Circular needles are made of two knitting needle tips approximately 5 inches
long and connected to each other by a flexible cord. The cord length
can vary from 16" to about 50". The needle tips are made of plastic, metal, wood, or
bamboo. The cords on most new needles are made of flexible nylon. In the past, the cords
were made of twisted wire which sometimes caught on the stitches and gave circulars
a bad name. Now the cords have smooth joins that won't snag your knitting.
Your choice of circular needle tips will probably be related to the type of
material you like in straight needles. An exception is that many people who don't
like metal single pointed knitting needles do like the Addi Turbo circular needles for
their speed, their smooth and tangle free cords and their comfortable to hold tips.
For a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of various types
of needle tips, see last week's article on Knitting Needle
Although circulars let you knit in the round, they can also be used to
knit back and forth. Again, the reason you might want to
do this is to allow the weight of the knitting to rest in your lap. When you are knitting
something that is quite wide, such as a shawl, circulars are indispensable because
straight needles are too short to hold all the stitches. Circulars can also
be used to knit in the round on a small scale, such as
Whatever you choose, do try knitting with different types of needles so that you
can make up your own mind. If you are in the middle of an episode of pain from Carpal
Tunnel Syndrome, Arthritis, or Tendonitis, however, I heartily recommend that you try
knitting with circular needles. Your hands and wrists will thank you!
Please check back next week for more helpful Knitting Tips from the Guru.