Interweave Yarn Hacks Presents: Circular Knitting Needles, Always & Forever!
Generally, when someone pictures a knitter, they imagine a woman knitting with two straight needles, and whether or not they recognize it, she is knitting back and forth in garter stitch. That’s just a universal fact. When someone first learns to knit, most beginner kits offer the straight needles as well. It took me a long time to figure out the benefits of always knitting with circular needles rather than two straight needles, even when you’re not knitting in-the-round.
For instance, think back to any time you were knitting in a plane, train, or automobile, with two straight needles. What inevitably happens? You drop or misplace one. The same thing happens when you’re just sitting on your couch at home: a needle falls into the vortex between the cushions. You look for it for an hour, and when you can’t find it you steer clear of the couch in general for fear that if you plop down on it you’ll regret it forever (see Ravelings, Interweave Knits Fall 2016, p. 128).
If you substitute the straight needles with circulars, you don’t risk losing one since they are literally attached at the hip. When you get to the end of the row and turn the knitting, the unused needle stays attached, and life is a dream. You’ll also see many patterns call for long circular needles, even when the project is knit back and forth, because of the large amount of stitches (think shawls and sweaters). These days, I only knit with circular needles when possible. It’s really nice to not have to worry about one needle getting away. I personally also find it more comfortable than two long pokey sticks, since the stiff part of the circulars are minimal compared to the flexible, plastic cable between them.
For some it may seem obvious, but for others it might be an aha moment. If you haven’t tried circulars to knit back-and-forth, I encourage you to give it a try! Pretty soon all your straight knitting needles will be pretty decorations.
Store Your Circular Needles in Style!