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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:


53 Comments leave one →
  1. Cathy permalink
    February 12, 2019 4:54 am

    HELP! I understand how to knit DPN and circular needles. In the pattern I am making it suggests doing both sleeves on the same round needle… I cannot understand how this will work. I am afraid if I pick up the stitches on one needle that they will make one large circle, instead of two separate ones.
    please help…

    • February 13, 2019 4:51 pm

      Hi Cathy – You might want to look for a youtube video on socks two at a time. It will show you how to set everything up. You can always do sleeves one at a time too, that’s how I do it

  2. Naima permalink
    January 31, 2019 7:05 pm

    I really like this hat. I’ve made three. I’m frustrated that the cast on doesn’t seem to be stretchy enough. I’m using the long tail cast on. Is there something else I should be doing?

    • February 1, 2019 1:26 pm

      Hi Naima – If your long tail isn’t stretchy enough I would try casting on with a bigger needle. That should loosen it up enough. It’s important to have the hat fit over your head after all!

  3. laura permalink
    January 22, 2019 2:57 pm

    Hello, might you be able to help me? I’ve been struggling the whole afternoon to find a suitable technique to work with the 16″ circular needles suggested in the barley light pattern but I just ended up with a very mediocre ribbing and shoulders aching because no matter how I tried my 6,5″ needles felt too long and I was unable to find a proper inclination without constantly pulling on the cable and the stitches. Is it the needles which are too long or am I total looser? Thank you in advance for your opinion, be that comforting or not. Laura

    • January 22, 2019 9:35 pm

      Hi Laura – What size are you making? You should be able to use a 16″ for all sizes, but the wee size might be more comfortable on DPNs or using magic loop. As knitters we all have preferences for how squishy or stretched out we like our stitches so don’t worry you’ll find your favourite style!

  4. Ellen permalink
    January 1, 2019 3:23 pm

    What cast on method is good for hats or socks? Long tail? Old German? There seems to be many kinds of cast ons. I’d like a cast on that is really stretchy, but also visually blends into the ribbing, to be invisible.

    • January 8, 2019 12:27 pm

      Hi Ellen – I have to say I’m a bit boring when it comes to casting on, I pretty much always use a long tail cast on.

  5. Linda Dinkle permalink
    December 29, 2018 7:52 pm

    I am knitting the flax sweater. I CO 90 sts with the #6 circ needle. I K1, P1 for 1.5″. Now I have to in36 stitches evenly. That is every two stitches and when do I do the 3 stitches?

  6. Laura permalink
    December 14, 2018 9:34 am

    Hi, I am just looking at your simply effective cowl pattern and it has the number of stitches to cast on and then another number in brackets. Is it for two different sizes?

  7. Cathy Hoffman permalink
    December 7, 2018 4:44 pm

    Help! I have cast on the 80 stitches for the newborn size on 16″rounds but there is a huge gap… Should I use a shorter round or is there a trick to this?

    • December 10, 2018 10:02 am

      Hi Cathy

      It sounds like maybe your cast on is a little tight, you might want to try casting on more loosely, or casting on a few extra sts and skipping the increase on the next round.

  8. Ashleigh permalink
    November 18, 2018 4:41 pm

    Seriously, what would I do without your fantastic tutorials? I’m sitting here IN MY FINISHED FLAX SWEATER, wearing my own knit (Rye) socks, and I’m dumbfounded when faced with joining in the round. I can’t even blame it on the wine.

    Thanks for always being there for me, dear Tincanknits tutorials. <3

    (p.s. Yes I do buy your patterns, too!)

  9. Perry Patty permalink
    August 14, 2018 5:20 am

    This makes the join totally invisible! Thank you!

  10. Lori permalink
    July 26, 2018 1:56 pm

    Hi Alex,
    sorry I lost my place where I last posted you about making a gauge for the Bumble beanie. It seems it needs to be done using slip stitch purlwise but could you give me advice on how this works? I tried sliding the row with the yarn held across the back but i must be doing it wrong because the swatch is not growing/developing, help!

  11. Charlotte permalink
    April 25, 2018 3:35 pm

    Hi, I am a beginner knitter and want to make a hat for my 9 month twin grandchildren. The pattern I am using wants me to cast on 60 stitches on to a circular 16″ needle. I find that very clumsy as the needle ends are not long. can I cast my stitches on straight needles and then transfer them to the circular needle.

  12. Marieke van der Aalst permalink
    February 15, 2018 2:38 am

    Hi

    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″

  13. 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

  14. 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 5.mm 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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!

  18. 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

  19. 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″

      • January 30, 2019 9:36 am

        I’m having this same issue with using some addi turbo interchangeable needles even with using a larger needle (8 instead of 6) to cast on. Any recommendations?

      • February 1, 2019 1:27 pm

        Hi Gina – hmm, larger needles usually does the trick. Maybe try using a long tail cast on?

      • January 30, 2019 9:37 am

        I am having the same issue using my addi turbo interchangeable circular needles, even when I use the larger needle to cast on. Any advice?

  20. 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. :)

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

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

    puis avoir le modèle de bonnet expliqué en français

  25. October 26, 2013 10:10 am

    Clear pictures!!

Trackbacks

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