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; also known as the bar increase; how to instructions and video)
  • LI (RLI; LLI) = lifted increase, right lifted increase, and left lifted increase (how to instructions; video)

(Click here to find out why I use these specific increases.)

  1. Knit a gauge swatch* using the yarn and needles you want to use for your circle.
  2. Measure the height (h) and width (w ) of your stitch.
  3. N (Number of stitches; round result to nearest whole number) = (2*PI*h)/w = 6.28*h/w

Using your calculated number for N:

FOR A CIRCLE:

  1. Cast N stitches onto double-pointed needles and join in the round.
  2. Row 1: Kfb N times, placing a marker between every two stitches to mark sections.
  3. Row 2: *Kfb k2 Kfb* repeat * to * until you run out of stitches.
  4. All remaining rows: For each marked section, increase (RLI or LLI) 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. Use RLI for even rows and LLI for odd rows so that the leaning stitches blend into the material.]
  5. Cast off when desired size of circle is reached

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 (see example below)
  3. Cast off when desired size of polygon 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 increase 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.

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

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  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!

    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!

  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!

    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!

  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!

    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).

  4. Thank you so much! It is being used to design a non-pointy hat, because, while our heads do not taper off to a point, somehow my hats always do!

  5. Hi there!

    I have a small question – is it possible to do this with m1 increases instead of kfb? Do you think it would work? If so should I use paired increases (m1L and m1R) and how?

    Thanks so much for your help <3

    1. I never thought about trying other kinds of increases. I think at the time kfb was just my go to increase. I don’t see why other increases wouldn’t work, but I will have to try it to give you an answer about pairing them… I will try this in the next few days and get back to you! Thanks for asking and for visiting my blog.

      1. Thanks so much for replying. I don’t really know much about knitting ‘theory’ so I think your trial would be very helpful!

        Since I read somewhere that m1 increases are the most invisible increases, I thought it would help the circle look more even as we are making a lot of increases.

        Thanks 😀

      2. You inspired me to test out increases on my own. I posted what I learned (and updated the circle pattern to match). The short answer is that you can’t use an m1 increase for the first row of the circle. But you could use them for the rest. I found that lifted increases look better than m1, so the pattern now includes those. You can read all about my discoveries here: https://wp.me/peX6j-1i7

      3. That’s a really helpful article! Thanks for responding with so much dedication and enthusiasm.
        I’m inspired to try socks now after reading your other article on socks xD

      4. I’m glad you found it useful. Have fun knitting socks. There are lots of different methods out there. You just need a clearly written pattern and some courage.

  6. You are my hero! I’m making a Stargate pillow but my crochet skills are horribly limited and even though I *can* crochet a circle, it would take forever and be a nightmare to make it the size I want. This pattern enabled me to make a circle about 10 inches in diameter, and it looks AMAZING! After about 20 rows, it needed blocking to lie flat and still is a little ruffled-looking, but it is still a gorgeous knitted circle and I am very happy with it! Thank you so much for these instructions!

    1. I am so glad this pattern worked for you! I’ve been making a few circles lately, and they are coming out ruffly. I’ve had to cut back on the number of stitches I cast on, but then it seems to work OK, even better with blocking. I also feel less than happy with my crochet skills, so I like having a knitting option for circles. So glad I was able to help you!

      1. I’m making a second one soon, and I’m thinking that once I get to 25 stitches per needle (6 needles total, one per section), I’ll only increase every other row. That might make the edge a little tighter since the ruffles seem to be from the edge getting too big relative to the rest of it.

      2. This has me wondering if I need to revisit my math. Please let me know how your adjustment works for you.

      3. It worked really well! Here’s what I ended up doing: after I had 20 sts on each needle (I divided sections by one section per DPN), I alternated one row no increases, 2 rows with increases. The edge rolls a little when cast off, but blocking it makes a nice flat circle with no ruffled edges!

      4. That’s great. What size needles were you using? And how many sections did you have? I’m thinking there’s some tweaking needed to adjust depending on scale.

      5. I used size 5 (3.75 mm) needles with a worsted weight yarn, though it was on the lighter weight side of worsted weight, and I had six sections.

      6. Thanks! I’ll keep that in mind. How are you integrating the circle into your project? Sewing it on?

      7. Yep! I’m making a Stargate, so I have the inner wormhole circle and a grey outer ring and I pinned and sewed the circle to the back of the ring. I used the basic circle pattern for the inner wormhole surface in blue, then made a hollow ring in the round in grey (I did 28*6 sts, and since it was three rows, the cast off row was tighter than the cast on so I didn’t do increases). I picked up stitches around the grey ring to knit squares for the symbols and then picked up and crocheted a border. (A little complicated to explain, sorry! I’m thinking of making a Ravelry pattern when it’s done!)

      8. That’s my fault. Apparently I need a plug-in so you can do that and I don’t have it. Are you on Facebook?

      9. Yes, I am! If you have a page, I would definitely love to follow you on Facebook now that I’ve discovered your blog!

      10. I’ve been meaning to set up a fan page, so I guess it’s time! I’ll let you know as soon as it’s up.

    2. That’s so funny – I saw the blue circle above and thought, hey, that looks like a stargate! I’d love to see the pattern when you’re ready with it!

      1. I have the pieces made… I just need photos and instructions. I hope to get the pattern up in the next week or two.

  7. Sorry but I need to back up a few steps before I can start. How do I figure out my gauge swatch? I don’t know where to begin. Am I trying to achieve a standard size 10cm square gauge swatch by experimenting with number of stitches to cast on and number of rows to knit? Feels like this will take ages before I even start the wheel. Or is there a rule of thumb I’m supposed to be using? I want to make little wheels for a toy.

    1. You can of course make your swatch any size you want. It’s much easier to measure a set of stitches to get the average measurements per stitch, so larger is usually better. But I am notorious for making the smallest swatch I can get away with (and unraveling it once I’m done with it) so I can get on with the knitting. Unless the wheels are really large, I’m thinking a swatch about the same size as the wheels might work.

      1. This is so great. I love a bit of maths. My crochet skills are terrible, and I really want to make a rainbow blanket for my daughter, which, of course, has to be round. Thanks so much for all your headwork!!

      2. You’re welcome. I hope this works for you and look forward to hearing all about your project!

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