Today I’m going to show you four different methods that will teach you how to join knitting in the round.
Unlike flat knitting, where you are knitting a row then turning your work, you work circular knitting in rounds. You do not turn your work. You work each row of the pattern in circular rounds on circular needles.
Let's talk a little bit about circular knitting needles.
Circular Knitting Needles
To knit in the round you must use circular needles. You can learn more about the different types of circular needles here.
For this photo tutorial, I am using ChiaoGoo fixed circulars in bamboo to knit in the round. This is just one type of circular knitting needles.
You can learn about all the types of knitting needles here.
What Does it Mean to Join Knitting in the Round?
To join knitting in the round is to connect the first and last cast on stitches together. This joining of stitches is what makes circular knitting possible.
But we're getting a little ahead of ourselves. Before you can join your knitting in the round, you must first cast on. Here's how to cast on to knit in the round.
Here you will cast on as you normally do. Just be sure to check your knitting pattern for cast on method and stitch count.
Avoid Twisted Stitches
When joining in the round, you want to avoid twisted stitches. Make sure your cast on row is aligned before you begin.
If you are planning to knit a hat and your stitches are twisted, you'll have to start over. Nobody likes to do that.
There are some patterns which take advantage of a twisted cast on, like this Mobius Cowl. You can find the pattern here.
How to Knit in the Round with Circular Needles
When you are ready to join to knit in the round:
- First check your stitches to make sure your cast on row is aligned. You do not want to knit with your stitches twisted.
- Next, set up your needles like in the picture below. Here, the last stitch cast on will be on your right needle, and the first stitch cast on will be on your left needle.
This is how you will set up your knitting needles to join in the round. It will always be this way when knitting in the round.
As you read through the methods below, be sure to keep this in mind. And so, without further ado, below are the methods to join knitting in the round.
Method 1: Stitch Swap Join
First, cast on the required number of stitches for your project.
Next, insert your right needle into the first stitch on your left. Slip the stitch as if to purl.
Then, insert your left needle into the last cast on stitch on your right needle. Pass this stitch over the other.
TIP: Make sure your yarn is either in front (or back) and ready to knit (or purl) your first stitch.
Now, insert your right needle into the first stitch on your left needle and begin knitting in the round.
Method 2: Add 1, Decrease 1 Join
When you cast on, add an extra stitch to your cast on row.
Move this extra stitch to your left hand needle purlwise.
Now, with your right needle, knit two together (k2tog). Then, continue knitting.
TIP: Remember to place a stitch marker to show the beginning of your round.
Method 3: Double Strand Join
Here you will cast on only the required number of stitches.
With both the active yarn and the yarn tail, begin knitting.
TIP: You do not have to work until you reach the end of your tail. Simply work 1” – 2” worth of stitches. Just remember to work the double stitches as one stitch when you start your next round.
Working this method prevents you from having to weave in that pesky yarn tail later. Who doesn't love that?!
Method 4: Invisible Join
Using this method, you'll cast on one additional stitch than what your pattern calls for.
To begin, slip the first stitch from your left needle purlwise on to the right needle.
Next, pass the extra stitch over the slipped stitch and drop it off the needle. The image shows an enlarged stitch but this will be corrected in a later step. Don't worry.
Then, slip the first stitch on your right needle back to your left needle.
Now, with the active yarn and the yarn tail, cinch up the excess yarn. This will create the invisible join.
Finally, you can begin knitting in the round.
TIP: When you come back to the beginning of the round, really tighten the join. This will help you avoid a gap, and create a nice, seamless join in your knitting.
There you have it. Four different ways to join in the round. Try one, try them all! You will find that some work better for you than others.
With a little time and practice, one of these will quickly become your favorite method for knitting in the round.
Do you have a favorite join for knitting in the round? Did you learn a new one? We’d love to hear your experience. Leave us a comment and let us know.