How to Convert Knit Patterns on Circular Needles to Straight Needles

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A common frustration for knitters is finding a pattern they fall in love with and then realizing it's written for a type of needle they don't like to use. Most knitters prefer either circular or flat knitting and are somewhat intimidated by the other type. Don't despair if this happens to you. No worries - it's a snap to convert circular knitting patterns to straight needles. Just follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Understanding the Differences Between the Two Styles

Flat knitting, or straight needle knitting, reverses the stitches on every other row. Flat knitters alternate between the "right" side of the project and the "wrong" side of the project. In contrast, circular knitters always knit on the "right" side of the project. What this means is that knitting in Stockinette stitch for a straight needle knitter means knitting one row and then purling the next row. The same pattern for a circular knitter means knitting every row.

Step 2: Converting the Pattern

Converting a circular pattern to a straight pattern involves making sure that every second or "wrong" row is reversed. If for instance the circular pattern says to knit 40 rows in the round, every other row in a straight pattern will require you to purl that row.

Step 3: Converting More Complicated Patterns

In more complicated patterns with a variety of stitches, it is recommended to write out a new set of directions. The key is to remember that every second or "wrong" row must simply be reversed. This is easily done even in a ribbing pattern. Again, if the circular pattern says to K2, P2 for 40 rows, every other row will establish a reverse pattern of P2, K2.

Tip

  • It may be helpful to add an extra stitch on each edge of the flat piece to allow for sewing the finished object together at the end.

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