HOW TO: Knit back and forth on circular needles (Flat knitting on circular needles)

When you want to knit something very wide (let’s say, a crib size blanket, or a big adult poncho) there is simply no way to accommodate all your stitches in a straight needle. There is nothing more useful in these cases than using a circular needle with a long cable!! Of course, you will not weave your work in a circular way, but BACK AND FORTH in a flat way. Let me show you below how it is done.


If you never saw a circular knitting needle, you may have not understood the previous explanation. So, let’s start with a picture of a circular needle and its parts:

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In addition to being manufactured with different materials and in different sizes and colors, the circular needles can be divided into:

  • fixed circular needles: the tips are attached to the cable.
  • interchangeable circular needles: the tips can be separated from the cable. I find these more useful, because you can vary the length of the cable depending on the project.

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Whatever type of circular needle you choose, when it comes to large projects you will need to have a long cable. At least 32” (81 cm) for a crib sized blanket like my Bunny Blanket, Heart Blanket or Zig Zag Seed Blanket.


1) Cast on all stitches the pattern calls for. As you cast your stitches, they will slide towards and onto the cable.

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2) Work as if each tip of your circular needle were a straight needle. That is, hold one tip in each hand: hold the tip with the stitches in your left hand and the empty tip with your right hand.

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3) Knit straight across all your stitches.

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3b con marca

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4) Turn all your work around by putting the tip in your right hand in your left hand, and viceversa.

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5) Continue knitting your next row 😊 Or purling. Or whatever your pattern calls for…

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I hope you find the explanation useful!! And do not hesitate to write a message below if you have any questions.

Happy knitting!

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One thought on “HOW TO: Knit back and forth on circular needles (Flat knitting on circular needles)

  1. Pingback: Zig Zag Seed Blanket Pattern – Oh La Lana!

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