Knitting in the round with two circular needles

Jane Crowfoot explains how knitting in the round with two circular needles is an easy way to work with smaller projects such as socks.

Knitting in the round with two circular needles

Knitting in the round with two circular needles is an easy way to manage projects that have small diameters. Alternatives include Magic Loop knitting and learning how to knit with double pointed needles, so we recommend trying all three and seeing which one suits you best. In this tutorial, designer Jane Crowfoot will show you how it’s done. Need help getting to grips with one circular needle first? See our guide on knitting with circular needles.

“Using circular needles can make knitting small pieces in the round a doddle – such as socks, mittens and sleeves,” says Jane. “If you have a small number of stitches on a circular needle then, regardless of how long the cable is or how short the actual needle part is, it is the case that you’ll be working at a tighter angle when inserting into the stitches.”

“At first, it is a good idea to use two differing sets of circular needles,” she says. This makes knitting in the round with two circular needles easier for beginners. “They need to be the same diameter and it is logical (although not essential) to use needles with the same length wire, but it’s helpful to use needles either with different coloured points or points made from different materials, such as a metal pair and a wooden pair for example.” You could use fixed circular needles, or take a look at our interchangeable knitting needles guide for top interchangeable sets to try.

Knitting in the round with two circular needles is ideal for socks, so why not cast on our free men’s socks knitting pattern to help you master the technique?

Main image: Wood Millet socks knitting pattern by Jane Burns, as featured in The Knitter magazine issue 123.

Knitting in the round with two circular needles

Knitting in the round with two circular needles

Jane Crowfoot takes you through this technique step-by-step.

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You Will Need

  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles

Total time:

Step 1

Cast on the required number of stitches onto one of the circular needles (here shown in metal) using your preferred method.

Knitting in the round with two circular needles step 1

Step 2

Using the second set of circulars (shown here in wood), knit across half the number of stitches.
Knitting in the round with two circular needles step 2

Step 3

Hold both sets of needles in your left hand with the stitches you have already knitted on the back needle and both needles with the tips facing to the right.

Knitting in the round with two circular needles step 3

Step 4

* Pull the back needle through the stitches so that the stitches sit on the wire. Pick up the other end of the circular needle that you are holding to the front (shown here in metal) and knit across the stitches on this needle.

Knitting in the round with two circular needles step 4B

Step 5

Transfer both needles to your left hand once again, this time with the wooden needles at the front. Slip the stitches just worked onto the cable and slide the stitches on the wooden needle onto the tip pointing right. Use the other end of the wooden needles to knit across these stitches.

Step 6

Continue to repeat, turning the work after each set of stitches and ensuring that you always work stitches onto the tip of the same needle. So if the stitches start on the wooden needles, you need to knit them onto the other end of the wooden needles.

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We hope you enjoyed Jane’s guide to knitting in the round with two circular needles. You may find it takes a bit of practise to get used to this technique, but we think it’s worth getting to grips with! If you really don’t get on with this method, though, don’t worry – try Magic Loop or DPNs instead. You’re sure to find there’s a technique that’s just right for you.

See our how to knit guides for more knitting tutorials and try out knitting in the round with two circular needles using one of our free knitting patterns.