Question about needle size

I found this pattern for a ribbed hat that I’d like to make for my boyfriend. The pattern calls for size 8 needles (circulars and DPNs), but I’m very budget-conscious so I don’t want to run out and buy two sets of new needles. I already have size 7 DPNs, so I’m wondering if it will affect the pattern too much if I use those instead of 8s. I’m thinking I should buy circulars anyway because 100 stitches will be difficult, if not impossible, for me to work with on my small DPNs. I would hate to buy size 7 circulars though because I already have a set of size 7 straight needles so I figured I should get a size I don’t already own. So if I buy size 8 circulars, would it mess up the hat if I finish it off on size 7s? Or should I just suck it up and buy the size 7 circulars?

[SIZE=“1”]P.S. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m kind of a spaz about these insignificant details… and it drives me crazy![/SIZE]

Go ahead and buy the circs, I suggest you get longer than 16" though and use them to magic loop with. That way you can use them for something besides hats, and you can also finish up the top of this hat without switching back to the dpns. You can also just finish the hat with the smaller dpns, it won’t matter too much for just a few rows.

I’ve made hats with sizes 6,7, and 8 using about that number of cast on stitches for each one. There’s not a lot of difference between a 7 and an 8. This is a hat that stretches, so it’s more forgiving than a fitted sweater.

I used to live on the Mason-Dixon Line near York/Baltimore. It gets a bit nippy out your way. I’d suggest you knit this in 100% wool. I wore acrylics last year while waiting for a bus and froze. Wool is warmer and stays warm even when wet from snow. Merino wool that the pattern calls for can get a bit pricey. One alternative I could suggest is either Cascade 220 100% Peruvian Highland wool or it’s close cousin, Knitpicks Wool of the Andes. My LYS charges around $8 a skein for Cascade while I got Wool of the Andes for about $2 a piece in a sampler pack, even including shipping. Wool of the Andes was a new one for me, but I like it. Read labels carefully. Some yarns claim to be wool but are really blended with acrylics. Not as warm or durable.

BTW, thanks for the pattern link. This is a nice hat that I think even my picky adult sons would wear.

Thanks! I already have a skein of Patons classic wool that my boyfriend bought me-- to make stuff for him of course. :slight_smile:

Yeah, that pattern’s gotten some great comments on Ravelry. My boyfriend’s a very basic type of guy who wouldn’t normally wear knitted items, so this is perfect for him. Hope your sons like them if you end up making these hats for them!

I learned to knit in May 2011 (yes, this year). I learned Magic Loop last month. I only wish I had learned Magic Loop sooner!

Now I’m irritated at myself for having purchased so many extra circulars that I won’t be using…because all I’ll really need are each size (prob. #1 through #10.5) in a 47" or 60" length. Period. I have tons of DPNs due to yard-sale acquisitions, and I will use them for gloves and other small apertures simply because of the hassle factor involved with so much extra cable for a tiny tube but, strictly speaking, they’re not necessary, either.

Just get the #7 in a 47" or 60" length and the Magic Loop booklet by Hauschkas (I’ll come back later and edit the spelling of her last name if it’s incorrect). There are also videos, no doubt, but I figured it out just from the booklet.


The extra circs aren’t really a waste though. You might want to try knitting with 2 of them some time, or want to start a new project with the same size that’s already being used for something else. I find that with needles 36" or longer knitting narrow things flat are too cumbersome, the cord gets in the way - 24 or 29" are great ones for that. Or use can use them for stitch holders. I have about 3 or 4 needles in some of my sizes and sometimes can’t find an empty one when I want to try out a new pattern…

Yeah, I guess there’s really no point in buying straight needles since you can basically do anything on a circular. I just think straight needles look so much cooler (lame, I know!) so it’s hard to resist the temptation to buy them. And they’re at least half the price of circulars so sometimes I just buy those if the project I want to work on is knit flat. I also can’t stand the cable in the circs. Maybe it’s just the set I have (I got a set of Boye needles at Michael’s), but the cable is stiff and plasticky and I feel like it kept getting in the way and it was extremely annoying. But it’s also extremely annoying when I have a set of straights 7s and I come across a project I really want to try that uses a circular 7! So either way, I can’t win! :teehee: I think I’ll just go ahead and buy a 29" circular in a size 8. I watched the magic loop video on this site, and it seems pretty easy to do… I hope!

Not all cables are created equal. There are “taming” tricks to straighten out those stiff ones, but they aren’t permanent and the often don’t work that well. I bought ONE circ when I started…I think it was bamboo and shortly after that I bought my Knitpicks needles and never looked back. Life is too short to use crappy needles. Knitting is supposed to be relaxing and fun and fighting with a cable is not fun OR relaxing.

As for the cool factor of straights… you can’t use them on everything as you can circs and they are way more awkward to keep and find what you need than circs. They are awkward to travel with, too. No contest to me. :teehee:

I wish someone would get me those knitpicks needles for my birthday next week! :pout:

ETA: Thanks a lot, Jan, now I’m sitting here staring at these with a look of longing in my eyes. :drool:


I run the cables through the steam jet from a whistling kettle (very hot so be careful, and just ignore the whistle). Boye’s are particularly wild but there are others that have cables with less memory for the coiled shape.

I have Hiya Hiya circs and Chiao Goo Lace circs, and I got very lucky at a store-closing sale and purchased a couple of Addi Lace circs. Gotta say, though, that the Hiya Hiya and Chiao Goo Lace have slightly sharper points, and the cable joins in all three brands are smooth, with flexible, cooperative cables.

I’ve had too many cr*ppy experiences in the crochet world with Boye hooks that couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag to buy anything else, EVER AGAIN, from that company. :evil: I’m sorry you were sucked in.


My work here is done… We’re nothing if not enablers. Start saving!

I use these and love them, but I’ve heard good things about Hiya Hiya, the ones from Webs ( and another one my friend told me she loves that are wood…can’t remember the name offhand, but they were more expensive anyway.

Lol. I’ve decided that I’m going to get them as a birthday present to myself! I’ve been saving up for a trip we’re taking for New Year’s and if I have any money left afterwards (which I WILL!) I’ll go ahead and buy myself the set… but I don’t think I have the willpower to wait… I think my savings might just have to be dipped into a tad early… :oo:

And then I’ll be sooo happy! :blooby:

:yay: Good for you! Occasionally a join will come undone or the screw part doesn’t work, but KP has the best customer service around. They will replace the part with no questions asked. So when you get them test them all on the cables and you can let them know right away if you need a replacement.

Word to the wise, too… get extra cables! I have bunches of them now so I can do multiple projects.

Thanks for the tip! It doesn’t look like they sell cables shorter than 24", which is kind of a bummer because there’s a Harry Potter scarf that I want to attempt at some point that’s done on a 16" circular. I wonder if it would work on a 24" anyway without having to do magic loop.

The length of the needle tips won’t work for a 16in size, BUT you can buy those separately. I bought a few, but found I prefer ML now so I don’t have to switch at the decreases to another method. You won’t be able to get the stitches around a 24" like the 16". Unless you’re making an excessively large hat…like for Hagrid. :teehee:

You can use the 24" for a modified magic loop, but personally I prefer to use at least 32" and or 40". I just like more loop in my magic loop, but I use the other method if I need to. :teehee:

Another thing I recommend is to get a piece of that grippy shelf liner. You can get it a stores like Big Lots. It really helps to tighten the needle on the cable. They give you a “key”, but I think it helps to use something to hold onto the needle with. I’ve never had a needle come unscrewed when I’ve used it.

Laura, I recognize a budding fellow yarnie in you! To start with, it looks like knitting is going to be a passion for awhile with you. That’s not a bad thing, but… like me finances are a consideration for you.

Consider an investment in interchangeable needles. If finances are really tight now, try the Knit Picks “Try It” set for $20, with a 6 harmony wood, a 7 nickel plate, and an 8 Zephyr plastic. At a minimum you’ll find gauge on the hat you want to make, and which needles you like so you can invest in a set of whichever you prefer. The cables are ultra flexible, BTW.

Just my 2 cents in a recession economy…

I knit a Harry Potter scarf for my niece and I believe it was on 24" circs. I knit it in the round as a long tube so that it wouldn’t curl, so it would only have a knit side and so that the switch between colors would be continuous. It also made it extra warm. To finish, I flattened the tube and put fringe at both ends.

Thanks, Charlotte! The “try it” set does sound like a great idea. Then I could just slowly add to it as I go along.

salmonmac, what size yarn and needles did you use for the scarf? I wanted to knit it in a tube as well, so it’s good to know that a 24" cable would work too. I could also always knit it flat and do it in a 1x1 rib or something. That might be cool.