Accessories · How To Knit

Circular Knitting Needles And Why We Use Them

circular knitting needlesWhat are circular knitting needles and why do we even need them?

If you are an avid knitter, at some point you will want to knit something circular, like socks or a tubular scarf.

Circular knitting needles are also a lot of fun to work with. Not only will you be able to make socks and tubular scarves, but also things like bags, sweaters without seams, beanies, and hats.

You will need to practice with them a bit first, as they are a bit tricky to use if you are not used to them, and I suggest you start with a small project until you feel more comfortable.

So What Exactly Are Circular Knitting Needles?

Circular knitting needles look like two normal knitting needles, but they are joined together with a flexible cord that is used to hold all the stitches.

Circular knitting needles, like regular knitting needles, can be made of one of the following:

  • bamboo
  • metal
  • plastic
  • resin

You can purchase circular needles that are permanently fixed to the cord, or they can be purchased as part of an interchangeable system, where the tips can be taken off the cord and exchanged for larger or smaller needles. Interchangeable needles can be purchased separately or in a set that includes many different sizes of needles and cords.

Circular needles are found in all the normal knitting needle sizes, obviously depending on the brand.

The cords also come in different lengths that you can buy according to how wide your project is. The common lengths are 16, 24, 36 and 40-inch cords. The pattern you are following will normally tell you what length you will need.

It is better to use a longer cord for a wider project, as you don’t want your knitting to be all bunched up and squashed onto the needles.

How To Knit With Circular Knitting Needles

Working Patterns in the Round

When knitting in a circle, you will be knitting on the right side or front of the fabric all the time.

A lot of circular knitting is done in stocking stitch, which makes life easy because all you have to do is knit every row.

To do a garter stitch, you will need to knit one row, purl one row.

If you want to have the reverse stockinette look then you need to purl every row.

Obviously, other pattern stitches can be worked with circular knitting needles, but the stitches mentioned above are the most common stitches you will come across.

With circular knitting needles, it is like knitting one continuous row of knitting, as you just continue knitting round and round.

 

Can I knit straight work with Circular Knitting Needles?

The answer here is yes, and circular knitting needles are ideal to use when working on big projects like wraps, throws or afghans.

The circular knitting needles hold the stitches better and make it a lot easier because more stitches can be held on the needles.

You would then not knit on the round, just knit rows like normal by switching hands when you get to the end of a row.

Quick Fix if you don’t have Circular Knitting Needles

circular knitting needles
Circular knitting with straight knitting needles

 

If you need to knit in a circle, it can be done with straight knitting needles as seen on the picture to the left.
 To read more on circular knitting needles and where you can purchase them online, click here.
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