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Why Use Circular Needles?

Even if you’re a super beginner knitter, you’ve probably seen or heard of circular needles before.

image via StitchDiva.com

So what are these circular needles (a.k.a. “circs”) all about, and why would you want to make the switch from trusty old traditional straights?

image via YarnBird.ca

As the name implies, circs are particularly useful for circular projects, such as:

  • hats
  • skirts
  • dresses
  • bodies of sweaters
  • even sleeves of sweaters!

You can even use them in the place of double-pointed needles (which are typically used for circular projects with fewer stitches, such as gloves and socks), by using the Magic Loop method.

image via Wear7.com

But, just because you CAN use circs for these projects doesn’t mean you CAN’T use them for regular knitting (i.e. back-and-forth) as well.

There are plenty of reasons you might want to sub in a set of circular needles for your long straight ones, even when knitting something as simple as a scarf.

  • Circs, with their short needles and long cables, fold up and travel very easily
  • You carry less weight on your wrists when the stitches gather on the cable rather than hanging on a needle that you have to support
  • They won’t stick out and poke holes in your bag (or other people nearby!) while you’re carrying your project around with you

My personal fave is the KA brand circular needles that we sell — not only do they have super smooth joints (an important feature when you’re constantly scootching stitches around and around the needles), but they swivel so that if you’re doing back-and-forth knitting, you don’t have to wrestle with uncoiling long cables each time you switch hands!

Want a crash course in how to use circular needles for an actual circular project?  Sign up for our Beginner’s Hat class — in this class we learn how to use both circular and double-pointed needles, in a single two-hour workshop.

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