Knitting 101 – Hats: In the Round

Casting on

Casting on

With all the practicing and swatching, aren’t you ready to just get started? I know I’m ready. Knitting in the round terrified me for a while. The last time I tried to learn to knit, I swore I’d just learn to seam. In the round seemed too complicated. That fear didn’t last too long. My first project in 2011, which sparked my obsession with knitting, was a Christmas stocking. In the round is easy. I mean, really easy. The trick is to avoid twisted stitches, which isn’t that tricky. First, let’s cast on. I’ve done all my calculations, and the total number of stitches I’m casting on is 80. I prefer using DPNs when knitting in the round, but you can also use circular needles and the Magic Loop method. You could also use a circular needle with a short cable (I’ve done this plenty of times). I’m going to talk you through the DPN one, but there’s not a huge difference between any of the methods.

1. All right, cast on your stitches. Don’t worry; I’ll wait. Ready? Ok. Set your needles down on a flat surface. The needle with your last cast-on stitch should sit on the right, and the needle with your first cast-on stitch on the left. See the photo above to see what I mean.

2. Arrange the stitches so that braid (I can’t think of a better way to describe the solid edge) has no twists. You want straight lines all the way around.

3. Being careful not to lose your straight lines, pick up your needles.

4. Knit the first stitch. Tighten the yarn just enough so that the first stitch on this needle and the last on the other are close.

5. Now, get going on the ribbing. You can do any kind you like, as long as it works with a multiple of four. I like Knit 2, Purl 2. Knit the ribbing for 1 inch.

6. After you’ve knit 1 inch of ribbing, it’s time to switch needles.

With the next round, start knitting with the your bigger needles. From here on out, knit stockinette. The great part of knitting stockinette in the round is all you do is keep knitting. No purls involved.

Note: If you notice a twist in your stitches, take a break. What’s happened is when you started knitting the ribbing, the stitches weren’t in a straight line. It’s easiest to spot this after you’ve done a few rows, which is unfortunate. Don’t get discouraged, but you’re going to have to start over. There’s no getting around it.

If you’re interested in the Magic Loop method, here’s some more information:

Continue knitting until the hat is 7 inches (from the cast-on) for a snugger hat and 9 inches (or more) for a bit of a slouch. Next, we’ll work on the decreases.

15 thoughts on “Knitting 101 – Hats: In the Round

  1. Those DP needles make me cringe. I knit on circular needles. I find it easier but now I’m tempted to try those DPN’s. I’m new to knitting and my first sweater is almost done! Now I get to learn 3 needle bind off – after having conquered short rows …. whimper.

  2. Always prefer a knitting in the round project- no tedious sewing together at the end:) luv luv luv those knitting needles- what r rhey made of?

  3. I always had trouble getting the first stitch snug enough when joining. My finished product looked like I had dropped a stitch and it had laddered all the way down. My solution is to cast on one extra stitch and knit it together with the first stitch. Nice and snug, no laddering!

  4. Thanks for the tutorial! I started off knitting in the round with DPNs, but now I mainly use the magic loop. I love that I really only need one set of 32″-40″ circular needles to tackle any project. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I have seen a technique for correcting having your knitting in the round twisted without starting over, but only if youโ€™re just a couple rows in. Itโ€™s something like basically forcing a full 360 degree twist where you have the partial twist, so that the stitches line up again, and knitting it that way. It ends up leaving a little funny spot Iโ€™m sure, but itโ€™s an option. Wish I remembered where I saw it though, so I could point you in that direction.

  6. Thank you for posting this video because I am still TERRIFIED of magic loop! I think it is because the first set of circular needles I ever bought had a very, very thick cord and made it virtually impossible to bend. Now I have no excuse but to give it another go! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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