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Topic: new to circular knitting - best starter lengths and sizes  (Read 863 times)
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cranberry
« on: October 27, 2006 12:20:54 PM »

Dear all,

I've decided to attempt to knit on circulars. I've never done so before, and need your input before I buy.

A bit of knitting background: I've been knitting for about two years. I consider myself an intermediate knitter (competent in fair isle, intarsia and dpns).

I've learnt to knit on straights, but I want to take a thwack at circulars. From what I've gathered, 5.5mm seems to be the best needle size for clothing, due to the fact that circular needle stitches tend to knit up smaller than straights.

What are the best sizes to get lengthwise in terms of cms (inches)?

Also, some bloggers tend to praise the sharp points of circulars? I'm only au fait with bamboo needles and their points aren't too sharp, but I'm not afraid to experiment.

I don't think my pocket can manage the aldi turbos that people salviate over, so can you give me any decent mid priced ranges to look for?

Thank you very much for your insights. They will be given scones and tea.
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Madeleine09
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2006 12:36:55 PM »

The most important part about circulars (in my opinion) is the cord length. You need to have a cord that is equal to or less than the length (or circumfrence) of the project you will be making. Generally hats go on 16" circulars in whatever needle size is your preference, and sweaters in the round are 29". You can always do a sweater on a 16" one, but not the other  way around.
Points seems important to a lot of knitters, but unless I am using a very fine weight yarn, I don't care much.

Anything I need to explain better?
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meriellyn
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2006 12:42:42 PM »

I started by making hats on 16" circs. With 16"ers you don't have to worry as much about the sord being too twisty. There's not as much cord to twist so I find that the cheaper ones are fine, especially once you get a few rounds done.
24" seems a good size to invest in. Works well for most flat projects and it a useful size for tops. 29" or 32" can be useful for sweaters and afghans, depending on the size you need to make. A smaller person might use 24"s for most things but big girls might need the extra room of a 29" or 32".
I find that having a cord with little memory is especially desirable for the longer lengths. Addis are great but I now prefer the KnitPicks circs. They're MUCH more affordable, have better tips, and the cord is even better than the Addi's.
As for cheaper ones you can get at craft stores, Susan Bates in the pink package has a decent cord and join. The Susan Quicksilver in the blue package has a decent tip and join but I'm not thrilled with the cord on anything but the 16". Boye's have a great tip but the cord sucks and the join is annoying as all get out. For bamboo I've only used Clover and only 16". They're ok but I prefer metal circs. Kinda odd since I like wood/bamboo DPNs and straights (although I almost never use straights anymore).

My favorite right now is KnitPicks. Sharp, smooth, affordable, and a joy to knit with. Addi's run a close second but the price hurts for a poor gal like me and those blunt tips annoy me a lot of times.

I'm planning to get the KP Options set in the next couple months. That way I'll have most sizes and lengths and they're interchangable. Since I use circs for flat knitting that takes care of everything except DPNs and 16"ers.

If you want to try Magic Loop I hear you should get the longest you can find. I have no experience with ML though so I can't really say.
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meriellyn
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2006 12:54:31 PM »

Oh, just realized that afer all that, I didn't address sizes at all!

That's really a personal preference. What do you like to knit? What weight yarn do you like to work with? Are you an average, tight, or loose knitter? (preface: I'm going to refer to US sizes here) 8s are always a handy average size to have on hand. I'm a loose knitter so I like to have 5s and 6s around for medium projects. I also like to knit with lighter yarn so I like 3s and 4s as well. Of course if you're into bulky yarn or a really tight knitter, you'd want to consider larger sizes first.
I started by buying the sizes I needed for particular projects ar I went along.

Of course you can cover most of your bases (except the really tiny and super sized) by picking up an interchangable set. I mentioned the KP Options. A lot of people love the Denise set. I'm not too keen on plastic, myself. Some people like the Boye set. I tend to dislike most of Boye's needles in general. I hear the cords are pretty twisty too. There are also a couple bamboo interchangable set but I know very little about them.
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cranberry
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2006 01:09:47 PM »

Thank you for the answers so far.

Erm, I'm based in the UK, so my terminology is odd. Right, I knit from 4ply to aran weight. In terms of needle sizes, that's about 3.5mm to 5.5mm. I tend to knit slip overs and short sleeved jumpers. I also knit the occassional sock and am girding my loins to attempt a full on lace pattern.

Eep. size wize, I'm a *cough* size 10 UK, so probably a 24" or a 29" inch needle would be good yes.

I'm not a tight knitter. I tend to be spot on when it comes to gauge needed for the Rowan knits.

The yarn I like knitting with is basically fibre mixes (like wool or cotton blends).

Thanks for your answers. I'm now googling knit picks.

But most circular needles are joined by plastic, no? They have the pony needles here, and I've used 'em but I don't like them at all.
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cranberry
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2006 01:13:33 PM »

The most important part about circulars (in my opinion) is the cord length. You need to have a cord that is equal to or less than the length (or circumfrence) of the project you will be making. Generally hats go on 16" circulars in whatever needle size is your preference, and sweaters in the round are 29". You can always do a sweater on a 16" one, but not the other  way around.
Points seems important to a lot of knitters, but unless I am using a very fine weight yarn, I don't care much.

Anything I need to explain better?


Thank you, your insights have been helpful. I do wish to do some lace knitting in the future so yes, pointy needles may be a concern for me in the future.

Thank you very much!
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meriellyn
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2006 01:43:34 PM »

Oooh, I didn't realize you were in the UK. Unfortunately, I don't think KnitPicks ships internationally. Sad You might be able to find them on Ebay though. Or you could use a middle-man in the US. You could have them shipped to a US address then have that person send them to you. Kind of a pain but I really love the needles enough to say I think it'd be worth it. Probably still cheaper than investing in a bunch of Addis.
Maybe you can get a friend or LYS to let you try out a pair of Addis so you can see if you like the blunt tip or not.

Here's a conversion chart for metric/US sizes, in case you don't have one handy, so my last post would make more sense. Smiley
http://www.laughinghens.com/knitting-needle-sizes.asp

As mentioned, pointy needles are a plus for lace. Remember, most lace is knit on needles larger than one would generally use to knit such fine yarn.
You might want to give bamboo a go for your first lace since it'll hold onto the stitches more than metal. I've been most pleased with Crystal Palace bamboo tips. I haven't tried the circs but they appear to be similar to the DPNs, which are wonderful. Clovers are pretty blunt. Tongue Once you're more comfortable controlling your stitches, metal is nice for the better tips.

With Pony needles, the actual needle is plastic (or casien, I'm not sure). I don't like plastic either. That's why I avoided the Denise set since the actual needles are plastic. With metal circs, the cord is plastic but the actual needle is metal so it's not like knitting with Pony needles.

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meriellyn
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2006 01:54:52 PM »

I'm sure another brand would be easier for you to try out sooner but if you do decide you want to try the KnitPicks, I'll be ordering some stuff from them in the next month. I'll qualify for free shipping on that order so I'd be happy to add a couple needles to my order and do a swap for some yarn or something. Smiley Just PM me if you're interested.
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jax3303
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2006 02:01:18 PM »

That's why I avoided the Denise set since the actual needles are plastic.

this is actually a common misconception. Denise needles aren't plastic. they're resin.
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meriellyn
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2006 02:08:21 PM »

Ah, sorry, my mistake. Smiley Didn't mean to lead anyone astray.
Does that keep the ends from getting scuffed up as much as plastic? I knew they didn't feel as flexible as plastic but they still felt light and grabby to me.
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