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Old 09-06-2007, 12:33 AM   #1
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buying needles
I bought whatever needles last time I was in town (we live in the country), and now I'm looking for needles I can do patterns with! I have been looking at online patterns to learn new skills, but they require dpns or circular or longer needles. I don't just want to make dishcloths!

I will look online (I'm in Australia so will look for stores here) but want to know what I should get? Are the circulars with interchangeable points good, or do the points fall out or catch the yarn at the joins?

Also looking for dpns what are the common sizes? What's a good size to start with to make the baby sock pattern on the video?

And straight needles- do I even need them if I have a long circular? Can you do straight knitting on circulars? I want to make a sweater for my baby.

And Do I need cable needles?

What is a stitch holder? I see it in many patterns.

Sorry if this has been asked and answered before, I did a bit of a search and couldn't find it.
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:58 AM   #2
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You can do straight knitting on circulars. The only difference is that when you come to the end of the row, you don't join. You just turn the work around like you would on straight needles. I would still keep your straight needles, though.

For common sizes of DPN's, that's a tough one for me because I see patterns that call for all different sizes. I think it also depends on what it is you're going to knit with them. If you plan on knitting a lot of socks, I'd go with a smaller size. For circulars, I personally prefer bamboo, but I hear a lot of people here just rave about Knit Picks Options. I've never used the KnitPicks Options, so I can't really give my opinion on them (although Christmas is coming and I may be hinting to DH to get me a set of Options ). I had some of the Boye Needlemaster Interchangeable Needles, but I didn't care for them. If you're looking for a common length, I'd go with the 29 inch length first.

You might want a cable needle if you feel like you want to try to knit cables.

You don't have to get stitch holders. You can thread a bit of waste yarn through your stitches to hold them and keep them live.
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Several dishcloths

Last edited by annomalley : 09-06-2007 at 05:51 PM. Reason: Added that I have never used the Options set.
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Waggus (09-06-2007)
Old 09-06-2007, 09:23 AM   #3
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A lot of people here like the interchangeable points sets. I've just bought a lot of plain old circular needles. I started with Addi Turbos (available worldwide, I'm pretty sure) and have added different lengths (36" for afghans, 16" for hats) and some metal and some bamboo. Some yarns are slipperier than others and the bamboo works great for the most "slippy" ones.

DPNs: if you want to do socks/with sock yarn look for dpns around 2mm (go up a few sizes, too). You can also do socks with DK weight or worsted weight yarn, and you'll want larger sizes for those (US sizes 4 or so for DK, and 7 or so for worsted).

Straight needles - you can do straight knitting on circulars, but there are times when I prefer straight needles. I can knit faster with straights, actually, so I often use them when I'm not knitting in the round. It's all a matter of personal preference. I do suggest, though, that if you're buying US 15s or 17s, to keep in mind that the long ones do end up feeling like you're knitting with trees. For the large sizes circulars might actually be better (though I'm not getting rid of my straights).

You can use a dpn for a cable needle, if you want. I like to have a cable needle, though, particularly since they're pretty cheap.

A stitch holder looks like a giant safety pin. Get a few of these in various sizes. Some sweater patterns use up to 3 of them. These are a definite for your shopping list. (I see my advice is opposite to annomalley's. I much prefer having stitch holders to not having them.)
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:25 AM   #4
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I don't use stitch holders much, I usually use another circular to hold the stitches. But sometimes I run out because I've got knitting on all of them...
sue- knitting heretic

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Old 09-06-2007, 11:00 AM   #5
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I'm a big fan of the Options needle set - you buy on line from Knit Picks. I think you'll find a lot of people around here are. The advantages are that you always have all needle sizes, and you don't need stitch holders, you just use the cables as holders (they come with stoppers to screw on the ends) and then you just put needle tips back on them when you are ready to knit those stitches.

I have never liked stitch holders as I have found they pull on my knitting and I used to use scrap yarn instead - it's' gentler. Of course, the fact that I would stuff the stitch holders as much as possible might have had something to do with the pulling!
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:27 PM   #6
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Can I use the Options set to do magic loop knitting? For socks? Or don't the tips come small enough? I notice they sell in small sizes and large, if you don't want to buy the whole set at once. I see the North Country baby sock uses 4mm dpns or 3.75.

Thanks for the help so far! I know I will have to spend money, but of course don't want to spend more than is necessary!
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