How to convert circ. pattern to straight needle pattern?

I’ve recently begun learning to knit and have SCORED lots of straights and DPNs in two lots: one from Craigslist and one from a gigantic yard sale.

That’s the kind of budget I have.

I’ve also SCORED yarn from a sigh store-closing sale, a “yard sale of yarn” sponsored by a shop (knitters brought in and priced their own yarn at yard-sale prices), and a yarn-department-closing sale in a fabric store. The closest LYS is also closing out slow-moving colors, and I got some 50% price yarn. This is all good stuff, and it was the last of the $$.

Now I have supplies–yarn, needles, stitch markers, gauge, etc.–and patterns (library books are terrific sources!), and want to start making something besides practice swatches.

But all the patterns these days call for circular needles, with maybe DPNs thrown in. In all of my SCORES, there were only 5 circular needles, so it’s highly unlikely that I’ll have the correct size & length a pattern requires.

How can I look at a circular needle pattern and tell 1) whether it’s suitable to be worked on straights and 2) how to do that work? After all, our ancestors worked on straight needles for millennia and created amazing art; can’t I at least try a shawl? a hat? an over-tunic?

What steps are needed to change a circular-needle pattern to a straight-needle pattern? How can a knitter tell whether a given pattern is suitable for this conversion?

[B]Possibly helpful info:[/B] I used to teach math, so math isn’t a barrier. I’m used to computing patterns and repeats from the crochet world. I like to know the theory of how something works as well as the mechanics, if there is an underlying theory.

My thanks in advance to anyone who can answer any pieces of this puzzle. :slight_smile:


Actually our ‘ancestors’ in knitting worked in the round on humongous dpns; regular straight needles have only been around since the 19th century. You can use 8 or 10 dpns if you have that many in the same size and the sts will all fit on them.

Even if the circs you have ‘aren’t the right length’ there’s ways of dealing with that. Magic or single loop for hats or gloves or sleeves to make a small diameter piece on longer needles; if they need longer needles you may have 2 the same size that you can use. But most patterns can be changed easily, some, like cardigans, can be knit as is, the circ is just to hold a large number of sts, but if you have 2 sets of straight needles the same size, you can just trail them across the row.

You may or may not want to add an extra st to each edge that you sew up to account for the seam. For a bottom up sweater, just divide the CO sts in 2. It gets a little trickier to change a top down raglan into flat pieces but it can be done.

There’s hundreds of nice patterns as and most of them are done in pieces and sewn. Lion brand also has a lot of flat knit ones, more than are done in the round. Check the other yarn websites too, they don’t seemed to have jumped into circulars. And has many nice straight needle patterns too.

I actually prefer to work with circular needles…you can knit all the rounds. Not a huge fan of purling, but the more projects I do the more I get used to it. Some patterns can easily be converted from circular to straight knit, especially if it’s just knits and purls.
basically to do the conversion:
for circular needles knitted in the round, if the pattern is
row 1 knit
row 2 knit
row 3 knit
row 4 knit

on straight needles you would exchange every OTHER row from knit to purl ( a purl is just the back side of a knit)
row 1 knit (RS)
row 2 purl
row 3 knit
row 4 purl.

another example:
circular needle pattern
row 1 k p k p
row 2 k p k p
row 3 k p k p
row 3 k p k p

row 1 k p k p (RS)
row 2 p k p k
row 3 k p k p
row 4 p k p k

You just have to add a stitch at the beginning and end of the work to accommodate the seams. I prefer circulars and magic loop. I’m lazy and don’t like to seam if I can help it. I love toe up socks and top down sweaters. Plus, I think things knitted seamlessly look more professional and store bought. There’s something about a seamed hat that screams, Homemade and cheap. But that’s just me.

How do I change this pattern from circular to straight needles :
Row 1 knit
Row 2 purl
Row 3 K1 P2
Row 4 purl ??? Eeeek I don’t seem to be able to work it out?

Change the purls to knits, it looks like it wants garter stitch which in the round would be knit a row, purl a row. Knitted flat you just knit each row to produce garter stitch, row 3 would stay the same.

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Tks Evie