In the round knitting is done using either double-pointed needles or circular needles of a size appropriate to the circumference of the piece. Working in the round is done from the RS in rounds instead of back and forth in rows. So stockinette is knit every round and garter is knit one round, purl one round. Stitch patterns can be converted to in the round. The extra “+#” given to make the flat stitch pattern even on both ends are eliminated.
Methods for Knitting in the Round
There are a number of methods for working knitting in the round.
Work both the front and back needle stitches to complete a round. To prevent laddering, work the first stitch on each needle tip very close to the cable, and on the tip of the needle. Some instructions for this suggest casting on an extra stitch and allocating it to the stitches on the back needle. On the initial round, before pulling the back needle tip out, move the extra stitch to the front needle and k2tog as the first stitch.
Use this method of knitting in the round when the number of stitches is too small for the circular needles. Longer needle cables usually make this easier to control.
After casting on using the flexible long tail cast on, remove the bottom needle, move the stitches onto the cable and mark off the center point of the cast on stitches, placing an open marker. Pinch the cable at the marker and pull up the cable so that most of the cable is in a loop between and to the left of the two sets of stitches. Push the stitches onto the needle tips and orient the needles so the working yarn is coming off the back needle. Hold the needle tips together, then pull up the back needle tip so it is long enough to work the stitches off the front needle. With the working yarn between the needles, bring the yarn into position to work across the front needle.
*When all the stitches on the front needle have been worked, turn the needles so the back needle is in front. Push the now-in-front stitches onto the needle tip and pull up the back needle tip so it is long enough to work the stitches off the front needle and work those stitches. One round has been completed. Repeat from *.
Pattern Specific Variations
Sometimes, I include technique variations that are for specific patterns. I always include directions for specific techniques in the pattern itself, so be sure to also read any patterns you’re working on closely.