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Old 01-10-2009, 11:16 PM   #1
SusanH
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Learning to knit with straight or circular needles?
Hello everyone! I'm so new to knitting that I haven't bought any knitting stuff yet. I have ordered a how-to dvd that I should receive next week. I'm going with a dvd because we have slow dial-up and it's so frustrating to try to watch online video clips.

Does a person need to use straight needles while learning to knit? Or is it possible to learn on circular needles? Is the technique different for each? It seems many of you love using circular needles. After doing much looking around, I think I want to get Harmony needles. They're just so beautiful!

I'm so glad I found this website, especially the forum. Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:30 PM   #2
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You can learn on circulars, and you can use them the same way you do straight ones. When you get to the end of the row, just swap the needle ends to the other hands just like straights and knit the next row.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:30 PM   #3
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No, you don't need to learn on straights. I honestly don't see a reason to even bother with them. A set of circulars gives you the flexibility to do any type of knitting, so you end up saving money in the end.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:31 PM   #4
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For straight knitting, you can use circulars or straights. For knitting in the round, you can only use circulars. Also, with circulars, the weight of the fabric you create as you knit is distributed more evenly over the cable, so it is much easier on your hands and wrists. Finally, with circulars, there are varying cable lengths so the number of stitches that you can have on the needle will vary widely. You can only fit so many stitches on the needles.

You can use your learn to knit DVD with circular needles because the technique is the same as with straight needles.

Having said all that, your DVD will probably have you starting off with small pieces of knitting, so I'd recommend getting a short circular (16") to start out with, because you might find one with a longer cable "fiddly" to work with for a smaller piece. But I think you should start off with the circs!
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:42 PM   #5
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When knitting something flat, I think a 16" is too short. It works well for hats and things in the round, but for flat knitting the cord really isn't long enough. A 24" is great for flat scarves.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:05 AM   #6
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Circular or Straight
I learned to knit when I was 8 or 9 on circular needles. Currently, I'm teaching my little sister-in-law how to knit, at first we started on circular needles but that seemed to confuse her because of the extra attachment. I think it just depends on your comfortableness with circular needles. I love working on circulars because it was easy for me and more flexible. Good luck!
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:38 AM   #7
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Wow! Thanks for the responses. I'm glad to know I can learn with circular needles. The part about them being easier on your hands and wrists is a big plus for me.

I plan to make a scarf as my first project. How do you know what length cable to use for flat projects? It seems part of it is preference, but what else do you go by? For example, if I plan to make a scarf that is 8" wide, how much extra cable space is needed?

Thanks again!
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:02 AM   #8
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Theoretically, it doesn't matter. You could probably do that on a 16", but the needles take up at least half that length so it may be difficult to work with them curved. I'd get 24 or 29" those are pretty versatile lengths and the cord's not too long as to get in the way.
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:36 PM   #9
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I agree on the 24 inch cable. 16 inch is hard to use when knitting flat, but they are great for hats in the round.
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Old 01-24-2009, 02:38 AM   #10
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Maybe someone can direct me to another thread for this...?

I stumbled across a comment a few days ago about what length circular needles you need for certain projects, but of course can't find it. What I'm wondering is : does the length of the cable have to be exactly the same as the circumference of what you're knitting?
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