I was helping a friend cast on for an icelandic sweater this weekend. She is an experienced knitter, but has not been knitting for the past couple of years. I was surprised to learn that she has never used a circular needle to knit in the round. As I was expressing all the reasons I prefer circular needles for almost all my knitting, it occurred to me that some of you may not be aware of the benefits of using circular needles and knitting in the round. Listed below are the reasons I love using circular needles and knitting in the round.
- I never have to worry about stopping in the middle of a row. I am always knitting when I have a free moment. I will pick up my knitting even if I only have 2 or 3 spare minutes. On straight needles, it’s hard to put your knitting down except after completing a row. When knitting in the round, I’m essentially never in the middle of a row where I have to worry about my stitches coming off the needle. I can stop and restart at any point in the round without worrying about losing stitches.
- My needles don’t stick out so far to the side. This feature is especially important when I’m knitting in close quarters, like on an airplane. Straight needles tend to poke out farther laterally than a circular needle. I’ve also found circular needles work better in a cozy recliner where the straight needles often hit the cushion on the side of the chair.
- You’re always knitting on the right side. That means in stockinette stitch, every stitch is knit. I don’t mind purling , but my tension is never perfectly matched between knit and purl stitches. When I knit stockinette in the round, I find the tension is more consistent. Always knitting on the right side also helps me spot and correct errors more quickly as I can constantly see my evolving project from the right side as I knit.
- I don’t have to keep track of the nonworking needle. Have you ever had your nonworking needle fall out of your bag? I have, and it’s a very frustrating situation. I’ve always been able to find the needle (usually in my car) but sometimes can’t continue my knitting right away until I locate the missing needle.
I hope my friend, and some of you, will give come to enjoy circular needles like I do.