Casting a Circle

How do you like to knit in the round?  I have now tried using the double pointed needles method, Magic Loop Method, and the basic circular needle method.   So today I’m going to break down my experiences with these approaches.

Double Pointed Needle (DPN)

This image was taken from WEBS yarn store blog featuring the Knitter’s Pride brand of cubic needles.dpn
There are many reasons to be able to knit with DPN’s.  If you are making a project in the round that requires decrease rows, this is an important skill.  If you were simply doing a cowl that maintains the same measurements throughout the project you could easily use circular needles in the round from beginning to end.  However, if you are making a hat, once you begin decreasing your stitches to taper your hat to a close, you will eventually have too few stitches to continue in that method.  At that point you will need to slip your stitches onto dpn’s dividing them as evenly as possible between 3 needles (some divide between 4) and using an additional needle to work the stitches.  However, one of the issues of knitting with dpn’s is the problem of laddering:


This can actually be a very cool design element when done intentionally.  Otherwise it is an annoying disruption in an otherwise lovely pattern.

The most basic approach to dealing with this is, when working the first two stitches of each needle, to make sure you pull them snug before continuing on.

Then there is the Magic Loop Method.

This is a short, but clearly explained video on how to do Magic Loop by Very Pink.

This is the method I learned most recently while knitting my Mercury Socks as described in For the Journey.  Since I’m a novice at this particular approach I will say that I’m glad I know how to do it, but it’s not my favorite way at this moment in time.  I think the problem for me may be that I learned to do this while knitting a sock, a smaller project, using a circular needle with a very long cable.  So doing this while trying to keep the excess needle out of my way was kind of “fiddley” for me and would get on my nerves.  Having said that, as is mentioned in the video above, it would be a good method to know for a larger tube such as sleeves or cowls, especially if you didn’t have the precise size of circular needles on hand and you don’t feel like dropping the cash for some new ones.  I hate getting excited about starting a project and finding out something small is preventing me from beginning.  This would be a good way to avoid that.

This method has less tendency to ladder since there are fewer joins to think about, but as with the dpns you still need to make sure the first two stitches are snugged up to avoid it.  With the Mercury Sock project I completed, I still had a small amount of laddering, mostly due to this being my first time using this method.  Fortunately, it was all at the bottom of the socks.  Since I will be keeping this pair for myself, no harm, no foul.  They turned out beautifully otherwise and I love them.teaandyarn

When I have enough socks knit up (working on a new pair now) I will do a post doing a “Sock Strut” fashion show to showcase my growing collection of hand knit socks.

Another plus to this method is that you don’t need to switch to dpns even when decreasing.  That alone would be reason enough for some folks to learn this method.

As I said, I’m definitely glad I learned to do this and as I become more proficient at it, it may win me over completely.

Finally there is the basic circular needle method of knitting in the round. Since this is my personal favorite, I saved the best for last.


This image comes from Fiber Flux Blog  where Jennifer discusses this method of knitting in the round.

When I learned how to knit in the round using this method,  it opened a whole new world of possibilities for me.  As I discussed in my first post Knitting In the Apocalypse,  knitting was always a kind of therapy/relaxation for me.  But I had few other knitters around to help me gain true skill.  So up until that point there had been endless piles of scarves and blankets.

But I was able to join a knitting group that met at a local Starbucks of the town to where I would eventually relocate.  They were very generous and welcoming and one of them starbucks-coffee-cuptaught me how to do this.  Learning to knit in the round gave me hats, cowls, and eventually sleeves for sweaters.  Once I learned the basics of it, it was just as therapeutic, but way more impressive in terms of what I could create.

I like this method so much that recently I purchased a pair of 9 inch circular needles so I could use them for sock knitting.  It took me a bit of time to adjust to working in the round on such a small cable length, but once I got the hang of it, I was sold.  I think this will be my go-to method for sock knitting for now.

So what is your favorite way of making yarny magick?  Please leave comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

I have two wands and string and muttering I make beautiful things,