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How to Convert Knit Patterns on Circular Needles to Straight Needles

Updated July 19, 2017

Do you feel limited in your choice of knitting patterns because you don't use circular knitting needles? Help has arrived. Converting knitting patterns written for circular needles to flat knitting is a straightforward task.

Divide in half the total number of stitches the pattern says to cast on the circular knitting needles. The result is the number of stitches to cast on your straight knitting needle. You may need to add two or three more stitches on each end of your flat pieces of knitting, so you have a little extra fabric for the seams, otherwise, your garment may be too small.

All odd rounds in the circular knitting pattern are worked as written. Simply use straight needles instead of circulars: knit when it says to knit; purl when it tells you to purl.

On all even rounds, the stitches need to be reversed: wherever the circular knitting pattern says to knit, purl instead. And when the original pattern says to purl, knit the stitch.

On most complicated patterns, such as cables, the fancy stitches are worked on the right side (odd rows) of the fabric, so in all likelihood, no changes to that part of the pattern will be needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Knitting pattern for circular knitting needles
  • Straight knitting needles
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Diane Braun is a medical billing manager, weaver and sheep raiser in Arizona. She has a Master of Arts in medieval history and has studied and written on a wide range of topics, including textile and rural history, dye plants, historical cooking, and the preservation of rare animal breeds.