Circular Needles and Decreases

I’ve started a pattern for a hat and it was my first time knitting in the round. Everything has gone smoothly except for when I started the decreases. The pattern says nothing about switching needle sizes or anything and I am using the length of cable and size needles suggested in the pattern, but my stitches are getting so stretched out that I can barely knit them anymore. I am at 56 stitches still and you are supposed to go down to 4 before the pattern says anything about changing needles. Am I doing something wrong or missing something?

It won’t let me post the link now, but the pattern can be found at and it is the Little Fair Isle hat (in case you are interested) - I am midway through the “baby” size hat for the decreases.

You probably have to switch to the double pointed needles (smaller size and called for in the pattern materials under the yarn requirements) or to a technique like magic loop. That’s what most hat patterns knit in the round call for when the number of sts decreases and become stretched.

You can use a second circular and knit with both of them, much like using dpns, or you can use a longer one and use the magic loop technique - see videos for these on the Andvanced techniques page. You can also use the single loop method. Switch over anytime your sts aren’t enough to comfortably go around the needle even if it doesn’t say to in the pattern; usually they don’t specify a certain row or number of sts to do so.

Thank you for directing me to those videos. I have never knitted with double pointed needles before so I think I will steer clear of those right now. I think I will try to Magic loop method! Thanks!

Magic loop is wonderful and I use it a lot. Just to share my experience, I recently got brave enough to try dpn in the round and it wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected. Now if I can just get the nerve up to try Fair Isle! That’s a beautiful little hat.

I agree, switch to double pointed. I found this out the hard way the first time I made a hat and had the toughest time. Someone told me when I first started knitting that you should never have to fight with your yarn…and anytime I do, I usually know it’s time to change something up or I’m doing in incorrectly.