Why I prefer circular knitting needles?
I don’t know about you, but since I discovered circular knitting needles I rarely use anything else. I just find them so much easier to work with. I was never a fan of using longer than 30cm knitting needles anyway, which made making anything bigger than a jumper really tricky, but I hate the way they get stuck under your arms and turning your work feels like a workout in the gym.
think, like many people I was a bit scared of circular needles because I don’t like change and I didn’t really understand how they could be used. I remember looking at them and thinking “I can’t do that”, “how do you know how many stitches will fit round”… In addition, I couldn’t grasp the concept of different lengths, and thought that the endless possibilities of having to have a different size needle for every possible length was also completely impractical. I have never been able to get to grips with DPNs (double pointed needles) as they are just too fiddley, and hence was always been limited by what I could make.
However, at a knitting show a few years ago (before I started Luxury Yarns) a kind stall-holder who wasn’t rushed off her feet spent a while explaining the benefits of them, and although she was using them – she wasn’t knitting in the round. I had never seen anyone knit back and forth with them, so this opened my eyes to the possibilities. She was making a very large lace shawl, and was actually using Interchangeable needles, with cables attached to both needles – so she in fact had 2 separate needles, but they were much lighter and obviously flexible, so didn’t get in the way. She explained some of the benefits of interchangeable needles and consequently made a sale.
I have to admit that since then I don’t think I have used straight needles for anything – from all the baby stuff I made for my son before he was born, to jumpers, shawls, blankets etc – everything you have seen in this blog. I always use circular needles and my reasons are this: they are so much more convenient – you can fold them up and fit them into your handbag and as such, take your knitting everywhere; they are allowed on most airplanes – I have used them on Easyjet, Ryanair, as well as BA, and other major airlines – although I guess it depends on the security check and I always ensure I take the wooden ones and not metal, and also a couple of spare cable ends so that if the worst comes to the worst then you can take off the needles and keep your work on the the cable without worrying about your work coming undone; you can’t loose a needle because they are both attached – this may sound dumb but I can’t tell you how often I’ve got up to do something and come back and mysteriously one needle has managed to walk across the room and go down the back of a completely different chair… (well you know what I mean), I usually have about 5 or 6 projects on the go at anyone time and I don’t need lots of pairs of needles, just a few extra cables… there are an ever increasing number of patterns available for circular knitting and once you get the hang of it it is SO much easier. The major benefit of this is that you have no sewing together at the end. You do have to be a bit careful when starting the first row to make sure that your stitches aren’t twisted around the cable, and the first couple of rows may look like you’re going to have a hole at the beginning, but my tip for that is… always make sure that you make the slip knot the right way round so that you can tighten it when you pull the loose end, that way you will be able to ensure that there are no big loops. Also, with a bit of clever weaving at the very end, you can make the join completely ‘seamless’.
So, hopefully I have convinced you to try them – they come in all different shapes, sizes and materials – I stock them in the gorgeous symfonie wood, and also nova metal – which are actually my favourite now