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Sarah E. White

Work Flat with Circular Needles

By April 25, 2012

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I've been working on a really big project lately (it's for my book!) that is basically three long panels of knitting that will be sewn together to make a baby blanket. The panels aren't very wide -- just 12 inches -- but they end up being 36 inches long before you cast off.

For some reason I started working with a pair of straight needles, even though I'm sure at the time I knew that was lunacy. And sure enough, about half way through, maybe not even half way through, I couldn't take it any more. The weight of the project was hurting my hands, and I had to take frequent breaks.

circular needle flat knittingKnitting flat with a circular needle is great when you're knitting a big project. Sarah E. White.

It wasn't any fun at all, but I knew there was a simple solution: changing to a circular needle.

Using circular needles to knit flat is a great way to take some stress off your body, to take up less space when you knit while you're traveling, and to help ensure the stitches stay on your needles when you put your knitting away.

I love using circular needles for a lot of knitting projects and really don't know why I didn't just start with one, other than that the straight needles were handy.

Do you use circular needles to knit flat? I'd love to hear more about your experience with them.


April 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm
(1) Lynne says:

I learned to knit using circular needles. It would be very awkward for me to knit with straights. Circulars are easier to store, as well.

April 26, 2012 at 12:09 am
(2) sylrayj says:

With a circular needle, you can have a very, very wide panel. In fact, I knit myself a twin-size blanket all in one piece. Couldn’t have done it without a circular – I just wish I could find a set with a *very* long cable! :)

April 26, 2012 at 5:20 am
(3) hamimono says:

I ALWAYS use circs for knitting everything, flat, in the round, even short circs as DPNs! The big thing for me is that— as Sarah said— because I sometimes knit on a crowded train, knitting with circs allows you to knit with elbows pulled in and in a smaller space. Also, no dropped needles.

Re: sylrayj’s quest. Super long cables on fixed circs do exist. I have a few. But, also, Knitpicks sells connectors for their interchangeable needle cables that allow for infinite cable length for whatever project. Go wild!

April 27, 2012 at 11:02 am
(4) Monica says:

I have to second everything hamimono said. Circs rule!! I use them for everything.

I also have the KnitPicks connectors; they’re just waiting for that Queen sized blanket…….

April 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm
(5) Levelin says:

I also use circulars as my go-to needle

I am currently working on two shawls that are both on size 8′s, I needed the longer needle for the shawl that is now in the process of being bound off. I put the lace weight shawl on a 16 inch circular as a holder until the other shawl is done. To insure the stitches stayed on the small circular, I fastened a small safety pin to the cables below the needle part

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