My Simple Pattern for Knitting a Flat Circle or Polygon

You can adapt this pattern for any project. With regularly spaced increases, you will get a polygon with the same number of sides as increases. If you space the increases more randomly, your results will look like a circle, no matter how many increases are needed.

Here’s the pattern that results from using geometry to figure out how to knit a flat circle. I’ve included instructions for circles and polygons, so you can try it both ways.

FlatCircle_web

k = knit
Kfb = knit in front and again in back of stitch (which increases by one stitch)

Knit a gauge swatch* using the yarn and needles you want to use for your circle.
Measure the height (h) and width (w) of your stitch.
N (Number of stitches) = (2*π*h)/w (round to the nearest whole number)

Using your calculated number for N:

FOR AN APPROXIMATE CIRCLE:

  1. Cast N stitches onto double-pointed needles and join in the round.
  2. Row 1: Kfb N times (place a marker between every two stitches to mark sections)
  3. All remaining rows: For each marked section, Kfb in any one stitch and k all other stitches [the increases need to be randomly placed to get the circle; as it gets larger, it gets easier to put the new increases a good distance from the previous ones.]
  4. Cast off when desired size of circle is reached

Example of a few rows with “random” increases for the circle:

  • row 1: Kfb N times (i.e., in every stitch)
  • row 2: (Kfb k2 Kfb) until you run out of stitches (which could be in the middle if N is odd) [this alternates which of the 2 stitches in each section is getting an increase]
  • row 3: (Kfb k3 Kfb) until you run out of stitches [increase first stitch in the first section, second stitch in the second section and third stitch in the third section]
  • Once you have more than three stitches to choose from, you can be more random in choosing where you increase. Just make sure you never put an increase in an increase from the previous row, or you’ll start to get a ridge in your work and will be heading towards polygon land.

polygon_web

FOR A REGULAR POLYGON (WITH N SIDES):

  1. Cast N stitches onto double-pointed needles and join in the round.
  2. Every row: (Kfb k(row number – 1)) N times
  3. Cast off when desired size of circle is reached

For those who hated math, here are the first few rows for the polygon expanded:

  • row 1: Kfb N times (i.e., in every stitch)
  • row 2: (Kfb k1) N times
  • row 3: (Kfb k2) N times
  • row 4: (Kfb k3) N times

The number of increases per row is fixed (N), but the number of total stitches increases every row. The number of knit stitches between increases is one less than the row number, but you don’t have to count rows. You can see the Kfb stitches in the previous row and just Kfb into them, knitting everything else.

*Yes, you have to. Without knowing your gauge, none of this works.

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

11 thoughts on “My Simple Pattern for Knitting a Flat Circle or Polygon”

  1. hey! This is great. I have a similar pattern for knitting hexagons but outside-in. Have a look on my blog at the ‘tortoise and the sheep’ pattern – it’s a blanket where you attach hexagons onto one another as you knit but the principle is the same as what you’re doing, sort of!

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    1. I checked out your post and pattern and I love it! One of my favorite things about knitting is its versatility, that you can knit bottom up or top down, inside-out or outside-in. I also like your idea of picking up stitches so you don’t have to seam everything together later. Looking forward to seeing how your blanket turns out!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much! I have a project in mind and this will be sooooooo useful! I have a question though – what measurements do you use for your stitch? Say my stitch is .75 inches high – do you use .75 as the measurement? Or is it in cm? Thanks so much!

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    1. I did it in inches. All that matters is that you use the same units for your stitch height and your gauge measurement. You can do inches and stitches/inch, or cm and stitches/cm. Both will work. Good luck and I would love to see what you make!

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  3. Hi kit, I have few questions,say I wanna make a 34 cm diameter round (h/w=68cm) since it’s a circle the width and height is the same and how counting( 2π(x)h)/w makes any diff with just 2pi.
    And I’m still confuse as how to put how many kfb on 2nd and the following rounds.how much should I kfb and knit.Thankyou for reading and have a nice day!

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    1. The height and width measures are relative to the stitches in your sample swatch, and have nothing to do with the size of your circle. H = how tall a single knit stitch is and w = how wide a single knit stitch is. For a 34 cm diameter circle, the number of rows you need will equal 34/the height of one stitch (with is how tall your row is).

      The number of kfb’s is always the same: it equals N (the number of stitches you calculate with the formula and cast on. So the second row, kfb in every stitch. The third row, kfb every other stitch. As you get further and further in, you have only one kfb per “section” (see the note about placing markers while knitting the 2nd row).

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