Straight vs. circular needles

I have a sweater pattern that needs size 8 needles and all I have are the short ones. But I have to start with 110 and there is NO WAY I can make that fit on these short needles (50 is pushing it for me). Can I use my size 8 circular needle instead? You know the kind with the big loop connecting them. And also, is it normal to not be able to knit more than about 50 stitches on the short 10 inch long needles or am I doing something wrong? Thanks!

No. There’s nothing wrong with only getting that many stitches on the needle and there is nothing wrong with using a circular instead of a straight.

I personally don’t use straight needles for anything anymore. I only use circulars. Circulars can be used just like straights, only instead of joining and working in the round, you just switch hands with the needles.

thanks trvvn5! I’m itching to start this sweater and the closest craft store is 30 minutes out of my way. I’ve been crocheting for so long I own a hook or two in each size so I forgot that everytime you buy yarn for a new project you’d better check to be sure you have the right hook/needles too or I would have bought the longer needles when I picked up the yarn.

Is there any point in having all 4 types of needles in each size? I see short & long straight needles and short & long circular needles. And then there are those double-pointed ones too…Way too expensive to buy them all, but I keep finding new projects that need a size/style I don’t have.

I never use straight needles anymore either except for the occasional DPN or when making an i-cord. I much prefer circs!

And one more newbie question…

My circular needle doesn’t have the size on it anywhere, I’ve just been careful to keep it in the baggie it came in with a piece of paper stating the size. I have a VERY curious 3 year old though and I don’t know how long that will last. How do you store them so they don’t get mixed up? Is the a “secret” place on the needle that says the size that I don’t see?

You need a needle gauge. I use mine all the time. There are many different ones, but they all work the same. This is the one I have. I think I got it at Joanns or Michaels, but any store that has yarn and accessories will probably have it.

I only use straight needles for large projects like blankets, throws, etc. I use Circular and DPNs for everything else.

However, and I only mention this because I just got a new set of needles in (Quicksilvers) be very sure that the joins between the cable and needles is smooth. The #3’s I just got catch the yarn and it’s setting my teeth on edge. Two more rows and I can change needles.

Ahhh, I’ve seen those at my JoAnns, just never needed one for my crochet projects. That looks like a MUST for me. Nifty little thing I’m sure. Thanks bunches!!

I think that your decision to buy them or not is just a matter of personal preference. I have a bunch of size 32" circulars and thats all that I tend to bother with. Well, expect for the 16" circulars that I buy for when I want to do hats. Most of the time if you buy a long enough circular and you want to do a smaller diameter project, you can just do magic loop and can forego the straights.

Honestly I don’t even know the last time i actually picked up a pair of straight needles. They’re just not necessary.

This is why I invested in a set of interchangeable circular needles. That way I have multiple size needles and multiple cables as well. The only thing I’ve had to add is smaller fixed cable needles to make socks. The interchangeables don’t come smaller than a size 4. You might want to consider looking into a set.

I’m looking it up now, but what is a magic loop?? Must not have needed to do that in any project yet (only made 3 things though so still VERY new)

Never mind, just found the video. I was doing this anyway, just didn’t know it had a name…

Once you go circular you’ll never go back :o) I almost exclusively use circs because:

  1. they don’t bother others around you, especially good on a plane or in any situation where you are sitting very close to someone
  2. I can twist one into the center of the loop, thereby avoiding dropping stitches
  3. I never lose a needle :o)

Absolutely you can use a circular needle to knit flat. I don’t use straights at all anymore, even a 10" is too awkward to handle.