Circular knitting, or knitting in the round, is worked on a circular needle or with a set of four or five double-pointed needles. With the right side always facing, the knitting is worked around and around to form a tube, or a flat shape (a medallion). A circular needle is easy to master, while working with double-pointed needles is best suited to knitters with intermediate skills.
For those who don’t enjoy stitching seams, knitting seamless tubes is a real plus. Large tubes can be worked on long circular needles, for example, for the body of a sweater or bag. Short circular needles are used for seamless neckbands and armhole bands, and hats. Doublt-pointed needles are used for smaller items such as mittens and socks.
Working with a circular knitting needle
Cast on the required number of stitches. Ensure that the stitches are untwisted and they all face inward, then slip a stitch marker onto the end of the right needle to mark the beginning of the round.
Hold the needle ends in your hands and bring the right needle up to the left needle to work the first stitch. Knit around and around on the stitches. When the stitch marker is reached, slip it from the left needle to the right needle.
If you are working a stockinette stitch tube on a circular needle, the right side of the work will always be facing you and every round will be a knit round.
Joining the circle of stitches
This is a neat way of closing the circle in circular knitting. First, cast on required number of stitches, plus one stitch.
Slip the first cast-on stitch onto the right needle next to last cast-on stitch. Place the join marker after this stitch.
Knit the round, and when you reach the end, knit the last two stitches before the marker together (this will be the first cast-on stitch and the extra stitch).
This knitting in the round how-to is excerpted with permission from "Knit Step by Step" by Vikki Haffenden and published by DK Publishing.