How to knit in the round – and a free pattern

After making the toddler the crochet hat in the pompom post I had quite a bit of yarn left over, so I decided to make her some matching leg warmers/ welly toppers. I didn’t want to crochet these as I haven’t quite got the hang of crochet ribbing, and without the ribs and top and bottom, they just won’t stay up. As anyone with a toddler knows, keeping their clothes on is a battle at the best of times, so I knitted them instead. I could have knitted them flat on two needles quite easily, but I really couldn’t be bothered to sew them up afterwards, so I knitted them in the round.

I’ve spoken to a few people recently who want to learn to knit in the round but find the instructions a little confusing at the start. The first time I tried to do this was when I wanted to knit a pair of socks. After a couple of painful attempts, I collected my tangled mess together and threw it all at the poor lady in the wool shop I’d bought it from. She was very patient and got me started, and I then attended her knitting group for a few weeks until I finished the socks. I thought I’d pass this knowledge on, once you’ve done it you’ll see it’s surprisingly easy, and means a lot of horrid sewing up can be avoided. Which is great, because I hate sewing up at the end!

These instructions are for double pointed needles, not circular. These come in packs of for or five. In this instance I have used a pack of four. It doesn’t matter which you lose as long as you can divide your stitches evenly on to them.

round 1 round2

You need to start by casting on your stitches. In this case it was thirty. It’s much easier to cast on to one needle, and then to divide these stitches evenly between all the double pointed needles, which in this case means ten stitches on each of the three needles. Try to keep the needles flat at this stage to avoid the stitches on the needles getting twisted before you’ve joined them in a round.

round 4

Now you need to join the round together. If you look closely at the blue and green needles at the top of the picture, you may be able to see the join. You need to slip the first stitch on to the last needle. In the picture above that means slipping the end stitch from the green needle on to the blue needle. You then slip the last stitch from the blue needle over this and on to the green needle. It is a little fiddly which is why you do it on the flat surface. It should look like the picture above, still with 10 stitches on each needle.

round 5

Now you can take your fourth needle and start knitting. You don’t need to turn your work, so you only need to knit to make a stocking stitch. However, if you want to knit a garter stitch, you will need to purl alternate rows. You will need a stitch marker so you can identify the start of your round (which I haven’t got above, naughty me!) How easy is that? Below I have included the pattern for the leg warmers to get you started.


Leg warmers – Make 2

With 5mm double pointed needles and aran weight yarn, cast on 30 stitches and join into a round. Place marker at the beginning of the round.

Rounds 1-4 – k1, p1 rib

Rounds 5 – Knit, increasing by two stitches on every needle (36 stitches)

Rounds 6-20 – Knit

Round 21-  Knit, decreasing by 2 stitches on each needle (30 stitches)

Rounds 22-25 – K1, p1 rib

Cast off loosely

Make two small pompoms. If you are using my easiest ever pompom method, then I used two fingers instead of three. Sew them to the side with long tails. Easy as pie


And here’s the little Elf herself, foraging on the allotment for forgotten raspberries.


8 thoughts on “How to knit in the round – and a free pattern

  1. Those raspberries obviously weren’t forgotten by everyone ;). Cheers for the lesson in the round. I haven’t been game enough to try knitting in the round yet as all of those needles and I only have 2 hands and my fingers tend to be occupied dunking bickies into vats of tea when I knit so that’s 1 hand left to knit with 3 – 4 needles…frankly that’s a terrifying proposition! Put down my bicky you say? How can you knit without a bicky!

      • One great big long twisty terrifying needle! I have seen them and they are monstrous! I think they were designed to make bad knitters panic (and it has worked). Where 3 – 4 needles have me balking a long twisty needle has me running in the opposite direction STRAIGHT to the comfort of the bicky barrel and a nice cup of tea :). I segued that nicely didn’t I? 😉

  2. Pingback: The Saga of the Sock | Liz DDP Yoga

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