small projects in the round – for example, I’m using this to knit mittens. You split the stitches down the middle with the cable. It’s very clever. I understand a lot of people prefer this to knitting with DPNs.
I only tried it a couple of days ago and for some reason I’d expected it to be a lot more difficult. It wasn’t – it was easy peasy! Me and a friend were watching TV so I didn’t want to watch a video on youtube which is my usual method of learning a tricky new skill in knitting. Turns out I didn’t need to: this tutorial from KnitPicks was more than enough.
It may look complicated and confusing but I promise it’s not. I’m not sure I’m completely sold on it; I still prefer knitting on DPNs but that’s a personal preference. The best thing about knitting is that there are so many ways to achieve the same or similar effects and it’s fun to try each of them out when you’re learning to know your own preferences.
So how do you do it?