When did circular needles come on the market?

My MIL, who is 66yrs old, was sitting there watching me knit last night and she was intrigued by the circular needle I was using. She said “They never had those strange needles when I learned to knit.” :roflhard: In my mind I was thinking that they probably did exist, she just didn’t have any, but then I thought that maybe they are more of a recent thing.

Does anyone know?


Hmmm, I’m not sure but I do think they are more recent invention… and I say this because most of the older knitters I know never use them.

very interesting question…

a little OT now, but isn’t it amazing how many things there are to learn (ok, some just useless minutiae) via the internet now tha it so pervasive? Wanna know when circs were introduced? Why the sky is blue? My most recent one was finding a chart that listed the mm to US needle conversion (which by the way, might be a useful thing to have here since we have so many europeans on the board).

Gotta :heart: the internet!

This isn’t exactly what you were looking for, but interesting none the less. According to knitknitting.com:
Knitting, as we know it, is not very old. Records indicate that the first sweaters were knit less than two centuries ago - in the 17th century. Before that time smaller pieces and undergarments were knit. The earliest, historical, example of true knitting is a pair of patterned cotton socks found in Egypt, dating back to A.D. 1100 - a mere 9 centuries ago. There may be knitted pieces found in India which were worked prior to that. Weaving and other textile arts date back to prehistory, so knitting is the textile infant.

        Currently it is believed that knitting was first invented by Arabian nomads who carried the craft into Egypt.  From there the craft was carried through North Africa and into Spain where it was picked up by traveling members of the Catholic church and spread rapidly throughout Europe.  

        Regardless of the origins of knitting, when it did catch on in Europe, it was quickly established as a true craft.  During Medieval times professional guilds controlled the market, knitted garments came in fashion for the wealthy upper class, and knitting cottage industries sprang up throughout the country.  Silk gloves and stockings were highly prized and intricate techniques perfected. 

        Different types of knitting have origins in diverse areas of Europe.  Fair Isle knitting, a technique which uses two colors stranded into intricate patterns, originated on a group of islands north of Britain.  The earliest museum examples of this technique are thought to have been knitted around 1850.  This technique became popular when the Prince of Wales sported a Fair Isle sweater at a public event in 1921.  Other legends attribute Fair Isle knitting to the year 1588 when a Spanish ship was wrecked off Fair Isle and the crew inspired the knitting natives to new forms of patterning colors. 

        Knitters in France created fashionable items prior to 1429.  Many popular lace patterns in use today still have French names.  Germany also has a long history of knitting.  Much German knitting is worked on four or five needles in the round and stockings were quite popular there.  This long-established craft is forever documented in the picture of the knitting Madonna, The Visit of the Angels, painted around 1390 by Master Bertram of Munich. 

        Fisher communities off the British coast are responsible for styles of Guernseys from the end of the eighteenth century onwards.  These garments, often intricately patterned with textured stitches, were knit in the round and so tight they were water and wind proof.  The designs were sometimes knit as a family "signature" piece so lost seamen could be identified from shipwreched remains. 

        As with other aspects of life, the industrial revolution took over the craft of knitting through the invention of the knitting machine.  To compete with the speed of the new knitting frames many of the cottage industries started working piecemeal and garments began to be knit in flat pieces which were sewn together.  Even with these speedy techniques hand knitting lost it's ability to compete in the marketplace with machines.  Knitting as an art and a craft fell to the wayside and was kept alive only as a hobby. 

        In my opinion the real renaissance of knitting is happening today. Diverse techniques from different parts of the world are being combined into wonderful new techniques.  Knitting, and other fiber arts, are just beginning to be accepted in art circles as pieces of worth.  In the search for simpler ways to make life more meaningful knitting is reestablishing itself in people's everyday lives."

I know! I spent a good hour the other day trying to find out if Elliott Sadler was single or not :heart:

I did try and find a date for circs, but to no avail yet

I’m sure you found one though I thought I’d just go ahead and post the one I use. Here is the Needle Conversion Chart. And not just for Europeans, us Canadians also go by mm quite a bit!!

I tend to go by US needle sizes because that’s what’s found in most patterns, so I’m in the yarn store the other day talking to the lady about the booga bag I was toting, her asking what size needle I used, to which I answered, “A 10.5”, thinking nothing of it, all along her thinking I was talking about 10.5 millimeters!! hahaha :roflhard: I had a good laugh about that.

Anyways, on with the quest to find out when circulars were invented…

Well, I have a pair of plastic circs that I know I used for a baby blanket before my daughter was born. She turned 30 this year. So they’ve been around since at least 1974.

I just found references to circular needles in a book by Mary Thomas (“Mary Thomas’s Knitting Book”), 1938.

[color=green][b]can we take a moment to just chuckle at this found in the middle of a question about circs?

you people make me giggle[/b][/color] :rofling:

Hey, I find any excuse to bring up Elliott in everyday conversation :inlove:
“Hey, I have to go to the yarn store to pick up some new yarn today”

“Oh yeah, well I heard that Elliott wears clothes MADE from yarn”

lol…well i am more partial to Mr. Ashley Judd which works out great for me and my best friend. We are waiting in the wings for them to get divorced and then we will kindly pick up the pieces! :roflhard: