How to Knit a Pinwheel

How to knit a pinwheel - a free tutorial

As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend and founder of Noti Yarns, landed her first account in a yarn shop last week. There was celebrating. There was late night strategy sessions for how her yarn company would one day rule the world. There was also a request made to yours truly for a little knitted sample to show off how all her solid colors work up.

“Pinwheel”, I said. “I’ll knit a pinwheel. It will hang on the wall and draw innocent yarn customers from across the room and ensnare them in its colorful embrace.”

So for any knitters who want to fiendishly trap hapless yarn lovers make a framed knitted pinwheel, here is the pattern (its dead simple) and a photo tutorial.


This post was part of the 39th Blog hop at!


How to Knit a Pinwheel

Pinwheels can be made with any size yarn and worked up to any size. Knitter’s choice. They are worked in the round, so you’ll need either a set of circulars that you can magic loop with or double points.

How to knit a pinwheel - choosing your needles

(Need some help with magic looping? I have a video tutorial for that!)


You’ll also need the embroidery frame and a cardboard box for pinning to.

How to knit a pinwheel - the supplies

Of course you can substitute any pinning surface. I use cardboard boxes because I get them free at the grocery store and little bad kitties get to play in the boxes when I’m not sticking pins through them.

The Pattern

kfb – knit into both the front and back loops of the next stitch (an increase)

Cast On 6 sts. Join to work in the round.

Set Up Round: k all

Round 1: *kfb* 6 times (12 sts)

Round 2: :*k1, kfb* 6 times (18 sts)

Round 3: *k2, kfb* 6 times (24 sts)

Round 4: *k3, kfb* 6 times (30 sts)

Round 5: *k4, kfb* 6 times (36 sts)

Round 6: *k5, kfb* 6 times (42 sts)

Round 7: *k6, kfb* 6 times (48 sts)

Round 8: *k7, kfb* 6 times (54 sts)

… and it goes like that. Each new round has one more knit in it per repeat and each round gets bigger by 6 stitches. Pretty simple pattern.


But getting it started can be tricky. Anything you start on such few stitches and work in the round has a certain level of fussiness to it. You can minimize that by using the magic loop method of knitting in the round. But if you don’t want to, if you prefer dpn’s, no worries. I have a method that makes it easier to handle those beginning rounds.

(Btw, if you can crochet, there is a great cheat for starting small projects in the round. Make a magic ring and work 6 single crochets in to the ring. This counts at the “Set Up Round”. Then pick up and knit two stitches from each single crochet using both the front and back loops. This counts as “Round 1”. Then join to work in the round and pick up the pattern above at Round 2.)

Step 1 – Cast On 6 stitches

How to knit a pinwheel - cast on

Step 2 – Put 3 stitches each on 2 needles being careful not to twist the stitches

How to knit a pinwheel - setting up the needles

Step 3 – Knit the Set Up Round (6 stitches)

How to knit a pinwheel - Set Up Round

Step 4 – Spread the stitches across 3 needles, 2 on each and again… be careful not to let anything twist.

How to knit a pinwheel - on three needles

Step 5 – Work Round 1: *kfb* 6 times (12 stitches)

How to knit a pinwheel - round 1

Step 6 – Keep going. It should have enough stitches in it now that you don’t have to worry about twisting. Round 2: *k1, kfb* 6 times (18 stitches)

How to knit a pinwheel - Round 2

Step 7 – By the 10th or 12th round you’ll notice some puckering and some tension on your stitches.

How to knit a pinwheel - puckering on three needles

If its bothersome, or if your pinwheel is going to get big, spread the stitches out onto 6 needles. Place each repeat section on each needle.

How to knit a pinwheel - on 6 needles

Step 8 – If your are knitting to fill an embroidery frame (like me) remember the stretch factor. I worked my pinwheel until it could fill the frame when stretched. Then I bound off.

How to knit a pinwheel - bind off

And it really curls.


Setting the pinwheel in the frame

Step 9 – Place the center circle of the frame on your pinning surface.

How to knit a pinwheel - setting in the frame

Step 10 – Drape the pinwheel over it and pin down the edges

How to knit a pinwheel - pinning down

Step 11 – Set the outer circle of the frame and tighten it down. Remove the pins (of course!) then find a nice place to hang you pinwheel.

How to knit a pinwheel - finished


Ta da!


So, what good are these, other than as wall hangings, if they curl?
  • I like to use the pinwheel shape as a bottom on a circular bag. I made this part of my Carry Your Yarns – a bag for yarn!
Carry Your cakes - a free knit apttern
Carry Your Cakes – a FREE knit pattern so go grab it



Enjoy your pinwheels. May they memorize you and keep you happily stitching!

Print Friendly

Related Content


"There is no failure. Only feedback." - Robert Allen

12 Comments on "How to Knit a Pinwheel"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

could this be used as a circular lace weight shawl?

Noti Yarn

It beautiful and it show’s off my yarn beautifully. Thanks for the brilliant idea and taking the time to make it for me. Your are the best. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you!!


Your yarn is mouthwatering.

Laurie Z

I used a variation of this pinwheel pattern (instead of increasing w/ kfb, it used yo’s) to make a killer lap afghan (gift for good friend) and it turned out awesome. My friend was overjoyed with it. And I wouldn’t hesitate to make another one like that, although starting out was the tricky part and I am very glad for Jen’s suggestions.


I have to master that magic loop and give this a try! Seems like great practice for increasing. I’m DPN challenged, and I think I have to invest in some different circulars. I tried the crochet cast on with DPN’s, still dropped the needles.

You are lucky to have this friend that enables your habit! Noti Yarn is going on my wishlist, and I’m getting that purple for my next splurge. And probably blue. And maybe some green, too. Does she offer financing? 😉


I love the colors! Oh, and we have news! Alexandria was born yesterday at 8:29 am and everyone is very healthy here! (If a little tired)