Can I knit in the round with 2 different needle sizes?

Can I use one size 11 and one size 13 needle on my interchangeable cable to get the perfect gauge? The fabric I get using both needles size 11 is too tight, and with both size 13 it is too loose. What will happen if I use one 11 and one 13? It seems like it would be just right. But maybe it would cause some problem I’m not aware of…? :confused:

If you’re knitting flat the knit and purl sides would be a slightly different gauge. Unless you knit or purl very tight and use the large needle for the one that’s tight. I’m not sure though. If you’re knitting in the round it’s all knits and I don’t know if they would balance out the way you are thinking. You may have to experiment to see how that works out for you.

 Hello Kathy,  I am Wolfie. I can help you with your size situation.

The # 11 needle is actually and the #13 needle is actually From #11 on, we do not have half sizes. So, what we do
is the following: Normally when one knits correctly,
you enter the loop so that the two center portions of the needles
meet and then you pull the next loop through.
Now, if you work your yarn by entering the next loop
all of the way up the needles so that they are “shaft against shaft”;
with #11 ( needles, the result will be an 8.5 mm stitch.
This is only way to achieve an eleven and a half stitch.
Using two different needle sizes will only cause you to
have an unruly loop configuration. And you would never make
the half size needle jump that you need in this case.
I hope I was able to describe the technique by using
only words. Pictures would have been better I guess.
Let me know how it works for you.

Correction: I should have said "the two center points of the needles meet"
Not portions…

Hello Wolfie -

Thank you for your reply. It’s my first question to the Forum, and I’m
grateful for the help!

It sounds like you are using the tips of the needles to get the normal size
stitch, and to get the half-size larger stitch you are pushing the yarn
farther down the shaft where the needles are bigger? Is this what you are


Yes. It’s a little trick used to grow a stitch when working with # 11
needles. The point have an obvious taper. If you look at the taper of
a needle you will notice that half way down the taper would be half
the circumference of the main needle shaft. In some cases you are
told to work “tip to tip”. In this case, of coarse, you are being told
to close up or close an area before or after a stitch or stitch combo.
More about that at another time. Now we get to your situation.
If you knit so that you have two shaft together, you have doubled
the circumference of the main needle. Now, yarn being the way it is
and yarn handling being the way it is, It will now be possible for you
to double the size of the stitches, if you knit real loosely.
Or, and this is what YOU want; knit the yarn with just right amount of
tension to create a stitch that is an 11 and a half stitch size.
It’s like you used an “8.50” needle. Or an eleven and a half
needle. It takes a little practice but it can be done. You can even
place your right hand needle through, next to the taper of the left
needle so that they are shaft against - taper. This may work for you
also. You have to be a very balanced knitter, (tension wise) to pull
this technique off. But it is the only for you to get that 11 and a half
stitch that you want. Well, any way…
I hope I have given you something helpful.
It is a little easier when I show this concept in person. Sorry for
all the wordiness.

When I learned to knit, it was shaft to shaft. I didn’t know there was any other way! But what you say makes sense.

OK, It sounds like I was able to put the info across through the
written word. To truly learn the subtleties of handling needles and
yarn, you must first learn to slowly and deliberately consider each
stitch as you practice the basic knit stitch over and over.
The handling of each loop must be as the snow ultimately
falling from the bamboo leaf. Just take some time right now and
learn to knit, until the action of the needles can be felt in the
very bones of you arms. As I say to my students, “you are in
total control over the creation of your knitted piece.”
“There is no other creative discipline where you touch every
inch of your work.” You must learn to maintain perfect balance
in the stitch tension. And yet, at the same time, maintain
relaxation in your shoulders and arms.
Practice your yarn positioning in the tapers and points of
your needles. This is all new to you now, so practice and we will
talk again in the future.

If you’re knitting in the round, the important needle is the one in your right hand. It will determine the size of the stitch, and even if you have a different (smaller size) needle in your left hand, that smaller needle will not affect the size at all.

If you use a larger needle in your left hand, you will just make it difficult to knit without changing the size of your knitting.

But if you knit flat, you will be knitting two different sized rows. After enough wear, it should even out and get you the size you want, but for a while (possibly a long while), it will have the size for the smaller needle and just look like it was knitted unevenly.

Thanks, Lostarts. Sounds like I’m stuck with either 11 or 13. What would
you do if you really wanted 11 1/2? Just try to knit loosely with the 11s?

@kathyannknits What are you knitting? Forgive me if you said, but I don’t see the answer.

What will happen if you use the larger needles is you will have a looser knit. That may be fine if you’re knitting a scarf or a shawl. Some things may need a tighter fabric like a hat or maybe a sweater that’s meant for warmth. In some cases just going up or down a pattern size can make it all work out. Personal choice also comes into play. I prefer a softer looser fabric and I have a friend who likes it tighter.

So… the size of your needle will be determined by what you are making and your personal choice.

I guess someone should start making # 12 needles. Couldn’t hurt.::ok_hand:

Hi Jan in CA!

I’m Kathy in CA :slight_smile: Thanks for your reply.

I’m knitting a very simple poncho in the round. The pattern, if you want
to look at it, is called Rosa’s Caponcho. There are 836 projects from the
pattern in Ravelry!

I’m knitting it with yarn I haven’t used before - Plymouth Encore Tweed
Bulky. I’d like a looser fabric from this yarn for this project than I’m
getting with a size 11 needle, but not as loose as with a size 13
needle. This
is the problem
! Size 11 is too tight, size 13 is too loose!

Often a fabric will loosen up with wet blocking, which would solve the
problem. But the yarn I’m using is 75% Acrylic, 22% Wool, 3% Rayon, so I’m
afraid it might not block at all with so much acrylic in it. I guess I
should try soaking & blocking a swatch before I get any further along.
Because from what I’ve heard so far, there’s no way to use an 11 with a 13
to get a size 11 1/2 stitch!

That’s cute! I did an advanced search on the pattern and there were many different needle sizes and weights used. So I don’t think there is a simple answer since there are no size 12 needles. I have two suggestions… if you want to use this yarn choose the fabric that you can live with and adjust the size you are making. OR choose a different yarn to go with the needles. Not all bulky yarns are created equal.

Another thought, too… I don’t know how much you knit to determine that the fabric was too loose with 13 or too tight with 11. If it was only swatch size that may be misleading. Many times gauge changes after you’ve been knitting for awhile because you relax.

Thanks, Jan! I think you’re right – that after I’ve been knitting on this
for a while, I’ll get a looser stride going.

1 Like

Here’s my opinion!!!

I don’t think the gauge is all that important for this project. I recommend starting the project with the given # of stitches and size 11 needles and knit for about 5 inches. Then see how the fabric looks to YOU! With the size 13 needles do the same thing seperately!! Take a look at both fabrics and see which one you like better. One of them will be looser and the other tighter. Which one do YOU like?

Use the size needles of the fabric that you like best and start over at the beginning and, using that size, knit the whole project. If it’s not long enough, add more rows to the end. If it’s too long, then undo some of the rows.

HTH, knitcindy