View Full Version : Newbie Knitter - Which needles for small diameter?

11-23-2007, 06:29 PM
I am just learning to knit and bought a pattern to make wool longies (wool pants) which my son will wear over his cloth diapers.

The pattern calls for:
Size 8 16" circular for the body of the pants and size 8 12" or double Pointed needles for the legs and using worsted weight wool yarn

What is the easiest method for knitting small diameters, like legs for my toddlers pants?

And what needles would you buy if you were first starting out?

What other knitting items would you say are an essential?

My husband is buying me some knitting supplies for Christmas.:woot:

Help me spend his money!

11-23-2007, 07:40 PM
I think the easiest, especially for a beginner, is to use two circular needles. So you can buy a 16 inch and a longer such as a 24 inch which will also be useful for other projects.

There is a nice primer on this here: http://www.az.com/~andrade/knit/twocirculars.html

11-24-2007, 01:24 AM
Q- What is the easiest method for knitting small diameters, like legs for my toddlers pants?

A- Personally, I dont like DPN's, I exclusively use the Magic Loop method for small diameter knitting. It does the same job as double pointed needles, but its MUCH easier to do if your just beginning. There is a wonderfully helpful video on the Magic Loop topic on this site: http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/advanced-techniques

I love Magic Loop, I wouldnt be without it :D


Q- And what needles would you buy if you were first starting out?

A- I say, dont bother with straight needles. Circular needles do just the same job and are much more comfortable to work with, but try both and see what you like best.

US Size: 7 (4.5mm) Is the needle I use for most of what I knit.
US Size: 8 (5mm) Second most used needle, for me.
US Size: 9 (5.5mm) Handy for doing bulkier yarns.

OR, if you wanted him to spend lots on you, splash out and get a set of Knitpicks Options needles *drools a little*
Its a fancy set of interchangeable circular needles that can also be used as straight needles, its a beautiful set!


Q- What other knitting items would you say are an essential?
* Stitch markers (buy some small curtain rings or just tie a piece of wool in a circle to start with).
* Small tape measure.
* Tapestry (or other large) needle.
* Knitting needle guage, should be in your hand bag at all times incase you come across a second hand shop and find some cheap needles and need to know their size.
* Crochet hook, for fixing dropped stitches and other stuff.

Thats what I had in my knitting box when I started out. Over time ive added much more stuff, most of it I dont need lol.

Im sure other people out there can add to this list :)

... Good luck!

11-24-2007, 11:54 AM
And I'll chime in that I would use DPN's and forgo the smaller circs all together. It's a matter of preference and sometimes what you learned first. DPN's don't scare me and I don't have any problem using them.

11-24-2007, 12:13 PM
I love DPN's once you get used to them there is nothing to be afraid of!!

11-24-2007, 12:16 PM
I think you will want size 5 and 6, too, because you need smaller needles for ribbing than for stockinette with the same yarn. That will probably do to start with, but if you want to use thinner yarn later you will need some smaller needles, I use sizes 3 and 4 quite often, with 2 for ribbing.

Magic loop is pretty much like using two circular needles, except it only uses one, but it needs to be a longer one, you can't do it with 16 inch, and I don't think 24 inch works very well either.

11-24-2007, 12:36 PM
I've done hats and sleeves with 24" though I don't use the regular magic loop. Years ago I found that by pushing the sts more toward the left needle and leaving the right one free, I could do small diameters with a longer needle, sort of half a ML. 29-32" works a little better though.

11-24-2007, 06:38 PM
Thanks for responding!

Ok I think I am now leaning toward using Magic Loop for the legs. I bought a new pattern that recommends magic looping both legs at the same time. I like the idea of doing both at the same time.

I figure it will be easy to get the legs the same length that way and if I am using a colorway it might knit up more evenly.

So now I need to figure out if I should just ask for the a Size 3 and 9 16", Size 9 interchangable needle and 40" cable.


Harmony Option sets and the 16" needles and 40" cable.

Can I use the Harmony set on most other projects? Can I justify it if I am just starting out?

11-24-2007, 08:16 PM
The harmony set is the same, except that it is wood and less slick. You can use it on anything you want. I think it is very justifiable. It's more fun knitting with pretty needles, right? (They are both pretty, actually.)