Calculating length of circular needles

So, I’m finally ready to start using circular needles! I know they come in different lengths depending on the circumference of the project. My question is: How is the length measured? For instance, I’m looking for size 17 24" circulars. Is the cable supposed measure 24" or is it from one tip of the needle to the other tip? The reason I ask is that I’ve compared the same needles but have gotten different lengths…hence my aprehension to use circulars!! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!


I believe the measurement should be tip to tip–at least for the non-interchangeable circular needles. However, at least with Denise interchangeables, the cable length is just the length of the cable. It doesn’t include the tips, e.g., the 40" cable is 40" long. The needles would add about 8-1/2 to 9 inches to that length.

The length of all the non-interchangeable circs I have is the length from tip to tip.

Joe is right. When the patterns give a length to use they are talking tip to tip. I don’t know anything about the needles that come apart. The exact length is usually not that critical. For instance a size 16" needle will hold a lot of different numbers of stitches and still work. You can squeeze a lot of stitches on a circular, the thing to get right is at the other end. I mean you have to have one that allows you to bring the needle tips together and not overstretch the number of stitches on the needle. That’s why when you get too few stitches for a 16" needle, you have to do something different to work with your stitches, either 2 circulars or move to 4 double pointed needles.