10 Reasons Why Circular Knitting Needles Are the Best

From the issue

See more in the articles and interviews category.

Imagine your dream knitting needle. It would be easy to use, versatile, ergonomic and great for almost all your knitting projects.  It would come in every needle size and in your favorite material, like bamboo, metal, plastic or wood.  They wouldn’t take up much space in your knitting bag and it would help ease the strain and pain knitting can sometimes bring.

Well my knitting friends, that dream needle exists and it is known as circular knitting needles. Below is the top ten reasons why circulars are the needle of choice and how they make your knitting easier, more fun and less stressful.

  1. 1.They can be used both for straight knitting and for knitting in round.  By using these needles just as you would straight needles you can easily knit back and forth for projects like blankets, dishcloths, sweaters and scarves. When you connect your stitches and knit in the round you can make hats, seamless sweaters and cowls.
  2. It makes knitting way less awkward. If you struggle with your straight needles always getting in the way or you are constantly dropping your DPNS (and losing them in between couch cushions) , then Circular needles offer a great alternative for the clumsy knitter. Because there is less to hold, circulars offer a great way to overcome the problem of constantly dropping those extra needles.
  3. It can increase your knitting speed, (especially when knitting in the round.) Once you get comfortable with using circular needles, your rows and rounds just seems to fly by! This is because you don’t constantly have to switch between needles and for this reason circulars become naturally faster. Just cast on and go!
  4. They are great for knitting marathons. Whether you are bingeing on Netflix, taking a long road trip or just spending your weekend knitting, circulars make long knitting sessions way less painful. When using circular needles the weight of your project is held by cord, not by you. This means your wrists, arms, shoulders and neck don’t become as aggravated by the repetitive motions that come with knitting.
  5. More stitches means more knitting!! (and who doesn’t love more knitting.) Circulars are very roomy! You can fit way more stitches on the chord of circular needles then you can on traditional needles. This makes them ideal for big projects like blankets and adult sweaters.
  6. On the go knitting is a breeze! Circular needles make knitting in tight spaces easier ( think airplanes, buses and subways) because your movement with these needles is less. The flexibility that these needles provide means they too can be squished into small spaces which, is ideal for stuffing in your luggage or bag without worry.
  7. Interchangeable needles are everything! Do yourself a favor and invest in an interchangeable needle set. These sets come with many needles tips in different sizes and various chord lengths. The tips simply screw or clip into the chords that are provided. You then secure the tips with the “keys” that are included in the set. This prevents your tips from coming off the chord. With interchangeable needles you can create many needle combinations. This saves you time and money in the long run trying to hunt down various needle sizes . Also, they usually come in a compact carrying case so, you can bring many needles sizes and chord lengths in your knitting bag without the bulk!
  8. Magic Loop! This awesome knitting technique is a favorite of many knitters. It can only be done with long circular needles because it requires a lot of flexible chord. Magic loop is great for knitting in a small circumference like socks or baby booties and tiny sleeves. You can even knit two socks at once using the magic loop method. This alone is a reason to give circular needles a try.
  9. Your knitting is more secure. Knitting can easily fall of straight or double point needles , especially if you drop the needle that is holding your project. And who doesn’t hate it when your put your project in your knitting bag, only to take it out again and see that your stitches have mysteriously fallen off the needles. When using circulars your stitches rest on the cord of the needles not on the tip. This means there is ample room for every stitch and therefore they aren’t as eager to jump off the needles when bumped or moved around.  For extra precaution, always make sure you are using the right chord length suitable for your project. If your stitches seem crowded and are close to the needle tips when your knitting is resting it means you need to use a longer chord.
  10. They are great for the new knitter! Learning to knit can be stressful. There is a lot to master and holding multiple or awkward long needles only adds to that stress. Using circular needles means there is one less thing to think about. Choosing a chord length like 16” or 24” means there isn’t a lot chord to distract from the learning process. If you having a hard time learning a technique or your teaching someone to knit, try a shorter circular needle. You may be surprised at how much easier it is to learn on circulars versus other needles.

Circular knitting needles are a great all around needle choice. Whether its knitting a blanket with ease, knitting a hat with speed or eliminating second sock syndrome by knitting both socks at the the same time, there is so much you can do with circulars that they almost seem limitless.  Circulars really are the dream knitting needle. And if you haven’t already definitely give circular needles a try for your next project!