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Topic: Questions about needles  (Read 339 times)
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IMIS
« on: May 27, 2007 05:23:32 AM »

Ok, so today I am going shopping for new needles. I was wondering, what is the most common needle sizes, that I should buy(circular and straight). Because I don't know of a specific project that I want to do, but I also don't want to buy every size if I'm not going to use all of them, so are there sizes that I shouldn't buy because they arent very common to use?
Also, is it easy to learn with circular needles? I know that many projects need them, so I'll have to learn eventually. But is it easy to use?
Is it also true that it pays to buy circular over straight?
Do I need DPN for a lot of projects?
Anything else I should know about needles before buying?
Please, comments are needed soon, because today I am finally getting a chance to go to the store, and I might not be able to for a while after this trip. Thank you!!!
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ImaginationsEnd
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2007 05:40:44 AM »

I can't answer the question in general, but I can answer as to what applies to me. I generally use needles that are smaller than a size 8. My most common sizes are sizes US 8, 6, 4, and 2.

I suppose you could perhaps guess about what sizes you need depending upon what you like to do. Do you enjoy big bulky knits that are made with very thick yarn? Go for the larger sizes (11, 10, 13, 15...heck, even 55).

Do you enjoy making delicate, intricate pieces with small stitches? Go for the smaller sizes (00, 0, 1, 2)

Or do you just enjoy medium weight stitches that can be turned into anything? Try the middle sizes (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Cool

A size 8 needle is considered "middle of the road" medium. Not thick, not thin. Just medium.

If you'll be working different techniques, you'll want to keep that in mind too. Lace can be worked up on either teeny-tiny needles, or gigantic ones. What sort of lace do you like? The tight and tiny lace that is seen on doilies? Or the large, flowing, more spiderweb like lace? The first is usually done on tiny needles, the latter is commonly done on large needles.

As far as circulars go - I hate them. I cannot stand them. I avoid them at every chance I get. There is nothing I have seen that's done on circular needles that cannot be done on DPNs.

If you get circular needles, you'll most likely have to get a set of DPNs. (For example: if you're making a hat, eventually the hat will be too small in circumference to keep on the circular needles, thus forcing a switch to DPNs)

I recommend DPNs. Like I said - just about anything done on a circular needle can be done on DPNs.

And likewise, there's only a few things that require DPNs. Sure, they make things easier, but you don't really need them. The only reason they make things easier is because your piece is worked "in the round"...meaning that you are working a 3-D object, not something that's flat. If it's worked flat, you'll have to sew it up, and you'll end up with a (sometimes ugly) seam on your object. When worked round, there's no seam.

DPNs are usually used for items like socks, legwarmers, mittens/gloves, hats, and occasionally sweaters and bags.

Circulars can be used for both knitting in the round and knitting flat. So if you find you prefer circulars, it does pay to buy all circulars instead of circs and flats.

Hope this helps !
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IMIS
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2007 05:45:53 AM »

Wow, thanks!
By the way, what are the most common sizes for DPNs?
Also, if in instructions it says to use circulars, but instead I use DPN's, how will I know how to use it for the projects, if the patterns follow using circulars?
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ImaginationsEnd
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2007 05:57:10 AM »

The sizes for DPNs vary, just like everything else. It all depends on what you'd like to make - socks generally take smaller needles (1, 2, 3, sometimes 4). Hats are usually larger (6, 7, 8 or more) gloves are often times the same sizes as socks. Sweaters and such are usually 6, 7, 8 and above.

The key to using DPNs in place of circulars is to write or chart out YOUR changes in the pattern. The key thing to using DPNs in general is to keep the stitches as evenly distributed on the needles as possible (3 on the first, 3 on the second, 3 on the third, and 3 on the fourth needles, for example.) One extra stitch floating around on your needles isn't such a big deal.

Say, for example, you're making a hat that calls for circular needles. You're supposed to cast on 100 stitches for the hat onto circular needles. You'd just put 25 stitches onto each needle and work evenly until you hit the point where you need to decrease. Then you need to evenly space your decreases. If it says decrease 12 stitches in one row, you'd just decrease 3 stitches on each needle you have.

Basically, once you cast on, circular needles and DPNs aren't that different. Whether you use one or the other, is, as was stated, a matter of preference.

I hope this helps.
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IMIS
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2007 06:23:54 AM »

thank you so much for your help!! Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2007 06:39:11 AM »

It also depends on what weight of yarn you prefer working with - like if you mostly work with worsted weight yarn, you'll probably need size 8s and needles around that size, whereas if you work with lace weight yarn you'll need smaller needles.

Also keep in mind that circulars can be used as straights, just knit back and forth instead of joining your work - sometimes its even better for big heavy projects because it will put less strain on your wrists!

If you want to buy a lot of needles, consider an interchangeable needle set like Denise interchangeables (plastic/resin needles) or the Knitpicks Options set (metal needles). It's all circular needles, which can be used as straights, and if you are working on small projects and don't want to buy DPNs, you can use the longer cables for the magic loop technique. It all depends on your preference!
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soozeq
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2007 06:47:43 AM »

I'm on the other size of the medium needle equation - I don't like working on anything smaller than 8s, but I don't do socks or lace, except with worsted weight yarn. I also prefer circular needles over straight ones. To me, the straight ones are much more cumbersome if you're making anything bigger than a scarf, and even then the ends get in my way. DPNs can be awkward to work with at first, though they're handy if you want to make sock or gloves or hats. I just use a  circular in the Magic loop method where you pull out the cord on the sides to accomodate a shorter diameter project. Go look at thevideos  on circular knitting at knittinghelp.com to see how they can be used.
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sue
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