How to cast on with circular knitting needles

Written by shaunta alburger
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How to cast on with circular knitting needles
Cast on for a new knitting experience. (knitting image by Joanna Redesiuk from

Knitting on circular needles allows you to create seamless tubes for socks, hats or other items. The knitting itself is very similar to knitting with separate needles, although a marker is needed to count your rows. The finer the needles, the finer the knit; so choose accordingly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Circular knitting needles
  • Yarn
  • Marker

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  1. 1

    Treat the two ends of your circular knitting needles as individual needles. Start your cast on by attaching the yarn to the right needle with a slip knot, leaving a tail that is 1 inch long for each stitch you plan to cast on, plus 12 inches. Wrap the tail around your left thumb and the yarn from the ball around your left index finger, forming a triangle with the right needle point at the apex. Hold both strands of yarn against your palm with your remaining left fingers.

  2. 2

    Insert the tip of the right needle through the loop of yarn on your left thumb, moving from bottom to top. Then, insert from the top to the bottom through the loop of yarn on your left index finger.

  3. 3

    Pull the top strand through the loop of tail yarn that is hooked around your thumb.

  4. 4

    Pull your thumb from the loop and slide the loop from your index finger over the needle. Pull securely, but not too tightly. You'll need to be able to fit the left needle between the right needle and the stitch for the first row of knitting. Repeat for each stitch you want to cast on.

  5. 5

    Arrange all cast-on stitches so that they face the same direction and are not twisted. Slide a marker onto the left needle. Complete the first row of stitches as if you have two separate needles until you make it back around to the marker. This is your first round. Slip the marker to the right needle and continue to knit around.

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