I've recently begun learning to knit and have SCORED lots of straights and DPNs in two lots: one from Craigslist and one from a gigantic yard sale.
That's the kind of budget I have.
I've also SCORED yarn from a sigh store-closing sale, a "yard sale of yarn" sponsored by a shop (knitters brought in and priced their own yarn at yard-sale prices), and a yarn-department-closing sale in a fabric store. The closest LYS is also closing out slow-moving colors, and I got some 50% price yarn. This is all good stuff, and it was the last of the $$.
Now I have supplies--yarn, needles, stitch markers, gauge, etc.--and patterns (library books are terrific sources!), and want to start making something besides practice swatches.
But all the patterns these days call for circular needles, with maybe DPNs thrown in. In all of my SCORES, there were only 5 circular needles, so it's highly unlikely that I'll have the correct size & length a pattern requires.
How can I look at a circular needle pattern and tell 1) whether it's suitable to be worked on straights and 2) how to do that work? After all, our ancestors worked on straight needles for millennia and created amazing art; can't I at least try a shawl? a hat? an over-tunic?
What steps are needed to change a circular-needle pattern to a straight-needle pattern? How can a knitter tell whether a given pattern is suitable for this conversion?
Possibly helpful info: I used to teach math, so math isn't a barrier. I'm used to computing patterns and repeats from the crochet world. I like to know the theory of how something works as well as the mechanics, if there is an underlying theory.
My thanks in advance to anyone who can answer any pieces of this puzzle.