Hello knitters! In this week's installment of my knitting lessons, I will be teaching you the fundamentals of knitting in the round. This type of knitting is perfect for hats, socks, bags and other 'round' type things, it creates one uniform piece of fabric so you don't have to sew up the sides later.
There are two ways to do this, with circular needles (circs) and double pointed needles (dpns).
In both cases, the most important thing about knitting in the round is to make sure your stitches don't get twisted. This can take some practice (as does everything with knitting). The way I do this is to make sure that the ridge created when casting on is all facing downward. If the little ridge is twisted or snakes around your needles, you won't get a flat project and you'll have to start over. Unless, of course, your project calls for twisted stitches, but most of the time they don't :)
I find circular needles a bit easier so I will start with those first.
Cast on the desired number of stitches just as you would with straight needles.
Stretch the stitches over the entire length of the needle so that they reach the other point.
Place a stitch marker (the little elephant in the picture) to mark the beginning of a round. A round is equivalent to a row on straight needles.
Knit as you would on straight needles, passing the stitch marker over from left to right as you come to it.
Now onto double pointed needles.
With double pointed needles, usually they come in a set of 4 or 5. Depending on the size of the project, you will have 3 or 4 in constant use (kind of acting as the loose chord holding circulars together) and one for knitting.
Cast on the desired number of stitches evenly over the 3 or 4 needles. this part can be a bit confusing and frustrating at first. To keep the needles from falling out or getting twisted, I hold the ones with stitches on them in my right hand along with the needle currently receiving stitches sticking out a bit farther than the others.
Make a triangle or square with them as shown to orient the stitches so that the first cast on and the last cast on are next to each other.
Place your marker (the elephant in the photo) and knit two or three stitches from the first needle to the 3rd (or 4th).
Now take your empty needle, needle 4 in this demonstration, and knit all of the stitches from needle 1 onto needle 4.
This will leave needle 1 empty, and you will then use needle 1 to knit all of the stitches from needle 2.
Then you will use needle 2 to knit all of the stitches from needle 3, and so on and so forth.