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Casting On for Knitting in the Round (on Circulars)

August 17, 2013

::: How to Cast On for Knitting in the Round on Circular Needles :::

1. For a nice clean join, cast on 1 more stitch than the pattern calls for.
2. Lay out your knitting so you are sure you aren’t twisting your cast on (notice I put the cast on edge towards the inside of the needle. This way I know it’s not twisted).
3. Transfer the extra stitch from the right hand needle to the left hand needle, then place a stitch marker on the right hand needle.
4. Knit the first 2 stitches on the left hand needle together (the first stitch of the round and the extra stitch)

Cast on

Cast on. Put your needle down to make sure there are no twists in the cast on.

Cast on 1 extra stitch. Slip that stitch to the left hand needle.

Place a marker, then knit the extra stitch and the first stitch together (k2tog).

Once you have cast on, placed the beginning-of-round marker, and joined the work into a round, simply proceed to work the pattern as described.  Working in the round on circular needles is simple, just knit (or purl) around and around and around!

This tutorial is part of The Simple Collection – our 100% free learn-to-knit series.  Check out the 8 fabulous free patterns sized from baby to big, and get started making modern seamless knits for the entire family!  Like our work?  Get our email updates and we will let you know about new patterns, tutorials, and events.

Perfect patterns to practice knitting in the round:

30 Comments leave one →
  1. Marieke van der Aalst permalink
    February 15, 2018 2:38 am


    I want to try to make the flax sweater but I cant find circular needles 16″. It is 8, 24, 32 what should I use for the smaller size to make a size S?
    Will 8″ do for the sleeves?

    Greetings Marieke

    • February 19, 2018 1:20 pm

      Hi – It would be pretty squishy, but I suppose you could do it on the 8″

  2. Vicky permalink
    February 13, 2018 1:12 pm

    I am knitting the barley hat. It says to knit rounds 1& 2 until the piece measures a certain length from the cast on edge. Do you measure from the edge to the garter stitch section or from the edge to the stockinette stitch section?

    • February 14, 2018 12:38 pm

      Hi Vicky – I measure the stockinette section, I find after blocking the garter section ends up more like the stockinette

  3. Linda permalink
    February 2, 2018 8:13 pm

    Hi, I am going to attempt this sweater for my six year old granddaughter who is on the smallish side. For the yarn that I am using I know I will need to use a 4.5mm needle instead of the but I don’t understand how many to cast on. Also are the 24 inch needles the 8 size? so then I would need a half smaller?

    • February 5, 2018 9:30 am

      Hi Linda – are you working on the Flax sweater? The cast on numbers are in the pattern, the 24″ needles are in the size 8 so you would need a 7 / 4.5mm needle instead.

  4. Christine permalink
    October 19, 2017 1:25 pm

    how do I switch from 4 DPNs onto a circular needle? thanks,

    • October 19, 2017 1:34 pm

      Hi Christine – You are just going to knit them on. Your DPN will be in your left hand and your circular needle will be on the right and you will work the sts from the DPN onto the circ.

  5. Diana Ward permalink
    September 29, 2016 10:12 am

    I have started the Flax Pullover sweater and for the yoke you say to use the smaller circular needles which would be the 16″ but are you using the #6 or #8? Same with after you work the ribbing, I am to change to the larger needles which I assume would be the 32″ but is it the #6 or #8?

  6. Cindy permalink
    June 30, 2016 6:49 am

    Casting on the extra stitch and then knitting them together is brilliant. This will make my cast on edges look so much neater. Thank you for the idea!

  7. Swarna Jayadevan permalink
    January 25, 2016 10:15 pm

    How many stitches should I cast on for an adult

    • January 25, 2016 10:49 pm

      Hi Swarna – for an adult what? You might want to check out our Simple Collection for detailed free patterns!

      • Swarna Jayadevan permalink
        February 7, 2016 1:10 am

        Adult hat…its for my son who is 29 ..and can I have a slochy beanie knitted in this barley pattern?

      • February 8, 2016 8:51 pm

        I think you might want to check out the Barley pattern for the pattern and sizing info

  8. Katie permalink
    January 4, 2016 6:45 pm

    Hi- I am trying to cast on for the 1-2 year size flax sweater and am struggling with the stupidest thing! I have knit in the round quite a few times before but either with dpns or magic loop. The pattern says to use a 16″ circular, so I thought I’d try that way… I have all the stitches on but they don’t really reach all the way around to start knitting. I also tried dividing them and pulling the working needle out a bit but it’s not really working either. What am I doing wrong?! I’d love to be able to figure this out, but might have to go back to magic loop. Thanks!

    • January 4, 2016 7:49 pm

      Hi Katie- not to worry, you might want to try casting on a little looser if it doesn’t reach all the way around. Usually the first round is a little tight, then things loosen up. If you are having trouble with a loose cast on, try using a larger needle, then switching to the 16″

  9. November 18, 2015 9:28 am

    So I would just like to confirm that you’re knitting from the bottom up for this barley hat is that correct? Yes I’m a beginner. :)

  10. Suzette permalink
    November 3, 2015 1:10 pm

    Greetings. I hope this finds you both well and happy ad larks. I am a very curious person so when you gave the hint of casting on 1 more stitch in casting on in the round, I can’t figure why. Yes, I’m learning. Also wld you have anything about using circular needles but not joining since it’s flat work, as for a blanket or afghan. Thanks, God Bless, Suzette.

    • November 5, 2015 9:34 am

      Hi Suzette – you are adding the extra stitch so you can work the k2tog at the beginning of the round. If you just start working in the round you will get a tiny split where your join is. Working with circulars without joining is exactly like working with straight needles. At the end of the row you just turn your work.

  11. October 1, 2015 12:53 pm

    The interesting instruction for size large …cast on 36 stitches evenly over 90 stitches that I already have on the needle… It took a little time to figure that out :) ! but I figured it out by finding the lowest common denominator …and then the answer was more obvious :) 6/15…

    • October 2, 2015 8:41 pm

      Hi Anne – you aren’t casting on 36 you are increasing. If you take your 90 sts and divide them by 36 you get 2.5, so you are increasing every 2 sts, then every 3 sts until you have increased 36 times.

  12. September 1, 2014 11:39 am

    Yours are THE best videos. Watching them a couple of time, I can now cast on, knit and purl! I can finally join a church project to make lap quilts for American veterans. Thank you for posting these. They are absolutely fabulous.

  13. PERNETTE permalink
    February 23, 2014 11:48 pm

    puis avoir le modèle de bonnet expliqué en français

  14. October 26, 2013 10:10 am

    Clear pictures!!


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