New knitter getting ready to take on circs

I’m not sure if this is the right forum for this post but here goes…

I’ve been teaching myself to knit since December. So far a couple of scarfs, a hat and a tote bag have been done. I’ve decided to do this Side-way Ribs Cardigan from KnittingDaily’s free patterns (marked as Easy). This is done on circulars. I’ve only knit on straights so far, so the thought of being able to smoothly move the loops off of the plastic cable back onto the needle seems odd to me. Should I try a smaller project with the circs?

I’ve seen many posts on how people prefer circs over straight needles. But I just can’t imagine the stitches moving as easily as I’m going from one needle to the other.

I’ve also posted this on Ravelry, so you aren’t imagining things if you see this post over there as well :wink: Thanks for your input.


If you knit tight, they may not move easily from the cord to the needle. Tight sts pull the yarn over the needle, so when they move to the cord, the yarn relaxes and the sts get smaller. Also, they don’t move by themselves, you have to slide them along the needle to the ends similar to how you need to slide them with straights.

A cardigan won’t be knit in the round, but the circs hold the large number of sts much easier. It really is more comvfortable on your wrists and arms to have your work resting on your lap instead of having to hold the straight needles. You can practice a sample with some leftover yarn to see how it works; cast on about 30 sts and knit several inches.

I haven’t used straights in about 40 years, once I discovered circs. I’ve tried to use them lately, but they’re just too awkward.

I love working with circulars as well. For all kinds of knitting – not just when I have tons of stitches. It all depends on what YOU feel comfortable with.

Try it with some ‘junk’ yarn first and see how it goes.



I watched a few videos and based on some things said in the videos I am curious as far as what length I would expect to use most often? I believe the video I watched on KH suggested that 12" & 16" are the most common used lengths and just wanted to get some input from the forum users as well. I did go out and purchase a size 7 circ (16") to try a smaller project before I do my sweater. Unfortunately the size 13’s I bought to do my sweater are 36" and super awkward for me to use just doing some practice stitching. The cable gets in the way and is all curled up. I hadn’t realized that I should really pay attention to the length or that it would matter.

Thanks for your help! I will master the circular needles!

The quality of the cable varies between brands. Try putting the cable part in hot (not boiling) water for a minute or two. That usually helps relax it. For hats, I use a #16". For most sweaters, a 24". And 40" for blankets.

Like someone else mentioned, circulars are alot easier on your wrists & elbows.

I believe the video I watched on KH suggested that 12" & 16" are the most common used lengths and just wanted to get some input from the forum users as well.

16" is good for starting hats and for starting shoulder down sleeves. I don’t consider 12" a common length. I wonder if that is a reversal and you meant 21", that would be more like it. I think a 12" is rare.

You can get a lot of stitches on a circular needle, say, a 24" needle would hold a lot more than the 24 inches of stitches you might have for the back of a large sweater. Your 36" will work for your sweater, but you could get by with a shorter one.

I agree with Abby123, put that part of your needle between the ends in very hot water. Then pull it out so it is tight and hold it there until it cools. Repeat if needed. That should tame the coil and make it way easier to use.

Well no, 12 and 16" are [I]not[/I] the most commonly used lengths… maybe for hat knitting, but they’re just too short for a sweater or blanket. One that’s around 30" (29 or 32) is very versatile - it can be used for sweaters, most blankets except huge ones, and is long enough to Magic loop for sleeves, mittens and hats. 36" is fine too for a larger item like a sweater or blanket.

Cords tend to curl up and if you put it in the hot water that can straighten it out. Once you start knitting a larger item on it that will help keep it from curling so much.

Thanks everyone! I got some of my “junk” yarn out and started learning on my 7’s. Took me a couple of times to figure out that I needed to turn the piece around after I CO in order to complete the join but I did finally get it! :woot:

Now to find a simple hat pattern to use my newly purchased ball of Cascade 220 Superwash :wink:

So good to know that my 24" & 36" inch size 13’s won’t go to waste. I also have a 29" size 7. Now I know I can keep them knowing they will get use…eventually :happydance:

Trust me on this, none of the needles you ever buy will ever go to waste. I have quite the collection after 20 or so years and I can honestly say, the ONLY ones I haven’t replaced yet have been my DPNs because that’s a recent thing I’ve learned.

Circulars are great for knitting large projects because you can fit all of the stitches on them without the fear that they will constantly be falling off. They are great for back and forth knitting or in the round knitting. In fact, I learned on circs and had to re-teach myself how to knit with straight needles because I had to hold them differently. Circs keep your hands and wrists from getting so tired from holding the weight of your projects.