Everyone has their preferred method for knitting in the round. Mine changes depending on the project I'm doing. For socks though, it's definitely the Magic Loop method. There are really three different methods of knitting in the round. Read through below for some explanations.
Using double pointed needles to knit in the round is the traditional method and it's still a favourite with many people. The stitches are cast on to three or four needles and then you knit with an extra needle. As pictured above, you hold the needle you need to work across in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand. Starting at the far right (yellow arrow), you knit the stitches from right to left (orange arrow) until all your stitches are on your right needle and the left one is empty. The left needle moves to your right hand and you rotate the project counter clockwise so you can knit across the next needle.
Short Circular Needles
When knitting on a short circular needle, you want a length of needle that is shorter than the circumference you need to knit. If you're knitting socks on a short circ, you'll want one that is about 9" long since most foot/leg circumferences are larger than that. As pictured above, you start where the yellow arrow is and continue to work the stitches to the left (orange arrow). We always use a stitch marker on the needle for this method so you can tell where your beginning of round is. When you reach the stitch marker, you just slip it from the left needle to the right and start knitting your next round.
Magic Loop Method
The long circular needle (40" long) gives you the flexibility to knit in the round because of the long loops of cords. You work your project half the stitches at a time. The half you aren't working with sit on some of the cord, while the stitches you are knitting are on the needle tips. You start where the yellow arrow is and work down the stitches to the left (orange arrow). Once you've knit them all onto the right tip, you turn your project around, adjust the needles so that the second half of stitches are on the needle, and begin again.
Tip: One thing that is helpful to remember when knitting in the round is that your yarn is always attached to the last stitch you worked. That stitch should always be to the right.
And make sure your stitches aren't twisted when you join them in the round.
There is no wrong way to knit in the round. Any of these methods work great. It really depends on what you feel comfortable with.
Which one do you prefer? Do you have any tips? Comment below to share.