Beginner: Knitting in the Round


I am a beginning knitter and am going to start my first knitting project using circular needles. Here:

I have watched a few videos about how to use circular needles but am wondering if anyone had any other advice. I am just going to knit a simple cowl using some Lion Brand chunky wool yarn.

How many stitches should I cast on?
Is there a certain type of pattern I should use?
And also, I know that I should use a stitch marker, but I am confused (again, beginner here) as to how to get the stitch marker off once have completed the project? It’s probably very simple, but this is just a whole new concept for me. :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for the help!!

The easiest part is how to get the stitch marker off at the end: It will just slide off the needle.

You might try looking at for some simple patterns using worsted weight yarn. Ravelry is free to join.

ETA I suggested patterns for worsted weight because the needles you linked to are sz. 8, kind of small for a thicker yarn.

On the web site there are lots of free patterns for a simple cowl knitted in the round. Several are done with the yarn you mention. As far as the stitch marker, I normally use the type that you slide on the needle between the stitches. That way you just slide the marker over from the left hand needle to the right hand needle after every round. With chunky yarn you will be using large needles so you’ll need a stitch marker large enough to fit on the needle. I’ve used metal or plastic washers in place of stitch markers if I didn’t have a large enough stitch marker to fit on my needles. You can use anything that will easily slide on your needles between your stitches, but not so large as to distort the stitches. Clover makes stitch markers for needles #11-#15. Check online or at your local yarn store. Good luck! I think you’ll love knitting in the round. Hope this helps.


Remember that your stitch marker marks the beginning of your round, so you will move it up as you work.

Rather than buying stitch markers, use a contrasting piece of yarn tied in a loop big enough to fit, with a little slack, around your needles. Just make sure you knot it good so it doesn’t come undone. There’s no need to spend good money on this kind of marker. Save that money for more yarn!

I’m knitting a christmas stocking in the round and didn’t bother with a stitch marker. I just use the initial tail leftover from casting on as a guide. Every time I change a color I have another tail, so there’s been no need for a stitch marker to mark a new row. You might not need one at all.

You would figure out how big around you want it, then how many sts per inch you get with the yarn and needle size and multiply those 2 numbers. So if you were to use chunky yarn and a size 13 then you’d get about 2½ sts per inch, times say 32" would be 80 sts. If you want a stitch pattern that uses multiple stitch repeats, your CO number needs to multiply by that number (a multiple of 7 sts, needs 7 times whatever, so in my example above, you’d really need 84 sts).

The marker is a ring of something that goes on your needle, and follows the knitting up, it’s not going to be stuck in a stitch. If you want to use the size 8 needles you linked to, you’d need a thinner yarn, a worsted or ‘4’. The chunky yarn will be much too thick to knit on those needles. It can be done, but it would make your hands hurt and the cowl would be really stiff and dense.

Knitting in the round isn’t as scary as you might think. In fact, I actually prefer it to working flat most of the time. Because (a) there’s less seaming, (b) there’s less purling and © … there’s less seaming. (I don’t like seaming. Maybe you guessed.)

In its heart and soul, circular knitting isn’t so very different from the flat variety. Stitches are still made the same way you’re used to, though the way you combine them may change. For instance the way you make garter stitch and stockinette is exactly backwards from the way you’d do it when working flat. In other words, stockinette in the round is knit every stitch, while garter stitch requires you to purl alternate rounds. That’s confusing at first, until you get your head around the concept that you’re only actually making one “row” – it’s just one that spirals from one end to the other continuously, like a Slinky.

Patterns are usually intended to be worked [B]either[/B] flat or in the round (some may include instructions for both, but I haven’t encountered any like that), so the pattern will tell you what you need to know in the way of how many stitches to cast on. You’d only run into a bump in the road if you were making up your own pattern or converting one that was written for a flat piece to one worked in the round. But since you’re not doing either of those things yet, it’s probably best to defer learning that until you need it.

But patterns written for circular knitting (usually) will tell you to “join in round”. I’m not fluent enough in patternese to know if that means anything more than “Start knitting at the beginning of the CO round (rather than the end of it after turning the work over)”, and there may be something fancy-schmancy that people do here, but I never have. (Exception: Magic Loop, but you won’t have to do that with a cowl – unless the cowl is for an ostrich or something.) There’s a “step” (or “jog”) that’s created where the first CO loop meets the last stitch of the first round, but that’s easily fixed with a crochet hook and the CO tail. (Same is true at the BO end.)

Just keep calm and carry yarn.

Yes, joining simply means just knit the stitch at the other end of the needle, rather than turning to knit back over the stitches. Another clue is when a pattern talks about rounds instead of rows, though some blog patterns don’t always say rounds.