Circular shawls, toys and hats are just a few of the projects that might require a circular cast-on technique. In crochet, working from the centre out is considered the norm – the humble granny square, for example, might be the perfect beginner’s project. However, in knitting, we have a tendency to work from the outside in.
There are a few different methods to cast on from the inside of a circle, and they all produce slightly different results and are of varying levels of fiddliness! The three I’ve explored here are the most common techniques. They will give a few different options, depending on your preferences – the first uses a crochet hook, the second uses a knitting needle, and the third begins from an i-cord. Although the first two might seem a bit tricky at first, they do become much easier with practice!
For all three examples, I cast on six stitches and increased six stitches evenly on every alternative round, closing the loop shut after about ten rounds of knitting.
Disappearing loop cast-on
Emily Ocker's cast-on
I-cord starting cast-on
Working with a small number of stitches straight into the round on DPNs can be frustrating if you’re using slippery needles that keep sliding out. Until you’ve increased to 24 stitches or so, you might find it easier to work in the round on circular needles, or over two DPNs, splitting the stitches evenly over them and holding both in your left hand, but only knitting across the front needle before turning and knitting across the second needle. When there are enough stitches, you can then transfer to three or four DPNs, depending on your preference or the multiple of stitches you are working with.
Image: ‘Setting Sun’ from The Knitter issue 27