Q: pattern and circular needles?

Carol_AnnOctober 16, 2007

I want to make this shawl for my mom: comfort shawl. I have a question: the pattern calls for circular needles. Can I use straight needles instead? I've used circular needles and I know a lot of people love using them, but I don't... just want to know if I'll complicate things by doing this on straight needles. I'm guessing it will so I'll just have to bite the bullet and buy more but I thought I'd ask the experts first.

Thanks!

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donna_loomis

It's not absolutely necessary that you use a circular needle, but you may find it difficult to fit the 213 stitches you will end up all on one straight needle. If you could find some flex needles that are long enough, that might work. Otherwise, as you say, you may just have to bite the bullet and use the circulars.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 11:36AM
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Carol_Ann

LOL -- I completely missed the 213 stitches -- guess that answers that question! Under those circumstances I think I'll be happier with the circulars. Thanks, Donna, for taking the time to look at this and see what I couldn't!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 11:50AM
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donna_loomis

You're welcome.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 12:14PM
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sheilajoyce_gw

You could always switch to straight needles when it is decreased in the number of stitches enough to do so.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 8:44PM
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donna_loomis

Except that it starts at the smaller end. So, you could use the straights to start off with and just switch to the circulars when there are too many stitches to handle on the straights.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 10:53PM
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peaches12345

I hated circs the first time I tried them, but now I won't use anything else. Everything seems so heavy on straights. Maybe you are not used to circs yet?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:04AM
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threejsmom

There are additional advantages to doing a shawl on circulars. When it gets larger, the weight is evenly distributed on the cables and minimized on your wrists. If you use a long cable you can also spread out the stitches to check for mistakes or dropped stitches or count more easily.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:07AM
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donna_loomis

Carol Ann, is it possible that one of the reasons you don't like circulars is that there isn't as much needle to hold onto? I've heard that from others who say they don't like circulars. If so, take a look at some different brands than the one's you've used. Some of them have longer needles and might be more comfortable for you to work with.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 11:33AM
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Carol_Ann

Donna, that's exactly it -- I'm used to having more space for my fingers -- I bought new ones this morning (I needed a new size anyway) that are longer so maybe I'll like these better. And as others mentioned, it's also partly not being used to them... I know there are some good advantages with circulars. Maybe this shawl will get me over the hump with them! Thanks, everyone!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 11:42AM
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Carol_Ann

OK -- one more thing I don't like about circulars, which I remembered when I started swatching this afternoon with my new ones -- I don't like the way the cable is kind of stiff and never seems to loop the way I want it to. Seems like it's a regular battle to keep it out of my way and sometimes it gets tangled up in the yarn when I finish a row and swap needles in my hands to start a new row... I tried soaking the cable briefly in very warm water to get the extra loop out and that helped but it still has the curve from a loop in it and just seems to get in my way. (Is this making sense?)

Any advice?....

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 4:58PM
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donna_loomis

Advice, yes, but probably not the kind you want to hear. I have mostly bamboo (Clover) circulars. And they aren't really a problem for me in the longer lengths. But the shorter lengths seem somehow "obstinate" to me. They don't want to curve in quite the direction I want them to. I have spent more money than I would like on a few pair of Addi needles, but they are so much more "cooperative", if you get my drift. I also brought some sweet circulars for socks from KnitPicks online and they, too, are a dream to work with. So, my advice is, do a little research and probably pay a little more for your needles (though that goes against everything in me) and you'll probably be much happier.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 7:05PM
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Carol_Ann

Thanks, Donna. I don't mind spending more on needles if there's a reason -- and it looks like there is :)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 7:41AM
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threejsmom

There are several brands with nice flexible cables. Knitpicks, that Donna mentioned, has interchangeable metal and wood needles with a great cord and the prices are very reasonable. You can buy one or two pairs and the cords separately to try them out. Addis and Hiya Hiya metal needles also have very flexible cords. If you prefer plastic, the Bryspun circulars have a nice cord. What length needle are you using? Some of the shorter lengths like 16 inches have shorter needles or a bend to allow you to knit without straining your wrists. Now I just buy the 40 inch ones which allow me to do Magic Loop for knitting in the round as well as flat knitting. The needle portion is about 5 inches on the Addis and Hiyas, maybe a little shorter on the Knitpicks.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 1:45PM
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