First time in the round

I want to crank out a simple V-day hat for my sweetie but I have never knit in the round before. I'm still new to knitting but I enjoy it and would like to learn how to work in the round.

Am I setting myself up for disappointment by trying to learn and have something done in 2.5 weeks? Or should I give it a go? DPNs or circulars and the magic loop method?

emhinsch's picture

I knitted a simple hat in 3 days (knitting in the evening after work) my first time on circulars and it turned out great. You shouldn't have any problems.

Eric, aka, Knitting Dragon

I prefer DPNs because they work with any diameter project (within reason) and you can continue with them right up to the crown of the hat. They can be a little tricky until you learn how to maintain your tension from one needle to the next, but it isn't hard to learn. I'd suggest that you experiment first with a small number of stitches, 15 maybe, until you master joining the cast-on into a circle and changing from one needle to the next.
Good Luck!

I have made more hats than I care to remember and I always start off using a 16"(40cm) circular and then move on to double-points. Once you get a hang of double-points you never want to stop using them. They are great for knitting on the go because you can stop almost anytime. Just remember that while it might seem like you have 4 or 5 needles on the go, in truth you only ever work with 2. One last hint, always try and put down your knitting in the middle of a needle. This means that all your needles are attached to your work. There is nothing more frustrating than picking up you knitting only to find that you've misplaced the working needle. Good luck.

JPaul's picture

The first thing I ever knit was a stocking cap, flat and seamed because the pattern called for it. The second thing I knit was the same hat, in the round on circulars and DPN's because I didn't understand why you would knit if flat if you didn't need to.

Go for it. Be bold! There are lots of guys here willing to advise if you find you're getting into trouble. Here's a hint, for instance. If you're having trouble joing the stitches into a round, knit back and forth for 2 or three rounds, then join them into a circle. It's a little less finicky, it's easier to make sure you don't have the stithces twisted, and you can use the tail from the cast-on to do a very short seam on the first couple of rows!

Give a shout if you need.

Another point of view...

Knitting in a circle is no big deal, and who wants to sew up and have a obviously visible seam anyway? My first hat was also flat, and every one since has been on circulars.

Elizabeth Zimmerman suggests using the long-tail cast on, knitting the first round, and when you get to the beginning, pick up the tail and knit it with your working yarn for 3 stitches, then drop the tail. That gives you a firm join. There are other ways, but that one is easy and straight-forward.

I prefer two circular needles (24" or 32" long) to the double pointed needles. There are fewer needles to keep track of, and the transition stitches when moving from one needle to the next are usually neater.


Put half of the stitches on needle A and half of them on needle B. Let needle B rest to start, and start with all of needle A's stitches at the working end. Knit them all on to the opposite end of needle A, then pick up needle B and drop needle A (it's now in resting mode). Knit all of the stitches on needle B with the opposite end of needle B (you have just completed 1 round). Pick up needle A and drop needle B, then knit all of the stitches on needle A with the opposite end of needle A. Continue in this manner.

You can increase or decrease to your heart's content without ever switching to other needles.

Also, you can start at the top of the hat and work down, or start at the bottom of the hat and work up.

A nice way to start at the top is to make a slip knot, and with a crochet hook *pull a loop through the slip knot and make a chain stitch through that loop* repeat six times so that you have six loops on the crochet hook. Transfer them off the end of the hook to a knitting needle.

Do that once more and transfer the second six stitches from the end of the crochet hook to another needle.
(When you are finished with the hat, you can pull the tail of the slip knot closed so there is no hole).

Knit that row of 12 stitches as described above, then
(K1 M1 K1) 3 times on needle A
(K1 M1 K1) 3 times on needle B
(18 stitches)
Knit a row
(K1 M1 K2) 3 times on needle A
(K1 M1 K2) 3 times on needle B
(24 stitches)
Knit a row
(K1 M1 K3) 3 times on needle A
(K1 M1 K3) 3 times on needle B
(30 stitches)
Knit a row

Keep alternating an increase row with a knit row until the desired circumference is reached. You will increase 6 stitches every two rows. Keep increasing in this manner until you reach the desired circumference of the hat.

If you want a 22 inch opening, and your gauge is 3 stitches to an inch, you'll need about 66 stitches before you stop the increases.

Then knit the hat as deep as you want it and bind off. Weave in the ends, and you're done.

grandcarriage's picture

Fiber Trends has a wonderful pattern: "Everybody's favorite hat and scarf" pattern. It comes with directions for worsted, bulky, and super bulky yarns for the hat and scarf set. It's simple, quick, and attractive (HOW NIIIIICE!). I can knit up the bulky hat in about 1 1/2 hours. It uses DP's. Reason being, the hat has 8 decreases, every other row. One at the beginning and at the end of each needle, as the pattern is written. DP's work well for keeping stitches clear and can become their own markers: (Next needle, PSSO, knit pattern to last two stitches on needle, K2Tog, next needle, etc....easy peasy. I am fond of Bryspun nylon needles (flexible, nice points, cheap) but for the larger sizes, bamboo.

Not tonight honey: I'm knitting...

Wow thanks for all the advice and encouragement everyone. I think my first attempt will be with DPNs and then I will drop some money on some nice circulars to give looped's suggestion a shot to see which method I like better. The initial stitch-with-the tail tip sounds particularly handy.