Circular needles vs straight needles pattern question

HI, pattern for a cardigan and it says to use circular needles, why not use straight needles? I assume not joining in the round so not sure why circular? also pattern says Co then begin neck ribbing start on WS rw work in 2X2 rib (flat) ending on RS rw Pattern stitches say 2x2 rib RS *k2 p2 to last 2 sts k2 WS p2 , *k2 p2 to end Does this mean I start with the WS rib ?

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That’s how I would read it–“start on WS.”

The circular needle is probably to make it easier to handle the large number of stitches. You can knit back and forth on them without having to hold up the whole weight of the piece, too. I notice most knitters use circulars almost exclusively unless we’re doing something really small.


If this is an adult cardigan, the circular needles may be recommended because of a large number of sts or maybe bulky weight yarn. Which pattern are you following?
Yes, start with the WS rib pattern. The pattern wants to keep a column of k2 at each edge on the RS and for whatever reason, wants you to start with a WS row.

Thanks for your answers. It is a childs cardigan CO 62 stitches , pattern is the brownstitch by Elizabeth smith

I should also add that I made a toddler cardigan and it said to use circular needles which I am new to, and I joined in the round, and guess what it turned into a cardigan! LOL

She has lovely patterns. Enjoy making the sweater.

@Becky_Morgan, we were on the same wavelength!

Is one of these your pattern?
I’m confused. :confused: How could you join to work in the round and produce a cardigan which is open in the front? Joining to work in the round produces a tube which in a sweater is a pullover. I really think you must have been knitting flat on circulars.[quote=“Lizzy121, post:5, topic:123623, full:true”]
I should also add that I made a toddler cardigan and it said to use circular needles which I am new to, and I joined in the round, and guess what it turned into a cardigan! LOL

I seldom use other than circular needles whether working flat or in the round for the reasons mentioned above. Also with interchangeable circs I can have a smaller tip for the left needle if I choose.

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Sorry I should have said it became a pullover! Obviously I am still confused! LOL

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Just to comment on circular vs straights. I do everything on circulars. There’s less chance of stitches slipping of the needles and it’s just easier to hold.

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Good to know, I am new at circular needles and just assumed you had to join them! I know better now!

Yes, to knit flat you just go to the end of the row then turn just like with straights. :slight_smile:

@grumpygramma just to confuse matters you can actually knit a cardigan in the round - you just add a ‘steek’ which is a column of stitches running the length of the garment which you then cut at the end and hem the sides!


Yes that is too complicated for me!

Looks like you’re making a top down. If you have a set of interchangeable needles, you may find that you would prefer a shorter length cable between the needles which is easily done and then swapped out later on when there are enough stitches to have a longer needle.

A circular longer than you need unless you are doing Magic Loop can seem wonky as not all cables behave themselves.

The method of cast on also determines which side you like for your right side. There are methods of cast on where you cast on in knit and in purl vs the long tail or cable cast on.

I didn’t think about steeking. Turns out the sweater was a pullover. Armholes are steeked also, aren’t they? I’ve never steeked. Steeks are on the list of too frightening to contemplate still. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: One day I’ll do steeks, I just haven’t seen anything needing them to motivate me yet.

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Circular needles just about replace the “desire” to use a straight set of needles (or even just one). When you use straight needles, you are ALWAYS AT RISK of losing one of them while you work on your project. Sorry. Dump the straights and start to gather the circular needles. On a specific project, ask a pro about the LENGTH of the circular needle is best and appropriate. Excess lengthh, honestly, never hurts, but too short CAN. You really can never make an adult sweater on a 12 inch long - you ALWAYS need long sizes. And it doesn’t hurt to have a set or two of end-of-needle rubber protectors.
Next part of your question - ALWAYS read all instructions, first - then simply work line-by-line (NOT more than one line of your directions! This can often be confusing for all knitters.). When you get a little experience on this part of directions, you will KNOW when there !right be either an error in the printed directions, OR you may be in a position of your project, to knit a different way “of your own” decision.
Happy, restful, and successful knitting!!


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Yep. Very good info. If you have trouble keeping your place there are multiple ways to do it. A pencil mark next to the line you are on works, but my favorite is highligher tape. Use it a lot for making my place and you can pick it up and move it line by line. I usually place above the row (on the previous row worked). Whatever you choose be consistent. You can get it lots of places like office supplies, Amazon, your yarn store… Lots of colors, too. Mine is hot pink. lol


I need some more of those protectors for the ends of my needles. Where can I find some online? (My LYS has recently gone out of business.)

I had 2 pair of the kind that look like blue rubber bullets. Since my WIP is using 2 40" circulars, I was using both pair. While I was knitting the other day, one of my cats took the pair from my coffee table and they are gone. I don’t know if he played with them until they went under a piece of furniture or if he ate them; they are nowhere to be found. I guess the good news is that in my search for them I found 3 toy mice, 4 collars, and 6 plastic balls with the bells inside.

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I didn’t like the repeated expense of purchasing the tape. I also don’t like marking all over my patterns unless it’s a correction or important note/tip. Instead I use a legal-sized metal clipboard and a strip of magnet (about 15" long). The clipboard is the type that opens up to store additional pattern pages. When I finish a row or round, I move the magnet up one line for charts or down one line for written-out patterns. Voilá! Inexpensive, simple, convenient, and reusable.


I always make a copy of the original if they are that kind of pattern. Most are from Ravelry so I print them anyway. As for repeated expense… um… it’s $3 for nearly appx 400 inches…so what 30 some odd yards? I use the same 6-8 inches for the whole pattern because it lasts. I’ve had this roll of tape for years. Personal choice though.