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:
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.
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.
HOW TO KNIT BACK AND FORTH ON CIRCULAR NEEDLES (FLAT KNITTING ON CIRCULAR NEEDLES)
1) Cast on all stitches the pattern calls for. As you cast your stitches, they will slide towards and onto the cable.
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.
3) Knit straight across all your stitches.
4) Turn all your work around by putting the tip in your right hand in your left hand, and viceversa.
5) Continue knitting your next row 😊 Or purling. Or whatever your pattern calls for…
I hope you find the explanation useful!! And do not hesitate to write a message below if you have any questions.
7 thoughts on “How to Knit back and forth on circular needles (Flat knitting on circular needles)”
I am making a square blanket using 40 inch circular needles to knit flat. Because it is knit like two triangles, with the largest number of stitches in the middle and the last half decreasing, I end up with too much cord curling up and getting in the way. As far as I can see, magic loop is great for knitting in the round but no help with this problem. Any suggestions?
I’m not sure I understand correctly: you’re NOT knitting in a circular way, right? If you’re knitting back and forth in your circular needle, I’ll advise you to change to straight needles as soon as you can accommodate your stitches in them.
Thanks but I have to knit about 200 stitches to get to that point. I am trying ways to tie the cord out of the way; I am reluctant to clamp for fear of damage. Just thought a fellow knitter might have a tip. At this point I am near the end and can wrap the cord around my left arm behind the work. The cord kinks into a circle right in front of my work otherwise.
Oh, now I understand better. I can think of two ways. If possible, change to a needle with a shorter cord (if you use interchangeable circulars it is easier to do) but I’m sure you already thought about this. The second idea is to knit with your work embracing you. I mean, allow the needle cord to surround you.
I have once knitted a huge blanket (I had to connect 2 consecutive 30” cords) and I made the entire blanket with the circular needle (and the work in progress) around me all the time 🙂 Thank goodness it was winter!!
I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful… If you were working in a circular way, you could disregard the extra cord length by using one or two dpns (a similar idea is shown in the photo on the link below), but working flat I can’t offer more ideas…