Knitting on circular needles

I am very new at knitting and I’m trying to follow a pattern that’s asking for me to knit on a 16" circular needle. I am using the boye interchangeables, but no combination of needle and tip works to be 16". The smallest cable is a 12" cable. When I went and put the tips on, it ends up being 19 1/4 inches, as each tip is about 4". What do I do???

That is the biggest downfall of the interchangeable sets, in my opinion. You just can’t get a circular small enough to comfortably knit hats and other things of that size. You may need to buy a 16" needle, which I know is very frustrating since you’ve spent all the money on the Boye set.

you mean buying just one circular needle (not part of a set) that is 16" from tip to tip?

You can also try the magic loop technique if you don’t want to buy new needles. Or sometimes even though a pattern calls for a 16" you can still use a larger circular if the stitches can spread out.

hmmm. not sure about the magic loop. I know that the cable I have says 16", but it’s obviously longer with the needles on it. So, it doesn’t matter the length of the cable itself, but the length as a whole? It seems rather confusing…

I don’t want to have to buy a circular needle, especially since this pattern calls for me to switch to larger needles after the ribbed waistband… then I’d have to buy two… :frowning:

Yep, just use a longer cable and use the Magic Loop technique. Works like a charm.

does anyone have a link on where I could learn more about the magic loop? Is it difficult for a super-newbie?

Magic loop is on a video in the Advanced Techniques section for small diameter knitting. You would use at least at 30" needle and yes, needle lengths are measured tip to tip. I do a variation that’s kind of a half Magic Loop; I only pull out the cable on one side. You’ll understand maybe after you see how to do the regular ML. The advantage is that you can use a shorter needle and you don’t have to adjust your stitches quite so much. I use 24" ones for hats and they work out okay.

That’s exactly how I finished the top of the hat I just did. Worked great.

What the “halfaloop” technique? Maybe I should trademark that name… <g>

Yep, went there and looked right over it the first time. Thanks!

A lot of links can be easily overlooked, so if you don’t find something, do feel free to ask.

Here’s another solution…

You could just buy a set of double-pointed needles. They come with 5 needles these days. Cast your stitches on using 4 of the 5 and you should be good to go.


PS - And later, you can use these same double-pointed needles to make… a pair of socks! Leg-warmers!

I have the boye set & it works just fine, but I also have double pointed needles for like the top of hats or any really small work.

so what would you use from the set if your pattern called for a 16" cable?

What about using two circs? Tutorial on this site in “Advanced Techniques”: small diameter knitting using two circular needles.

It looks relatively easy. 2 questions though… how do I do that when I only have one set of the tips, and wouldn’t I need 4 of the same size in order to use that method? Also how would I know that the diameter is accurate if I’m not using the correct size cable? I’m making a pair of knit shorts/pants so I obviously need them to be a bit wider than what the video shows.

Sorry if I’m a bit slow on the uptake, but I don’t want to get discouraged by starting my first knitting project incorrectly from the get-go!!

Nope, because you only knit with one end of the circ. The right needle determines the gauge, the left is just a `stitch holder’. So put the correct tips the same size on one end of each cords and smaller tips on the other end of them. Just make sure you knit with the same size all the time.