Are Circular Knitting Needles Good For Beginners? - Darn Good Yarn

Are Circular Knitting Needles Good For Beginners?

Written by Alyssa Scott

Knitting is a fascinating craft in which interlocking loops of yarn are strategically created in order to form a fabric. The simple magic of knitting happens when a person uses a couple of pointy sticks to form those interlocking loops. This whole process might seem complex, but knitting can be one of the most relaxing parts of your day especially if you are using the right tools for the job!Types of knitting needles and their uses:There are a few different types of knitting needles and each can be incredibly useful in certain situations, while using the wrong one can cause a bit of a headache.

Straight Needles

On a single knitting needle are a few rows of variegated blue yarn. A wooden gauge marker rests on the finished piece, and a working strand of yarn, making a heart, rests above the piece.

Straight needles have a single point on one end as well as a stopper at the other so none of your stitches could fall off the back of the needle. You might sometimes see these referred to as single pointed needles.

This type of needle is useful for knitting flat pieces of fabric, and cannot be used for working in the round. The constraint of this type of needle comes in the size of the fabric it could create, the length of the needle dictates the size of fabric that can be created. Trying to shove too many stitches onto a set of straight needles can be a bit of a pain to handle and it may cause some wonky tension in your final piece.Straight needles can be very useful for the style of knitting in which the knitter anchors one needle at the hip or under the arm while forming stitches onto that needle.<

Jumper Needles

Jumper needles are similar to straight needles in that they have a single point as well as a stopper at one end. Jumper needles are also great for working on flat pieces of knit fabric, but not for working in the round. Jumper needles have one major difference to address the constraint of the size of the fabric that can be created. A jumper needle is almost a cross between straight needles and circular needles. At one end is the point of the needle, but the other features a cord with a stopper.The cords on this pair of needles allow the stitches to gather without being deformed. This also allows the knitter to move their needles without having to deal with the weight of the rest of the project while working some of their live stitches. 

Double Pointed Needles

On a dark table, a printed white paper pattern is placed underneath a skein of teal ribbon yarn, which is worked onto 4 DPNs

Double pointed needles are often short, with two pointed ends, and are used for knitting in the round. They can also be used for slat knitting as long as the knitter is watching carefully for any stitches that might have dropped off one end. Double pointed needles are often used for small circumference knitting such as socks, the fingers of a glove, amigurumi, or the icord technique.A set of double pointed needles usually contains 4-6 needles which are used together in order to allow the knitter to approach circular sections of knitting with ease. Some people can find double pointed needles intimidating or scary because they do not have stoppers to prevent stitches from falling off the edge. One way to avoid dropping stitches while using circular needles is to make sure you don’t have too many stitches on a single needle, rather that all stitches are evenly distributed among the needles.Longer double pointed needles can also be used for a style of knitting traditionally from Scotland in which a knitting belt is used to help anchor one needle at the hip while the other needle forms stitches onto it with the other needle.

Circular Needles

On a furry white rug sits a coffee cup on a wooden coaster, and a hand holding onto a pair of circular knitting needles, which has a blue and teal yarn worked up onto it.

Circular knitting needles are a pair of single pointed needles with a connecting cord attached to the back end of each needle. This forms what looks like one long needle with a flexible cord in the center. The size of the needles and length of the cord can vary based on what the knitter is looking for.

There are many techniques which can be explored when knitting with circular needles, knitting in the round is one of the more popular techniques to use, but flat knitting and small circumference knitting are also achievable with a set of circulars.

You may be wondering if circular knitting needles are good for beginners, and the answer varies based on the style of knitting preferred by the knitter as well as the effect they are looking to create. Most knitters will find it convenient and easy to work with circular knitting needles. I use circular needles with most of my projects, whether they are knit flat or in the round. Since the needles are connected by a cord, it’s impossible to lose one of them behind the couch or at the bottom of a project bag.

Meet the Author

Close up of the author, Alyssa Scott wearing a magenta top, a black cardigan and one of the prettiest smiles you've ever seen!.

Alyssa began working at Darn Good Yarn in the spring of 2021. She has been knitting and crocheting as a hobby since childhood. Alyssa graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies, with a minor in Social Justice