Circular needles summary

I’m sorry if this comes up now and again and all you experienced knitters have to repeat the litany! (If there is a thread which lays it all out just point me to it).
I’ve never used circulars. I want to order a supply. I’m always confused by length, though. I see on some forums that members are directed to various out-of-the-way suppliers if they want a very small or very big size.
What sizes to they come in?
What would you use for little tubes like socks?
What would you use for flat knitting?
A summary of what is available and what is used for what would be MOST welcome.

I’ll try to help…I’m a pretty new knitter myself, but I’ll answer what I can. :slight_smile:

“What sizes to they come in?“
Do you mean size or length?
If you mean needle size, circulars come in all sizes from 0 up.
If you mean length, I beleive they come in 16”, 24”, 32" and 40".
I’m probably missing a few, but those are the lengths that seem to be the most popular.

"What would you use for little tubes like socks?"
For teeny things, you would use eiter Double Pointed Needles (DPN’s), two circulars, or what I use, Magic Loop.

"What would you use for flat knitting?"
It really depends on what you’re knitting and how big it is.

I recently made a baby blanket, and I knit it flat on a 24" circular.
I could have used straight needles, but I found the circulars so much easier on my arms.
You don’t have to hold up as much weight. With circs, it all just rests in your lap.

But if you’re knitting something really large, like an afghan, you could use a longer curcular, like a 40"
If knitting something smaller, like a baby sweater, you can use a shorter circular, like a 16".

I recently ordered a set of Knit Picks Options Interchangable Needles, with the input of the wonderful members here.
You can google them to see exactly what they are but basically, it’s a set of circular, interchangable needles.
You get the tips from size 5 to size 13 (I think?), and you get 4 different length cables that connect to the tips.

It’s much less expensive than buying each size and length seperately, you know?

I hope I answered your questions. :slight_smile:

Good luck!

I basically use my circs for everything. I have the Knit Picks Options and almost a full set of their beautiful Harmonies. This is way cheaper than having to buy fixed circulars in all the sizes and lengths. You can knit flat (back and forth) on circs, but you can’t knit Magic Loop (small diameter in the round) or in the round at all on straight needles.

I agree
A set of Options will serve U VERY WELL
as the knitting addiction sets in, they might need to be added to,
but that is later, MUCH later


Hi! :waving:

As always, I’ve got to put my 2-cents in for Knit Picks Options interchangeables!

They are WONDERFUL!!! Absolutely the best needles I’ve ever used!

The cable lengths go up to 60" and the set has probably every size needle you’ll ever need, starting at US #4. I bought the Options fixed circulars in needle sizes #1-#3 for socks. And they’re heavenly to work with.

The set has a couple of different sized cords to screw into the needles and you can purchase longer cords separately. Definitely a cost effective way to fill out your needle supply.

And you can knit flat, back and forth, on circs as well, as has been mentioned.

Have fun with your shopping and then just cruise along with your knitting!

Ruthie :knitting:

I have a question about the Magic Loop you mentioned. I have seen the videos on how to do it, but where in the world do you buy it? Is it an actual product called Magic Loop? Or is it a term used for any circular needle that can be used in that manner?

I’m tired of being confused about this!

Knitterific- magic loop is a technique, not a product. You can do magic loop on any circular needle with a fairly long and very soft cable. Knitpicks’ circular needles (interchangeables and fixed) are great for this because the cables come in very long lengths and they are very soft. :slight_smile:

Hi, Missy! :waving:

Magic Loop is a [I]method[/I], not a particular product you can buy. Once you learn the method you can use whatever circular needle you want to do magic loop knitting. As long as you have a long enough cable on the circulars to fit your project, you’re good to go!

There are so many new products and methods nowadays that it can be very difficult to sort them out, especially when they deal with a new technique you want to learn but haven’t yet explored. Whoa, been there, done that and got the T-shirt! :roflhard:

I can tell you that it’s a handy method to have in your knitting repertoire, though.

If you have any questions while you’re tackling it, please write and let us know. There are so many knitters here who are far more knowledgeable about it than I am that you’re bound to find answers!

Happy knitting,

Ruthie :slight_smile:

Circ have 2 sizes for every needle
diameter (US size 8 or 5mm) and lenght. (from about 16 inches to about 40 is the MOST common range…

I’m told its possible to knit socks on 16 (or perhaps 12 inch long circ --but I PERSONALLY hate short tips.

So i go the opposite way… I knit socks on long circ (24 inch to 32 inch) using 2 circs.

I have a few 40 inch (1 meter) long circ’s and they can be used for Magic loop sock knitting.

If you like short DPN’s (i hate them!) and don’t mind short tips on circ’s I suspect you could knit socks on short circ’s.

I use both straight and circ’s for flat knitting…

but Circ’s are better (to invest in!) since they can be used for both, and straights have some limitations.

IF i were starting out today, I WOULD BUY A NICE (smooth cord!) set.

I learned to knit on circ’s that had piano wire for the cables… and after that, the slightly stiff, slightly kinky Boyes are a dream…

But today there are better choices…

Its cheaper to buy a set (i actually own 2 sets of Boyes interchangable, Plus every size (from 00 to 15!)–most sizes 2 or more) non interchangle! (or at least 4 needles in every size from 2 to 15!

new needles are more compatable.
it used to be size 8 was what ever the needle manufactor said it was…
Today, size 8 (US) =5mm… some needles are slighttly off, (4.97 or 5.03) but they are pretty close.

OLD needles? a size 8 might be 5mm, or 4.75, or 5.32…there is a lot of variation in what is a size 8!

I’m not sure how helpful this will be, since it is an old thread, but it has some good comparisons between some of the popular needle sets: NEW! Interchangeable Needle Sets- Poll and comments!

I thought when I was looking about a year ago that there was a long thread that discussed all of the then-current sets, but apparently I looked at A LOT of threads before settling on the KP Harmony Options. :slight_smile:

I really like this knitpicks article about circular needles. It goes over the basics of using circular needles and describes techniques like magic loop.
I like to use circular needles for pretty much everything I knit. I think they’re easier on my wrists. I knit a lot of scarves. I use 24 inch circular needles for them. Good luck.

I appear to be in the minority here- I have both the Denise set and Knitpicks and far prefer the Denise. I like the size flexibility of the Denise cables.

I think of myself as a relatively new knitter. I was intimidated by circulars at first but now I use them almost exclusively whether I’m knitting in the round or not.

Thanks to you all,
Just one thing more: Is the length of circulars as advertised the total length of cable and two needles, or just the cable? there’s a big difference!

It’s the total of the needles and the cables.