Knitting Needle - Types - Circular Needles

Circular Needles

The new type of needle is the circular needle, a long, flexible double-pointed needle that can be used for both flat and circular knitting. The two tapered ends (typically 5 inches (13 cm) long) are rigid and straight, allowing for easy knitting, and are connected by a flexible strand (usually nylon) that allows the two ends to be brought together. Circular needles can be found in lengths from 9 inches (23 cm) to 40 inches (100 cm). Special kits are available that allow circular needles of various lengths and diameters to be made as needed; rigid ends of various diameters may be screwed into strands of various lengths. The ability to work from either end of one needle is convenient in several types of knitting, such as slip-stitch versions of double knitting. The two ends are used exactly like two needles, in the sense that the knitter holds one in each hand and knits as if having two. The advantages of using circular needles are that the weight of the fabric is more evenly distributed and therefore less taxing on the arms and wrists of the knitter, and also that there is more manoeuvrability of the fabric and needles without fear of the stitches falling off the needles, an occasional occurrence when using double-pointed needles.

Numerous techniques have been devised for the production of narrow tubular knitting on circular needles. One common method is to use two needles in place of the four or five double-pointed needles traditionally used, while a newer technique is to use one circular needle that is significantly longer than the circumference of the item being knitted. This technique is known as Magic Loop and has recently become a popular method of producing tubular knitting, as only one needle is required.

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