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size of circular needles

bjames's picture

How do you choose what length of circular needle to use for each project? Is there a formula to determine the size ( length of cable from tip of needle to tip of other needle ) of the circular needle you should use for different number of cast on stitches?

woodruff's picture

(post #29378, reply #1 of 2)

You might want to get Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Knitting Without Tears," a terrific, sensible, fairly cheap paperback that demystifies a lot of knitting stuff. As I recall, she says a 24" circular will do for most sweater-type projects. Obviously, you need a smaller one for a hat (usually under 22" circumference) and a bigger one for an afghan.

Myself, I have about equal numbers of 24" and 35" circulars, with a few short ones thrown in for hats.

starzoe's picture

(post #29378, reply #2 of 2)

You need a 16" circular for hats and necklines, for sure. The length doesn't matter for afghans if you are knitting flat, just as long as all the stitches fit on the needle and the stitches are not too crowded.

When knitting circularly, as in a sweater body, you need a needle long enough to hold the number of stitches, but not so long that the work is stretched or too scrunched up. Use your gauge swatch to ascertain the number of sts per inch and choose a needle that is not too long or too short.

If a pattern comes with good instructions that you are to use a circular needle, it will also tell you the length you need.

Edited 1/8/2009 9:40 pm ET by starzoe