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Lesson 8: How to Knit in the Round for Beginners

Lesson 8: How to Knit in the Round for Beginners

Inside: Learn how to knit in the round using circular knitting needles. Tutorial video and free pattern included in lesson. This lesson is part of the How to Knit for Complete Beginners series.

While learning to knit, we worked with straight needles. You worked all the projects in previous lessons in rows turning your knitting around to begin the next row. Now it’s time to learn a new technique.

A technique that lets you avoid the dread that all knitters face…. seaming!

I know you worked projects in the past that involved sewing to finish them up. Let’s get rid of that step and learn to work seamlessly.

Seamless Moss Cowl

First, let’s talk supplies…

When you knit a tube we call that knitting in the round. You’re going to notice one major difference when working this method.

First, you need different needles! You need to use either a circular knitting needle or a set of double-pointed needles (DPNs) in order to knit in the round. I recommend beginners stick with a circular needle. DPNs can be very fiddly to manage when you’re a new knitter.

When you choose a circular needle size for your project you need to look at the needle size in mm and the length of the cable.

You can get a US11 (8 mm) circular needle with cables ranging from 9 – 40+ inches. The cable length will determine how big a project you can fit on the needle. If it’s too short your project will be crammed and difficult to knit; too long is less of a problem.

Look at the picture below. You see how the cable with the stitches is curving down onto my project and the stitches are spread out. That’s because I’m making a cowl that’s 29″ around on a 40″ circular needle. That’s 11 extra inches my project is stretched. It worked out fine and my finished cowl is an even 29″ around, but any more than that and I might have a had a problem.

how to knit in the round
Seamlessly knit cowls, hats, socks and more in the round.

PRO TIP: If all you have is long cable you can use the Magic Loop technique to make a smaller project. This involves pulling a length of cable between the stitches in the middle of the round to “shorten” the cable length. I’ll show you how in the video below.

The most common cable lengths for circular needles are 16, 24, 36 and 40. You can find smaller cables, but most knitters tend to use the magic loop or switch to DPNs for small projects like socks. 60″ cables are useful for large blankets, but unless that’s your jam you likely won’t need one that long.

For the project I showed you above a 24″ or 36″ circular needle would have been ideal.

How to Knit in the Round

First, cast on the desired number of stitches.

Next, we want to connect the first stitch to the last one we cast on. This is called joining in the round. In a pattern, the instructions will say “Join in the round” or “Connect in the round.”

Before you work the join make sure your cast on stitches are not twisted around the cable. You want the cast on edge to hang under the cable all the way around. TIP: If you’re going to use the magic loop pull your loop through before joining in the round.

To join, switch the first and last stitches. Remove the first cast on stitch from your needle and hold it in your fingers. Using that same needle pick up to last stitch from the other needle. Then slide the first stitch onto the needle where the last stitch was. This ensures a smooth cast on edge.

Next, place a stitch marker on the needle to mark the beginning of the round. Some patterns spell this out, but even if it doesn’t mention it, I like to mark the beginning of the round.

You are ready to knit in the round. Most patterns mark the instructions using the abbreviation Rnd for round instead of typical Row. That handy stitch marker you slid on when you connected in the round will let you know when you finish the round.

Practice your skills on this free Easy Moss Cowl pattern. I designed especially for beginner knitters.


Lesson 8: How to Knit in the Round Video Tutorial

If any of the videos below do not show they may be restricted to GoodKnit Kisses YouTube members only. Find out more about GKK Membership HERE!

The tutorial videos below teach all the skills you need to not only knit in the round on circular needles, but complete the Moss Cowl pattern. They also includes loads of tips to help you avoid common problems. Use the timestamps below to help you navigate the videos:

Lesson 8 Timestamps
00:00:00 Welcome
00:00:29 Overview – What’s covered in this video
00:01:12 Supplies for Pattern
00:02:39 Using different yarns & getting same size item
00:04:02 Start Pattern Reading HERE
00:07:36 TIP for 1 ball project; mark end of yarn for bind-off
00:11:03 Pull out enough yarn to cast on
00:11:56 TECHNIQUE – Cast on to get right gauge
00:15:53 Connecting in the round – MAGIC LOOP
00:19:10 Round 1
00:20:14 Magic Loop Troubleshoot – Moving cable loop
00:21:28 TIP – Magic Loop moving as you go
00:22:23 Round 2
00:22:53 Moving cable again in Magic Loop
00:23:39 Ending And 2 – Notes on twisting, etc
00:24:04 Round 3
00:25:07 Round 4
00:25:24 Repeating instructions for cowl
00:21:27 Bind off in-the-round in pattern
00:29:36 Finishing bind off in the round – connect
00:32:10 Finishing – Weaving tails
00:35:04 Wrap Up

Right handed

Left handed

Be sure to follow all the How to Knit for Complete Beginners Lessons.

  1. How to Knit – Garter Stitch for Complete Beginners includes Basic Garter Scarf pattern
  2. How to Knit – Purl stitch for Stockinette
  3. How to Knit – Stockinette with Garter Border includes Basic Bordered Dishcloth pattern
  4. How to Knit – Ribbing 1×1 and 2×2 includes Easy Ribbed Headband pattern
  5. How to Knit – Seed Stitch for Beginners includes Seed Stitch Washcloth pattern
  6. How to Knit – Moss Stitch for Beginners includes Moss Stitch Washcloth pattern
  7. How to Knit – Basketweave Stitch for Beginners includes Basketweave Cowl pattern
  8. How to Knit – Knitting in the Round includes Moss Cowl pattern.
  9. How to Knit – 5 Cast Ons for Beginners
  10. How to Knit – 4 Increases includes Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth pattern
  11. How to Knit – 5 Decreases includes Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth pattern
  12. How to Knit – Slip Stitches


Tuesday 16th of May 2023

I am making the seed stitch border washcloth (stockinette st) into a panel for a blanket which I will then attach together to make a blanket. I started out on flat needles but soon realized that I need to knit flat on circular needles however I am having trouble with the transition. I get lost after I knit it onto the circular needle because I don't know which way to turn it and I am afraid of confusing front and back and mess up my stockinette stitches. I have knitted in the round before and I think that is what is confusing me, how to do it flat.

GoodKnit Kisses

Thursday 1st of June 2023

I like to put a locking stitch marker on the right side of my work because I can forget too! It's an easy visual cue to remind me which side I am on.


Sunday 21st of March 2021

These first few have been a good refresher for me! You do a great job explaining and showing what to do! Plus with the added videos that we can go back to is great! Thanks to my VIP membership...I also have the written patterns to follow along and work at my own pace. Looking forward to the many projects... If you're a beginner or need a refresher...just go back through All her can't go wrong! Happy Crafting! ❤