Before delving into the practical aspects of changing from straight to circular needles, it is important to examine the design features of the two types.
A standard knitting needle is generally a hand tool that is designed as a thin metal stick of match-stick width and less than a foot length and which is pointed at one end. During knitting, the pointed end is used to create a new stitch, whilst the rod is for holding the previous stitches to the rest of the item being knitted. With circular needles, there are two rigid short needles of approximately 4-5 inches in length. These are connected via a flexible cable( often made of coated wire or nylon). The flexibility afforded by circular needles makes them vital for knitting in the round.
When knitting the round you need circular needles?
There are significant benefits to using circular needles to knit round items. The following are some of the advantages.
Circular needles distribute the weight of the work differently than straight needles. With circulars, the weight of the garment you are knitting falls on the lap whilst in straight needles, the weight falls on the needle. Thus circulars give greater freedom and less strain to your hands and wrists. This can be a very significant advantage if you are working with heavy garments. This is also a major benefit to those who suffer from pain or other hand and shoulder problems.
For those who love to knit whilst commuting, circular needles provide another benefit. It is difficult to drop a circular needle when knitting is in progress. This means none of those frustrating experiences of trying to find a needle between another passenger’s feet.
- Circular needles are easier to store and transport as they can be packed into small-sized compartments. They can also be used in crowded places where there is less room to move hands in.
- Circular needles can hold more stitches than straight needles and this is especially useful for large round work. They can also be used for more than one work at a time as one can use cable stoppers to hold a current item in progress and then proceed to new work.
- Because circular needles have relatively short tips, they are harder to break than straight needles.
Table of Contents
How To Pick The Right Circular Needle Length
The length of the needle to be used is mostly determined by the design and pattern of the item being created. However, for the user seeking more flexibility of choice, the following short guide should be useful.
Length is the total line measurement from one tip of the needle, across the cable to the other tip. Therefore, if you utilize a different length of cable, it will also change the overall length of the circular needle.
Circular needles come in a variety of lengths, with the short ones at approximately 8.5 inches and the longer ones at approximately 60 inches. The most common needle lengths are 16-32 inches.
For you to choose the length of the cable, one key requirement is that the number of stitches to be knitted, or another way is the diameter of the knitting tube both limit the length of the needle. It should be longer than the stitches and shorter than the diameter.
Recommended Lengths For Various Works.
- 8.5 -12 inches: best for mittens, socks, and smaller apparel. Be careful in choosing these short needle sizes as their points may be too short for you to effectively handle with comfort.
- 16 inches: Very practical in knitting hats, trunks of children jumpers, and sleeves.
- 24 to 32 inches: Very useful for trunks of adult sweaters.
- Larger sizes up to 60 inches: These are for big projects for example blankets with a knitted edge.
How To Transfer Stitches From One Needle To Another
When transferring stitches from one needle to another, there is no major difference between straight needles and the circular type. If you are continuing without changing but only changing needles, you simply switch as you would when working with the same needle type. If however, you are changing the stitch, then you can choose various methods to perform the casting-on for example:
You can change the stitch by casting onto one of the two needles, and as the stitches increase you push them onto the cable to make more room. This method does require that to keep the new stitches loose.
You can start with a standard needle that is larger in size and then cast to a narrower circular. This is useful especially for those whose knitting style produces very tight stitches.
How To Change Needles While Working In The Round?
When you do round work, you cast stitches as you would for knitting that is flat, and next, you join the two ends to form the round.
This is quite simple if you are not changing needle sizes. However, if you are changing from a larger to a smaller needle when doing round work, then you will find that your right hand is holding the larger needle and the left the smaller needle.
The yarn you are working on is now on the larger needle. All you need to do is continue to pick up the working yarn and then knit continuously from the left to the right. Do this until you finish the round.
History Of The Art And Craft Of Knitting
The art and craft of knitting have undergone dramatic transformations in its long history. Originally, it was a craft practiced to fulfill a very direct human need; that of providing clothing.
The earliest type of knitting was done by knitting as was passed on from mother to daughter. With the advent of machine knitting, and more recently with the rise of incomes across Europe and America, knitting has become more of a hobby.
This has led to the further development of a nuanced art form amongst a small but dedicated spiral of adepts. For such individuals, and for millions of others fascinated by an art form that they cannot engage in, this article should provide a quick preview.
Knitting as an art and craft form has been practiced since the 13th Century, and there are fragments from both Spain and Egypt to confirm this.
This is as per the definitive history of hand knitting, authored by Richard Rutt in 1987. However other historical sources tell a different story. The Bible, for instance, speaks of woolen garments and decorative knitting during the time of the Hebrew Prophet Moses.
Moses is assumed to have lived at about 1400 B.C. Though there are no archeological findings to support the Biblical claim, proof can be derived from the exactness via which the knitted items have been described therein. Whichever history you choose to believe, what is clear is that this art form has been a feature of human ingenuity from our earliest times.
The use of knitting needles is supposed to have originated in Arabia. The primitive needles of Arabia resembled hooks and were made using copper as it was easier to work. Copper was also the predominant metal used for making hand tools in that area.
There have been other finds of knitting needles away from Arabia. The material used for these other finds has ranged from ivory, bone, iron, wood, and bamboo.
Due to the highly personalized nature of the knitting art form, throughout history, various knitters have been known to develop their designs of needles. Some of these, such as the double-ended are still in use today.
Europe is the likely birthplace of the standard straight knitting needle used today, though an exact archeological locale is still unknown.
What Is Circular Knitting?
Circular knitting is a type of knitting that utilizes a continuous tube. Circular Knitting is best for knitting sweaters and other items that have a round shape.
The earliest examples of circular knitting show that this form of innovation was performed by using a series of two-pointed needles operating together. Beginning in 1918 however, the first patent for a circular knitting needle was issued in the United States
A circular knitting needle is different from other knitting needles since it contains a type of string that connects two short needles. This design feature makes the circular needle the most flexible tool for hand-knitting both flat and round articles.
Today this needle is used for knitting more than just sweaters. Mittens, socks, and hats are also best knitted using circular needles.
The use of circular needles has revolutionized the craft and art of hand knitting making this a unique.
Circular needs combine the rigidity of the straight needle to the flexibility of a connecting cable to provide a tool that is convenient to use, easy on the hands and wrists, and portable to commuters.
Whereas most beginners in knitting prefer to use straight knitting needles, this article has shown that it is quite easy to transfer a work in progress to a circular needle.