Casting On for Circular Knitting

To knit on a circular needle, cast your stitches directly onto the needle as you would on a straight needle. (For a refresher on how to cast on, see Chapter 4.) Here's the important bit: Before you start to knit, make sure that the cast-on edge isn't twisted around the needle; if you have stitches that spiral around the needle, you'll feel like a cat chasing its tail when it comes time to find the bottom edge. The yarn end should be coming from the RH needle tip, as shown in Figure 8-1.

Figure 8-1:

Ready to knit on a circular needle.

Figure 8-1:

Ready to knit on a circular needle.

First cast-on stitch

To join, knit into first cast-on stitch

Last cast-on stitch

First cast-on stitch

To join, knit into first cast-on stitch

Last cast-on stitch

^ Casting on and getting started on a set of double-pointed needles can be a little trickier than using single-pointed needles. Instead of trying to cast all ■ f(|l| your stitches onto one small needle (which increases the likelihood that some will slip off the other end) or several separate needles (which leaves needles dangling and extra yarn at each needle change), cast the total number of stitches needed onto a single-pointed straight needle of the correct size. Then slip them purlwise onto your double-pointed needles, distributing them in equal or close-to-equal amounts and making sure that the stitches aren't twisted around any of the needles. Leave one of the needles free to start knitting.

If you're using a set of four double-pointed needles, use three needles for your stitches: Form them into a triangle (see Figure 8-2a) with the yarn end at the bottom point. Save the fourth (empty) needle for knitting. If you're using a set of five needles, put your stitches on four needles, as shown in Figure 8-2b, and knit with the fifth (empty) needle.

Figure 8-2:

Dividing stitches among three

  • a) and four
  • b) double-pointed needles.

Trying to focus on one of your double-pointed needles while the others are flopping around is pretty frustrating. If you lay your work on a table while transferring your cast-on stitches and arranging your needles, you can keep things steady and pay attention to what you're doing at the same time.

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