Different Size Circular Needles?


I would like to knit a hat. The pattern calls for a #7 16" circular needle. However, the store only has #7 29" needles. Will this be a problem? What do different size circular needles do?


A hat is generally about 20-22" around, so you can see there might be a problem if you use a needle several inches longer. However, there is a method called Magic loop or a variation of that - Modified Magic Loop - where you can use a longer needle than the item you knit. I make hats with a 24" using the modified ML, so you should be able to use a 29". That’s a good versatile size for most things btw, you can make throws, baby blankets, shawls and adult sweaters with it.

I am knitting a mitten. The pattern asks me knit circular. I tried using straight needles to knit but the ends were tsretching out. I bought a circular needle 24’’. Is this too long because I am finding it is hard to move the piece along. Is there any way I could also buy a circular needle with shorter ends (the stick parts). Thanks!

Most circulars have about the same needle length on them. There are very short ones, like 9" long, but many people find them very hard to knit with. Usually you knit with dpns or 2 circulars, or use a longer one to knit using Magic loop. You can find how to do that on the Advanced Techniques page. You can also use the 24" in a variation of Magic Loop - Modified Magic Loop which should work okay for you.

Okay, so I have decided the best way to knit the mitten in the round might be to take your advice and buy two circular needles. What did you mean by “magic loop”? Is that the plastic circular loom?

No, magic loop is a method, not a tool. Look on the Advanced techniques page under small diameter knitting for a video that shows how to do it. Or the other link for a one loop version of it.

I found a video of the technique on youtube. Looks simple enough, thank you. :cheering:

If you decide to try Magic Loop be sure you have a needle with a nice flexible cable. Some folks say they wouldn’t do ML on anything shorter than a 40" circular, but you don’t have to have one that long. As Suzeeq said 29" might even work. I’ve successfully used a 32 incher so I know that will work, just be sure it is flexible.

cloud9 Thanks for your help! I have successfully completed one mitten with your help about circular needles. The second shouldn’t take long having gone through the pattern once already. I have only been knitting since last fall and pleasantly surprised at what can be done when you dive into “advanced” level (according to the pattern) knitting! I am on cloud 9. The mitten is from Vogue Knitting Fall 2008. It’s a very cute design whoever designed it. Mittens make the perfect gift aside from socks and hats because they don’t take long to make.:heart:

Heh, once you know how to knit, purl, inc and dec you can do any knitting pattern regardless of `level’. That’s the basics and all patterns just use some combination of them.