Sweaters and Needles


I have a little problem. Wanting to expand my knitting experience, I was planning on knitting a sweater. However, every pattern I have seen calls for several varying sizes and lengths of circular needles.
So here are my questions:
Is it true that sweaters can only be knit in the round?

When knitting in the round, is it possible to switch stitches? I had been under the impression that the stockinette stitch was all the circular needles produced, and I had been hoping to use the Fisherman’s Rib for the sweater.
Do I really need 5 different circular needles to knit a sweater, or can it be done with fewer (preferably only one)?

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Do you have links to any of the patterns you are considering?

Sweaters can be knit flat and in the round. You can use circular needles to knit flat as well, just knit back and forth with them and don’t join in the round.
You can do any stitches in the round that you can do flat, there just might be some modification of the flat pattern. If you would purl on the WS you would knit the in the round, since there is no wrong side, and visa versa.
The different size needles you’re seeing might be to get a different gauge for ribbing sections.
A pattern link would be helpful

Sweaters can be knit in the round or flat.

This is the stitch pattern I found for Fisherman’s Rib:

Round 1: Knit 1, Purl 1; repeat around.
Round 2: Knit 1 into stitch below, Purl 1; repeat around.
Round 3: Knit 1, Purl 1 into stitch below; repeat around.

Repeat rounds 2 & 3 to desired length, bind off.

So, begin with Round 1, you need to convert Round 2 to a right side row which would be “purl 1 stitch into stitch below, Knit 1; repeat around.” Round 3 would be as written, and then you would repeat your converted Round 2 and Round 3 as written to desired length.

Yes, they can be knit flat, in the round, or in pieces seamed. You can use circular needles for all of them. The different sizes come into play for things like ribbing.

What patterns are you looking at? I rarely see more than two needle sizes.

Circular needles are very nice for knitting all kinds of stitch patterns and for knitting flat, if you’d like. Many of us use exclusively circular needles.
Here’s a video for fisherman’s rib in the round for example.

Jan in CA, claireweber, and Lizars1735: No, sorry I do not have a link to a pattern. Most of my pattern sources are library books.

Thank you all so very much for your help. salmonmac; that video was extremely helpful! (I find that I really have trouble visualizing the knitting instructions before I’ve seen them.) All of your feedback has been great. I am interested now in seeing what can be done with circular needles.

Off the top of your head, do you know of any patterns for sweaters that are extremely simplified? (I am not new to knitting, but new to doing more than scarves or hats) After being confused by several book patterns, I was planning on trying to knit without one. But the results would most likely be disastrous. :slight_smile:

Thank you again!

There are several pagesof simple sweater patterns available on Ravelry (free to join). You can search for a particular kind of pattern if you’d like.
There are also things called pattern generators that can be used to make up your own pattern. They’re probably easier to use if you have some experience with knitting sweaters but you might take a look at them and see if they appeal.

Thank you so much!

the sweater/coat I am working on is knit on circs but is not in the round, circs do not always mean in the round.

Some “sizes” for needles might be for different lengths but you can use a long circ for magic loop or 2 needles to do small diameter knitting. Magic loop knitting and more.