Needle Questions

Perhaps I’m jumping the gun here a bit, but being a brand new knitter, :XX: of course I’m fascinated with everything I happen not to be able to do at the moment… :slight_smile:

I won’t ask ALL my questions about them RIGHT right now :slight_smile: but I do have one or two…

  1. Is there anything that cannot be knitted on regular straights? If, for instance, I were to find the alternate types more complicated to use - could I knit anything I might want to knit anyway, whether I get the hang of them or no? If the answer to this is yes…how then does one knit, say, a large blanket then? I’m knitting a slightly wider than normal scarf and I’m having trouble with room on my needles…I feel like I’d never get 82 cast on stitches on a straight…

  2. I get the sense from my research that circulars somehow save some work on certain kinds of projects, as well as create more room to make larger ones. I have NO idea what DPN’s are useful for…they just look dangerous and weird right now. Do these needle types have a specific designated purpose? Or are they just a matter of preference?

  3. Are either hard to learn? It seems like once you know how to knit, these are just natural progressions, but they look hellacious!I can’t imagine ever understanding how to us these things…(DPNs/circs)? :??:

  4. And at what point do you recommend beginners try using them, if at all?

Thanks in advance…if this has been asked if someone could just point me in the right direction… :slight_smile: I searched but only came up with threads on EACH type of needle and use of them in a specific project or something…

You can do most projects with straights, and they come in a couple of lengths, so if you’re feeling squished, you could try looking for a longer straight. And your work will scrunch up on the needle so you’ll be surprised by how much you can get on there.

There are some projects that work best on circulars or dpns - bags, socks, hats, etc - if not for any other reason than not having to do so much seaming.

I use my circulars for most of my straight-needle projects now because I find them more portable and I love to KIP (knit in public). They also make it easier to work on larger projects like blankets because they tend to distribute the weight a little more evenly. I find circulars easier to work with than DPNs but…

Don’t be afraid of DPNs! I haven’t mastered them yet, but they’re really not that difficult once you get the hang of them. These are good for socks and other small diameter circular projects.

I’m not sure what the best answer is on when a beginner should start using these other needle types. I was a “beginner” for a long time, and then just finally sucked it up and dove into some more difficult projects. I feel like I’ve learned more in the last few months than I had in the last two years! Just realize that every new technique is going to feel a little weird at first, accept that it might take a few tries and some :frog: , but know you WILL get the hang of it!

FiberGirl is right–you can use straights for anything that is knit flat. DPN’s are used for circular knitting exclusively, and circs can be used for circular knitting --their main purpose considering the name–but can be used for flat work, too. They are especially popular when making things like blankets–you just knit with them back and forth as if they were straight–easier to do than explain.

Knitting with circs is probably easier than straights–no switching back and forth, no purling, just knitting–for stockinette. You can purl too, of course, but for stockinette, you don’t need to. They’re also nice for colorwork because you’re seeing your pattern the whole time. The best, best part of circs is that when you’re done you have a tube–no seaming!

DPNs are used mostly for small diameter knitting–you can’t really get a circular needle small enough to work the tops of socks, or mittens and such. However, there are techniques that you can learn to use long circs for small diameter knitting. I won’t burden you with that now. :wink:

The other girls have answered your questions about the needles and their uses, but I just wanted to chime in that it is a natural progression for a beginner knitter to start delving into projects that require circs or dpn’s. I would suggest working on straight needles until you’ve made a few different projects using different stitches and different skills. Once you feel REALLY comfortable on those (and a little bored doing the same thing over and over), you’ll naturally want to, and feel confident about, switching to the more challenging projects.

Wonderful responses…it makes much more sense now.

That makes me feel MUCH better…it looks like I can do a few things before I have to think about learning something SO new…