Yesterday, I had a nice long talk with my good friend, Olive, and she told me that her sister, Lynn, flew up for a visit. Lynn is making a hat and Olive said that she needed help with circular needles. Olive asked me if I had any resources for Lynn to look at after she left Olive’s place to go back home. Yes, I do!
First of all, I love circular needles. You can’t loose your needles because they are attached. And then they are a little confusing because they are attached.
I have several different types of circular needles. I have bamboo which I like to knit hats and some sweaters with. I have the Addi metal ones, which are great for bulky types of yarns. And lastly, I just bought the Zephyr Acrylic Interchangeable circular needles from Knit Picks. The Zephyr circular needles are nice. The tips are a little pointier that my bamboo ones and they are light! There is a little bend to these, so just be careful.
In this link from Expert Village, the woman explains the different types of circular needles.
And now for the basics:
You cast on the number of stitches in your pattern in the method of your choice in the same manner as you would cast on to straight needles.
When connecting the stitches in the round, first, make sure not to twist the stitches! Get them all nice and straight on the circular needle. If the stitches become twisted, there is nothing you can do but to start over. Sorry.
Place your stitch marker on the needle before joining the stitches in the round and that first stitch tightly.
In Knitting Tips by Judy, she “visually” shows you how to knit with circular needles and how to join in the round.
I would recommend watching Judy’s video first and then printing this article from Knitty, "Techniques with Theresa," because this has photos for you to refer to later.
Some factors you may want to know:
If you use a circular needle that is too long for your project, the result will be misshapen fabric. Therefore, if your project is 19 inches finished, use a 16-inch circular needle. This is so that stitches can slip nicely around the needle and not get stretched.
As you knit, your rows lay on top of each other like a spiral.
If you need further help with “jogless” stripes and/or changing colors on circular needles look at my October 25, 2011 blog post called “Hats;” there are links here to help you along.
3 notions you need with your circular needles:
Stitch markers: In “Knitting Tips by Judy,” she uses a scrape piece of yarn for her “beginning of the round” marker. I have made my own:
A Row Counter: Just remember that when you come to your stitch marker you have completed a round of knitting. Some directions say to knit so many rounds – hence the reason why you want a row counter close.
Measurement: Some directions say to knit for so many inches/centimeters so you will need a tape measure/ruler.
Ok, I read in one of Ann Budd’s books that she only likes to measure with a ruler. She said that the retractable tape measure is too flimsy. I haven’t had a problem with measuring with either one. But remember, I have been quilting for 10 years and measurement in that craft is a huge one.
So, Olive, I hope this helps!
The Martini Knitter