Circular needle sizes

Hello again,
Since I am about to embark on learning to knit with circulars, I need to know what length to use. My patterns tell me what size which is usually 8 but I see circulars in all different lengths, too. I have s 2 that are 26 in. but I may have some shorter if I need them and can find them.

Remember this is a hat, so that will give you an idea of the project size.


If you’re going to work magic loop, the longer the better. However…

For a hat to work in the round, you can’t beat a 16" circular. The stitches will crowd just slightly so it’s easy to move them around, and you won’t have extra cord to deal with. You can get theose in almost any needle size. I make a lot of worsted weight hats, and for me that’s a size 8 most of the time, but other people need other sizes to get the same gauge.

Thank you, that 16 sound s good to me. But what is meant by the magic loop?

The only problem with using 16" circular for a hat is you’ll need another method to finish the top as out decreases. That’s how I learned to use DPN. You could also use two circulars or do magic loop. Rather than fiddle around I just use magic loop for the whole thing.

If you go with magic loop length is kind of personal choice. They always need to be long enough to loop, but some people like them longer than others. For instance some people are happy with a 32" for hats. I much prefer a 40".

Whoa, I’m just beginning my first project with circulars so DPN are far in my future. I once got some lessons for a pro who showed me how to use them, but even watching her in person, it just looks so complicated. Isn’t there a circular with a very short cable? Would that work?

Well, I’ve got a cast on with my circulars so wish me luck. Got a good video to watch.
Thanks ~Pauline

BTW, here is the hat I’m trying.

Okay, I’ll try to explain simply. :hug:

The shortest cable you can really have with full length needles is about 16". When the cables get shorter you must make the needle shorter. There are a few out there, but they are different to knit with and many people don’t like them.

They still wouldn’t solve the problem of the top of a hat though. As you decrease and get fewer stitches it starts stretching the fabric and you either need to change methods or knit flat. If you want a hat with the smooth rounded top you will need to use another method to work the top.

Options if you don’t want to do that are to either decrease as far as you can and then stop and gather the stitches or just stop and gather the stitches without decreasing. This is actually one method some patterns use rather than decreasing. Knit as far as you want and we can help with the finish when you get there.

Does that help?

Thank you, and yes, that helps. Every little piece of advice helps!

Here is a screenshot of what I’ve done so far. Is it okay to have my stitches on the inside like that? Also, I get nervous every time I get to the marker. Exactly what is your procedure when you get there? I’ve been stitching in the tail and knitting on by. I get a feeling something is wrong and I feel like this is just a test so if it has to come out, I’m okay with that.

Also, I changed patterns to one using a bulky yarn, since I have big hands and always do better with a heavier yarn. It’s for a kid but I also have a small head! lol :mrgreen: I cast on 8 more stitches than the instructions said.

Thank you for helping me.

For the top of a hat that has decreases, I use two circulars–knit half the row with the one I’m using, pick up another one (often it’s a size bigger or smaller, whatever’s handy, because at that point it doesn’t matter a whole lot) and knit the other half with that. No matter what, the last few rounds are kind of fiddly.
Double points can be annoying at first, depending on your yarn. Aluminum double points are Not For Beginners. I still don’t like to use them. Bamboo has been much nicer for me. It’s possible, though you will get funny looks, to use one circular and one double point once the round is too short for the circ. It’s one of those things that would be way quicker to show than explain.
Of course, you can just use all top-down hat patterns :smiley: (No, that doesn’t work. You still have to start with a few stitches and work up unless you do the drawstring bit.)

Looks good. Are you knitting all the stitches instead of K1, P1 rib or am I just not seeing the purl sts?
Just slip the marker as if it were a slip stitch. You can weave in the tail as you go along or just leave it and weave it in at the end.
If you want to knit on the outside of the needles, you can just flip the hat and work along the outside. Some people prefer to work on the inside until they get to the crown shaping. There’s nothing wrong with working that way.

This hat nicely avoids the crown shaping and just ends with the 3-needle bind off across the top. Cute pattern.

Ooh, lots of good advice! Thanks. I will just keep going and see what happens. I am doing just the knits for now but I think I will start the purls and follow the pattern now. I was too “chicken” to try anything but knits at first. I had the typical beginner problem of too tight cast-on stitches to overcome. Now it has loosened up.
:hug: :stuck_out_tongue:

I think I better ask a question before I go on. I am starting the actual knitting rows, doing a P1 K3 and a K1 P3 on alternate rows. When I knit these rows, should it be coming out where the purls are on the purls and the knits are on the knits? The way it looks, it seems I will be [COLOR=“RoyalBlue”]knitting on the purls[/COLOR]. Is that ever done? I don’t see any other way to do it.


Thank you, and yes, that helps.

That’s right for the pattern. This pattern has a kind of broken rib. There’ll be a single column of knit sts and a column of purls alternating with a knit/purl column (garter stitch in the round). So that’s ok. Remember to start round 2 with purl 2 and end with k1p1 and you should be fine.

Thank you, this clears up a lot of my confusion! :sun:

This is about post # 12 in this thread. I must have done something wrong because this K1 P3 and P1 K3 didn’t come out right. It seems like you would never knit on a purl or purl on a knit and that’s what it was doing, no matter what I did.

So I finally changed to a K 2 P2 with the knits and purls matching up. Now I see that it is looking pretty good. :slight_smile: So I will continue this way and we’ll see.


I didn’t see the original post you refer to till now. Yes, that is done as a design feature which is probably what was intended. It’s certainly okay to do k2p2 though if you prefer.

Thanks, I don’t think I’m ready to get fancy with the circulars!

I am still working on my first hat, the one I talked about in this thread. Now I am at the end and I have to turn it inside out and bind off. Pattern says to use 3 needle bind off, but of course, that’s impossible for me to do. (don’t know how) So, my question is can I just bind off like I usually do? With the circulars I am using now?


Huh. Looks like it was done with decreases, but I read the pattern and it’s not… is that correct?

Anyway, binding off as normally won’t join the two sides. A 3 needle bind off joins both sides as you bind off. How about first you take a look at the directions in KH videos under bind off. Here’s another one. It’s actually not hard if you just go slow. If you don’t get it or really don’t want to try you can bind off normally, but you’ll have to sew the edges together afterward.