Circular needles

These are actually short rigid plastic or metal needles joined together with a length of bendable plastic. The needles come in a range of five length sizes, from 40cm to 100cm, and in the usual range of needle width sizes.

They are used to knit garments in the round and their only limitation is that the garment has to have a 40cm or wider circumference; anything smaller will need to stretch to meet up and will be better suited to knitting on a set of four needles. Examples of this would be gloves, socks and baby leggings.

To knit a tube cast on the required number of stitches. Hold the needle with the last cast-on stitch on the right and join the circle by knitting into the first cast-off stitch on the left needle. Keep the yarn taut, as shown in Figure 3.16, as you bridge the gap and the join will not be obvious. All rounds are worked as knit but appear as stocking stitch on the outside of the tube. To knit garter stitch all rows must be worked as purl.

Circular needles can be used in the conventional way as shown in Figure 3.17 (knitting then turning at the end of the row). When knitting very wide garments such as bedspreads, the plastic wire can hold about four times the number of stitches that a rigid needle would. It also allows the weight of the knitting to rest in your lap instead of being supported on the needles. This is something you will only really appreciate when you take on a large project, such as a throw.

figure 3.15 Knitting on four needles

Circular Knitting Needles

figure 3.16 Using circular needles to knit in the round

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