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Topic: Knitting needles: Circular or straight?  (Read 801 times)
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« on: January 17, 2009 07:53:01 PM »

I am a total NOOB when it comes to knitting as I usually crochet. I have some straight needles from when I learned to knit when I was a kid. I want to make a hat. Like this.http://tiajudy.com/ribcaps.htm
I'm confused as to which needles I would be using. Would I be using straight or circular needles? I didn't even know there were circular needles until I started looking into knitting again. I always see people with straight needles going unbelievably fast. Any help is much appreciated. Smiley
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2009 08:38:47 PM »

Here's the clue as to what needles the hat is worked on:
"cast on a multiple of 4 stitches,... and join in circle." as you can't knit in a circle on straight needles. You can take this pattern however, and add a couple of stitches and then knit - p1, k2, p2, across and end with a k1; the extra stitches would account for the seam when sewing it up.

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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2009 06:55:03 AM »

It's almost always possible to knit flat and seam, but knitting in the round goes so much more quickly!  I think you'll be quite pleased if you invest in a circular and some double pointed needles.
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2009 06:08:00 AM »

thanks Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2009 01:54:48 PM »

Even patterns that call for straight needles, I'll use circulars (just don't join!)

It is a lot easier on my wrists. 


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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2009 11:03:10 AM »

While I like the traditional style of straight needles, I tend to use circular needles for most everything I can.

Assuming that you want to knit the hat complete, and not "knit then stitch up" you will need a circular needle (usually 16" or so) and a set of DPN's in the same size. Yes, there are other fancy ways you can avoid the DPN's or use a longer circular needle, but I'm trying to keep it simple here. Essentially:

  • You cast on some number of stitches (many simple hat patterns seem to have 100 as an average, but sizing is one of the most annoying pasts about knitting hats)
  • Join the first and last cast on by knitting them
  • Then knit knit knit in a circle for a long while (no purling unless you are making a pattern)
  • Eventually you start doing a "knit two together" decreasing patten and after a while you are going to get too small for the circular needle.
  • Once you get too small for the circ, you will have to switch to DPN's. Continue the decreasing pattern until you have 6-8 stitches left.
  • Use a tapestry needle to loop the last few stitches together and close up the hole at the top of the hat.

There is a good basic "roll brim" hat pattern here:


It's not fancy. But it's a good "first hat".
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2009 07:30:16 AM »

I also prefer circular needles.  I think it's nice to be able to slide the work down onto the loop to keep it from dropping stitches when you set down a project.

If you haven't purchased needles yet, you might want to try out different materials if you can.  Bamboo is by far my favorite needle so far.  Metal is slippery, and plastic ones can sometimes be difficult to work with (and I don't like plastic crochet hooks, either!).

« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2009 09:06:07 PM »

Another circs fan here!  I find for big projects they keep the weight much more evenly distributed (nice on my wrists).  My only straights are ones I've inherited, I never buy them...

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