Knitting a Seamless Sweater on Circular Knitting Needles

Knitting a Seamless Sweater on Circular Knitting Needles

Knitting a seamless sweater is a rite of passage for a knitter stepping into the beautiful world of garment making. If you’ve knit with circular needles, chances are you are a true fan of knitting seamlessly. You do not have to plan out seaming techniques or worry about the extra work. The knitting needles are ideal for all kinds of projects, whether you knit back and forth or in the round.

Knitting in the round with circular needles makes sure that there are no seams. You continue to craft without stopping but take a break to join the yarn whenever needed. These needles, especially interchangeable circular needles, open up options to work with the same needle size throughout the project but swap the cord length according to the number of stitches. Whether you start to knit top down or bottom up, the distance to accommodate stitches for a neckline is different from the number required for sleeves or the chest, or other parts of the body. We'll walk you through the steps in this blog to get you started with knitting a seamless sweater on circular needles.

Supplies to gather 

Knitting Needles: Circular knitting needles as mentioned in the pattern or the one matching the size instructed on the yarn label. If you are working with a US 7 needle, keep a US 6 and US 8 handy. For cord lengths, it is easier to carry a few options.

The general rule is to ensure the cord length is smaller than the circumference of the knitting project. So throughout the project, you require different sizes when you work the sweater at different points. For the neckline, you can work with a 16-inch cord; for the sleeves,, if you are working the magic loop technique, anything between 32 to 47 inches. The body will require a length that is still shorter than the circumference to avoid the stitches stretching out. This length is usually not standard as every sweater is different.

Besides circulars, a set of double-pointed knitting needles of the same size are also handy. You may get to a point where none of your cord lengths work for the knitting pattern, and you have to switch to DPNs and work with a limited number of stitches.

Yarn: If you are following a pattern, you will have instructions on which yarn to choose. You can opt for different yarn colors and weights but start by knitting a gauge swatch. If you feel inspired by a design but the pattern asks for wool while you want to work with a summer-friendly yarn, you can substitute the fiber but try and work with the same yarn weight.

Pattern: Sweater patterns are abundantly available in various styles. You can choose from the latest fashion trends to vintage designs. The set of instructions is available with schematics, charts or as written directions. Schematics help you in making your alterations when it comes to sizes. Charts assist with a pictorial idea of the project. All instructions on needle sizes, yarn and gauge are also provided in a pattern helping you at every step of your sweater knitting journey.

Knitting Accessories: Stitch markers are essential for a smooth knitting experience. This helps you divide your project into manageable sections. You can mark stitches when changing the stitch pattern or working on colorwork sections. Finishing needles are also essential as it helps you complete your task neatly. A repair hook is handy as it enables you to pick dropped stitches and fix other knitting mistakes.

Understanding the Construction of a Seamless Sweater 

A seamless sweater worked on circular needles is constructed all in one go. The two standard yokes are either top-down or bottom up. Whether you start from top or bottom, you will need to work plan on working the sleeves at the same while knitting the body. Our blog on knitting top-down vs. bottom sweaters will help you weigh the pros and cons, assisting with planning your project.

Knitting Techniques 

If you are knitting a sweater for the first time or are new to knitting with circulars, it is time to brush off the dust from some knitting techniques. You must understand

  • Knit and purl stitches – The basic stitches of knitting; every stitch pattern is based on both or either. Whether you work on the rib stitches or the basic garter or Stockinette, you should clearly understand these stitches.
  • How to cast on stitches- There are multiple ways to lay the foundation of the pattern. Any stretchy method will work or do as the pattern mentions.
  • How to bind off – Like cast on, there are multiple ways to bind off stitches, depending on the project and pattern.
  • Knitting in the round with circular needles- If you are just starting, here’s the ultimate guide to knitting in the round. You just need to choose the suitable knitting needles and work on the right side of the pattern. Remember that if you are working on a garter pattern, it is not all knit stitches but alternating rounds of knit and purl stitches. And, if you are working on a Stockinette pattern, you work all your rounds in knit stitches as you constantly face your item's RS (right side).
  • Magic Loop Technique – The unique knitting method allows knitting even the smallest circumferences with a single circular needle. This technique can be used for sleeves as well as baby clothes.
  • Short Rows – The knitting technique shapes your pieces and creates intricate effects, such as ruffles or geometrical designs with different colors.

Lantern Moon interchangeable circular needle on top of Gauge Swatch

Knitting a Gauge Swatch 

Hand-knit garments have to fit, so you need to get an accurate gauge. Knit a 6-inch (10 cm) square swatch with the same knitting needles and yarn you’ll use for the project. If you will knit Stockinette, use the same for the gauge. Also make the swatch in the round for accurate results. Wash and block according to instructions or details on the yarn label.

Measuring and Understanding Your Gauge

After the square is dry, take a measuring tape or a gauge tool. Count stitches vertically in a cm or inch for the row count and horizontally for the stitch count. You have the correct gauge if the result is the same number as the pattern instructs. Reknit on different needles if you need to, a bigger size if you have more stitches and a size smaller if you have fewer stitches. Even if the gauge is different and you love the effect, go ahead.

Start with Knitting 

With all your planning done, get started with your sweater. If you have the person for whom you are crafting close by, get their exact measurements. Working with standard sizes is also a possibility. Make sure to take breaks and enjoy your craft.

The Lantern Moon Collection offers a range of handcrafted knitting needles, crochet hooks, and related accessories. Made from ebony wood, one of the most precious woods in the world, the premium knitting needles, crochet hooks, and accessories have a liquid silk finish that lets the yarn flow. Indulge in a smooth crafting experience. The Lantern Moon knitting needle sets offer knitters a wide range of choices with multiple combinations.

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