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Are You Straight or Circular?

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Are You Straight or Circular?

Most people have a preferred type of knitting needle.  We’re wondering, what’s your preference and why?  Do you tend to use one over the other?  What are the pros and cons of each?

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  • I like straight needles most of the time, but I’ve recently begun to prefer working with circular needles. The biggest advantage to using circular for me is never having to dig around in my bag for the other needle. With circular needles, I feel less disorganized. Another great perk – I can cram myself into tiny spaces, or wrap up under blankets in the cold weather while using circular needles without worrying that my ends will get caught on a throw blanket or disrupt the person sitting next to me.

  • I like both equally, depending on the project. I use circulars more than straights these days, though.

  • Circulars. You don’t lose half the set, the ends don’t catch on things, and they fit easily into tote bags.
    I only use my straights to cast on, or because my brittany straights have pointier tips which is good for working lace in cotton yarns.

  • HOORAY FOR CIRCULAR NEEDLES!! I have short arms and straight needles are uncomfortable for me to use ’cause they make my arms very tired. I always seem to lose/misplace one. With circulars I never have that problem ’cause they are always attached to my knitting.

  • I like the circular needles when knitting a big project like a sweater because it can hold many stitches. That is the huge advantage of using circular needles.

  • I always use circular needles. I can use them for any project so it saves having to buy 2 of the same size. I also feel my hands stay more relaxed with the circular needles, somehow my hands get tired really fast when using straight needles.

  • I use circulars almost exclusively. I got a set of circulars with interchangeable tips about 10 years ago and never looked back. I think I only own maybe two or three pairs of straight needles in some random sizes, but I do have every size of DPN known to man. If I could figure out how to easily bind off the top of a hat using a single circular, I probably wouldn’t even have any DPNs….

  • I much prefer circulars. They take up way less space. Also, since the weight of whatever I’m knitting rests in my lap (instead of on my wrists), I tend to knit faster with circulars than straights.

    Since DPNs are technically straights, I must say that I prefer DPNs to small circumference knitting on circulars. While I know how to work Magic Loop, I just find it not as much fun as DPNs.

  • I learned how to knit on straights, but I haven’t used them since. Circulars fit more easily into project bags, you can’t lose one of the set, and turning the work is much easier, for me anyway.

    I love using two circulars to finish small circumference projects. Half the needles, so half the ladders to worry about and I can knit faster when I don’t have to constantly change the working needle!

  • Circular needles mostly – I can’t knit with straight if my cat is awake, she thinks the non-working end is a great toy moving all around for her to catch. I also agree with Carly about working in small spaces. They store easy in small tote bags, working two pieces at the same time (fronts, sleeves) or no-seem sweaters. I love circular needles.

  • Wow – looks like I’m in good company with Circular Sets. I like that I can drop but not lose one needle, and the length is easier on my wrists. The weight of a large project carried on one long needle causes me fatigue, and less knitting time.

    I’ll use Brittney DPN’s for really small circular knitting, but mostly use bamboo circ’s or a circ set (Boye’s or Denise’s). I’d kill for the new Addi set of circs, but it’s not in the budget until I win the Lottery. (Wish me luck!)

  • I use only circulars, even for smaller projects like knitted dishcloths. I just sent all of my straight needles (13 or 14 sets) along with some yarn to a group called Girls, Inc. in Santa Fe (and other cities). I do use dpn’s when I get to a small circumference, such as a hat. I also like the fact you don’t lose stitches off the end of the needle when putting it away or getting it out of your knitting bag.

  • Definitely circular! They are so much more versatile and handy to carry around.

  • I like circular the best. You can do both back and forth and circular knitting with them. And, importantly, when you travel (or knit at stoplights like I do–every stich counts!)you don’t run the risk of losing one of your needles.

    Of course, they’re not as pretty, given some of the beautiful straight needles available today. But in terms of practicality, circular can’t be beat.

  • I’m a circular girl–definitely! Ergonomically, they’re much easier on my hands, as the piece’s weight is evenly distributed across both hands.

  • Circulars all the way! I gave up straights about 10 years ago and will never go back. I love having the weight of a big project positioned so that most of it rests in my lap.

  • Circular for me too, for all of the great reasons that have already been said.

  • I love knitting period, so working with both straight and circular needles is fine with me. I tend to resort to circular needles for numerous reasons. They are normally lighter in weight, I have less chance of loosing stitches and they fit in a carry-all very nicely. I enjoy the bamboo circular needles. I also like working with double point needles.

  • I prefer circular needles. They feel more comfortable in my hands. I also have less problems dropping stitches.

  • I’m going against the grain here but I prefer straights for the speed aspect. I learned on straights and find circulars quite frusrtating at times as I like to knit fast and I throw so that makes a difference for me. I’m a pit knitter and shove the needle under my right arm & go – I just can’t seem to get the same speed up with circulars.

    I do agree with others about not having a problem with a lost needle with circulars – a definite bonus!

  • I prefer the circular needles,as I do a lot of my work in the car, and I don’t loose my needles when using the circular needles. Also I have a universal needle set, and don’t need to carry a lot of needles around with me.

  • Circulars! With the straights I always felt like I was flapping my chicken wings. The knitting is compact and easily transported. Plus, I only need one 47″ circular of each size to cover my normal knitting needs. I also prefer magic loop to DPNs – no more pulling out the wrong needle, no more dropped stitches and no more having a needle with 3 stitches on it dropping out and onto the floor or into the chair and having to play fetch. Plus I can knit faster using magic loop than I can having to shift DPNs around.

  • love the circs! easier on the wrists, easier to keep track of, easier to use and pack around. i work off the tips; it’s easier to throw the yarn, much faster working, too. recently learned magic loop — wow!

  • I LOVE Circular needles. What are magic loops? Where can I find 47″ bamboo circs?
    I use circs for everything.
    The only time I use DPN’s is for small items or hats. I have a pair of size 15 or 17 straights that I used a few times for a loose knit type scarf, but otherwise my straights just sit in the draw waiting………though I have not idea what they are waiting for. I really should pass them on to someone who can use them.

  • I swing both ways, kinky or straight! Even do a 4-some or a 5-some on occasion!

  • I usually use bamboo circulars. They are much kinder to my arthritic hands and wrist. For some projects I like Balene short,straight needles. The flex helps with some patterns.

  • When I learned to knit, I didn’t even know circulars existed! Today, I use whatever needles are at hand, be they straights, dpns, or circs.
    I prefer slick metal ones most of the time, but when my hands get cold, old plastic or wood, or new bamboo ones are good. Slippery yarns or crochet thread works better on bamboo or plastic needles, too.
    Any project that travels around in the car is on circulars; they’re just safer. Besides, you can’t drop one down under the seat.
    I have given away all my needles that do not have really pointy tips; I tried using the ones with nearly round tips, and they just do not work for me. I later read somewhere that tight knitters are better off on pointy tips; as much as I’ve worked on loosening up my death-grip, I am still not a loose knitter.

  • Circulars are my needle of choice for nearly every project, except socks. I still prefer dpns for socks. Also use them for starting hats or other circular shapes, but switch to circs as soon as possible. For me, they are far more comfortable and I can’t see going back to straight needles again.

  • I prefer circular needles, and have a set of interchangeable circulars with most of the sizes included. I like the fact that I don’t have to look for the second needle in my bag, it’s not as easy for my grandchildren to get hurt with my needles, and I can take them on a plane. They don’t take up as much space when you are in close quarters. I teach knitting, and have taught my granddaughter (8). She also prefers circulars because she is always losing one of her straights.

  • I prefer straight needles as I was taught to knit with one needle tucked underneath my right arm.
    I can knit with circulars but my knitting speed slows down to a crawl when I do.
    I adjust patterns wherever possible to use pairs as I knit so much faster that way.

  • I love circular needles. They scared me before I’d used them, but now I would rather use them than straights. For the practical reasons above, also because when I am knitting (with straights) on the bus to work I am in the habit of finishing a row and then promptly dropping the empty needle. Circulars means I avoid this with the resulting embarrassing scrabble on the floor…

  • I prefer circular needles to straight ones. For me, they are easier to manage whether the project is flat or in the round and no matter the # of stitches. I use magic loop and normally do not use short circulars for that reason.

  • I still use both…but prefer Circular, esp. for beginning of socks, which I love to knit, along with hats. Great invention those circulars! Handling 5 straights are nearly impossible for my “older” hands. Kate

  • I have a pattern for sweaters done with circular needles. You basically knit three tubes. The armholes are actually cut (with scissors!) into the knitted body before the shoulder are attached. It doesn’t unravel because you sew a very narrow U-shape before you cut. Then the tubular sleeve is set in. This also works for cardigans – just cut up the middle than apply the button band. It does make for a plan crew neck sweater but I knit them in fair aisle. Its very fast and great for kids’ sweaters.

  • I use circulars all the time. Never use straight needles anymore since circulars can be used if the pattern ‘calls for’ straight needles.
    However, if DPNs are considered ‘straights’, then I do use ‘straights’/4 DPNs for knitting socks and part of knitting hats.

  • I have used both types of needles and I prefer straights. I’m not a real experienced knitter, and as I get further into this fun, fun, journey I may use circular more. One huge advantage to the circular over the straights is, my three year old doesn’t tamper with my project as much. It’s awfully discouraging to see him walking around with one of my straight needles.

  • I use the straight to cast on but prefer the circular for all the obvioius reasons given in the other replies. I found the small circular easier to use when making helmet liners for the troops instead of 4 double pointed needles.

  • It depends on the project, yarn and what I feel like at the time! I prefer straight needles, though. I’ve made only one afghan on circular needles, but that is about it. I prefer making sweaters and small garments. Also I like the straight needles to be a short as possible!

  • I have tons of knitting needles but I gravitate to circulars if I can. I shop thrift stores all the time and always find the straight needles but rarely see circulars I often wonder why.

  • I am only circular. I learned knitting on straights but circular came out shortly after I learned and I have never use straights since. I bought circulars. You can make everything on circulars including two socks at the same time.

  • I definitely prefer DPN for knitting in the round! I guess I’d prefer a circular for bigger pieces, but I stick to hats, mitts or socks when knitting in the round. The DPN’s just have a neat rhythm to them when going around and around.

  • I prefer straights and DPNs. I can’t stand circular needles and only use them when I absolutely have to because I don’t have the right size in DPNs or the project is too big for them.

  • I prefer round needles. When I am watching T.V. from my armchair, straight needles have a habit of catching on the arms of my chair and I find myself sitting in awkward positions to accommodate them.

  • I prefer circular needles if it’s anything more than, say, 100 stitches cast on. I just don’t like having to bunch the stitches up on the needle and feel like there’s a better chance that they’ll all fly off if I do that.

  • I use circular needles just about all the time. I make a lot of larger items (shawls, afghans, etc.), and it’s nice to not have to cram the stitches on the needle. Even whn I’m working on smaller things, I like the flexibility of the circulars, not having to worry about poking a neighbor and such!

  • I have learned knitting on straight needles when I was 5 years old . In Holland people only knit with straight needles. The last couple of wears circulair needles became more common . I have tried knitting on circulairs but I am not to comfortable with it yet. Though I find it les straing on the neck and shoulder .
    I thing I will use the circulair needle as a alternative.

  • Like a lot of you, I learned to knit on straight needles (size 3 at that, because that was the only size my mom had). I still use straights for most of my knitting and dpns for smaller things. However, I have been doing a good deal of fair isle work lately and find that the circulars are best for that type of work, as they simplify the color changes. Thus I would say that my choice of needles depends on the specific project. The circulars are certainly best for travel, though.

  • Circular Always. I have some beautiful straight needles, but now if I use them I don’t like it. They are awkward, hitting the sides of my chair. With circs I also don’t have to worry about losing one of the needles.

  • I love circular needs for “heavy projects” with lots of stitches that would weigh down the ends of straight needles. A tip: I use a permanent marker to make narrow “rings” of color anywhere on the clear portion of the circular needle, one band of color to indicate size [4 rings on a size 4 circular needle, for instance]. Then the size of any circular needle not in its original package can easily be seen at a glance.
    Has anyone found a good way to straighten the clear portion when it has a “mind of its own” and wants to curl?” Hot water doesn’t always do it for me.

  • I prefer circular needles over straight because I like the portability. My work can collaspe and be taken just about anywhere without fear of losing stitches. Also, I can work on bigger projects or those that require more stitches than a straight needle will afford me. I still break out the straight needles every once in a while when I have a project that can stay at home.

  • Though I learned on straight needles, now I always knit on circular needles. They are much more comfortable to use, portable, and stitches don’t fall off the needle as easily. I use them regardless of the size of my project!

  • I love circular needles. I only use straight needles when I need double points to finish a project.

  • I convert every pattern to straight if possible. I knit much more rapidly with the right hand needle tucked in. Only if I have a hat or similar project do I fall back to circulars. They just seem too slow and heavy.

  • I use circular needles exclusively. I started on straight needles but found circular needles distribute the weight off the needle and onto the line so your hands don’t fall asleep so much during the night from having to support every stitch.
    However, I have several sets of straight needles that I learned to knit on and am thankful, for those are the needles I let my kids & friends use when I teach them how to knit!

  • I’ve knitted off and on for many years, and since I was taught on straight needles, I knew of only that way. A couple of years ago I joined a knitting group & I think I was the only one using straight needles. At first it was very awkward to use circular needles, but now I love them & use them all of the time.

  • Straight and DP for me. I knit hats and was hoping to read that someone found a place to find longer double pointed needles. Just a bit longer is what I am looking for. I have tried using a circular needle and it really slowed me down and frustrated me;maybe I’m doing it wrong but I love to knit and I’m happy with straight needles.

  • I will always use either 4 needles or circular ones when possible, even if I have to adapt the pattern to that teqhnique, which is not difficult for me. If I had to sew things up they would stay un-sewed probably for the life span of the material !! Circular needles, even if knitting a straight piece, can hold so many more stitchs and the larger size of their “tops” keep your knitting from falling off between sessions. I would not knit mittens or gloves any way but 4 needles, 5 if they were large.

  • I prefer straight needles. I have more control when I use them. I am able to have very consistant stitches. I have tried circular and not had much luck. The main reason; is the way I hold the needles. With circular I am not able to hold them comfortably. If I can not hold them comfortably my stiches are very uneven and my project is very disappointing.

  • Circulars’. I can make them any size I need and if I want to I make them into two needles. I’m also using them with out the cable for a knitted edge thats worked back and forth. The circulars also take the weight of the project off the arms, they are very flexable. Love Love Love them

  • Circulars all the way. I’ve only been knitting (like a maniac) for a year and I’m sold on circulars. One of my favorite places to knit is in the airport, when I travel, and circulars are much less invasive to other people’s space and tidier and easy to fold up when you have to jump on the plane at the last minute.

  • reply for Nila. wanting longer DPN Knit Picks has 8″ DPN

  • I like both well enough. I love circular for knitting in the round, though. Saves so much time and the project weight is not held by your wrists but rather your lap. I do prefer straight needles for small projects, such as scarves, where knitting in the round is not needed.

  • I prefer circular whenever possible even if I’m knitting a flat piece. All of the weight is in front of me which seems to keep my gauge even over the whole piece. It also means I don’t have to change needles if I take it to knit along in the car (straight needles can bump the side or distract the driver). I also use double points since I can’t find circular needles smaller than 0 and I like to make doll clothes.

  • Only use circular…for everything! Best for knitting in the subway, standing up and being jostled! 🙂

  • Circulars! All the reasons already mentioned. I have an interchangeable set. For small stuff I prefer DPNs over two circs though, which for some reason confuses me.

  • Circulars (except for socks, mittens and hats)! A no-brainer for me. I find it easier/faster when the weight of a large work is on your lap, distributed over the length of a cable, rather than weighing you down at your sides with straights. They’re are especially good for travel as they’re more compact and less likely to hit your neighboring airline passenger. Plus, imagine searching around your crampy coach seat when you drop a straight needle on the floor! I’ve lost several straight needles that way. I have a modular circular set with different length cables, so there are less needles to buy in the long run.

  • I use circulars almost exclusively. My elbows stay closer to my body that way and I can knit in the car (while a passenger) with greater ease.

  • I almost exclusively use circulars. I dont hate knitting on straights, but I absolutely abhor sewing and will only do what is absolutely necessary. Just a quirk I guess. But it has gone so far as if I find something I like, but it is on straights, I will pay someone to put it together rather than do it myself, and it has to be something I LOVE!!!!

  • I’m fairly new at knitting and began learning on straight needles, but when introduced to circulars, I fell in love! Not only is it easier for me to maneuver, I tend to get a better stitch for some reason with the circs.

  • I’m definetely straight! I love that you can get alot of stitches on circular but have problems when it moves off the needle and onto the cord. They tangle and drive me crazy. Now I can handle it once I’ve done a few rounds when knitting on the round but other than that I always use straight!

  • I feel so lonely! I exclusively knit with straight needles. I was taught to prop one needle. I knit quickly. I do not drop stitches. I win prizes. I do not use double-pointed or circular because after all these years, I find them awkward!

  • I use both, but as with most of the others, I prefer circs…and for all the same reasons. Except when I’m knitting a lacy border, than I use a pair of short straights. I can’t stand it when the straights get caught on the arms of the chair…that’s why I prefer the circs.

  • I prefer circular over straight. It’s easier to keep the stitches on the needle. also, there is less fatigue when knitting. Having short arms this is a big plus for me. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to straight unless the pattern calls for a third needle.

  • Circular! About the only thing I use don’t use circular for are socks on DPN’s and I’ve ordered more ciruclars in 1 & 2’s so I can use 2 circulars instead:) I find that I can knit almost anywhere with a circular needle and not be at risk for hitting someone sitting next to me with the ends of my needles. I also can loop the 2 ends around each other and not lose any stitches off of my needles during transport. I’m also less likely to lose stitches if I have to stop mid row.

  • Circulars-They are much easier to manipulate especially when making a large piece such as an afghan.

  • Definitely circulars. My knitting doesn’t fall off when I set it down; it’s easier to take with me and the needles do not get in the way. I even use circulars to knit socks-Magic Loop is wonderful and I don’t have the frustration of dealing with all those double points.

  • I agree with Coletta (#70). I taught myself to knit and I have always propped one needle on my thigh while working with the other one. For that reason, I find circular needles to be extremely awkward and slow because I don’t have that firm base for holding up the work that I’m accustomed to. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who’s an “odd” knitter!

  • I prefer circular especially when knitting a throw or afghan. I never worry about the project jumping off the needles.

  • I prefer circular needles. They are more comfortable to use. The needle part is slightly curved and they fit my hand better than straight needles. I can knit the body of a sweater without side seams. I also knit both sleeves at the same time. This insures that the increase/decrease stitches are the same on both sleeves.

  • Only circs. They are much more confortable to use and since I knit a lot of one piece afghans (I don’t like to sew…)with the circs I don’t suffer the weight of the work.

  • Well, I am thinking i need to try circulars. Learned on straight and am kinda in beginning stages, having made scarves and hats and a couple of baby blankets. but i have never tried circular. thanks for all the input!

  • I knit a strange variation of continental that leaves the loop facing the wrong way for circular knitting, and it slows me down. I never can remember the name of the way I knit.

    The advantage to the way I knit is that on straight needles, the loop is facing a different direction for knitting and purling and I can feel it and knit without looking.

    But, for knitting on airplanes, circulars work much better and you get less concerned looks from other passengers!

  • I prefer circulars as I have hand/wriet problems and they keep the weight in my lap and are
    easier to handle. I use them for things knit in the round and knit flat

  • I prefer the circular and use them in all my knitting projects. I am an 86 year old knitter and find that the circular are more comfortable. Those little aches that enter into our fingers and hands as we grow older, were the main reason for the change. I do find the circular more manageable.
    Happy knitting Lilian

  • I learned to knit on straight needles over 40 years ago. My mother never used cicular needles or double pointed needles so straight was all I ever knew. A few years ago my son bought me a book of raglan sleeved sweaters and it called for circular needles. I was afraid to even try them but he wanted me to try something different. You know, learn something new every day. So I did and now I’ve re-wrote me sweater pattern for the circular needles because I dont have to sew seams. I seem to finish quicker. They are easier to pack for our trips and yes, I knit in the car while my husband’s driving.

  • I love circular and have 3 kits. I like the metal tips as they are smoother and let me knit faster. I would like more lengths in the kits or to be made available to order. If I can’t get the right length, I use the 4 or 5 dp needles.

    I am making a pair of socks now and have to use the dp needles. I have been spoiled by my circular kits and it seems like it is taking me forever for just one sock.

    Have fun knitting to all
    Karen Simon

  • It looks to me like everyone has already expounded on the advantages of circular needles; and I agree to all. Like a lot of people, I self-taught myself on straight needles ( and tucked under one arm), long before I was aware of circulars. However, I would go one step farther and say that the turbo needles are the best. And since I haven’t accomplished the two sock at a time knitting, I’m still using dpn’s for small in the round
    p.s. I always buy the longest circular when needing to add a new size; or am replacing a bamboo with turbo.

  • I am with the circular crowd. I began on straight and didn’t even know circular needles existed. After retirement, I returned to knitting while riding in the car on long trips. After losing several needles to the mystery land under the car seat, I tried out the “new ” circular needles and fell in love. Sometimes I still use straights to cast on. I do have a problem with the soft part of my bamboo needles. Any way to get rid of the curl?

  • l prefer circular needles. l use the continental style of knitting. l find the circular needles flexible and easy to manage. they are easier to pack up, if you take your knitting with you. l have both types, and sometimes do the ribbing with straight needles, then switch over when starting the body of the pattern. Enjoy the newsletter, and the patterns. thank you.

  • I prefer circular, especially since I discovered knitting from the top down. For sweaters, dresses etc it can’t be beat 🙂

  • I use circulars exclusively. Straights seem so awkward to me now. The closest I get to them is using dpns! Ciculars RULE!

  • I prefer straight needles for the simple fact that I think they have sharper points and go into the stitches much easier. Also I tend to get the cable twisted or get tangled in it when trying to use circulars. Altho it is hard if you have alot of stitches to put on but I still try to use straights.

  • definetly circulars..when i first started knitting i loved the straights then got introduced to circulars and love how they DONT get stuck on my shirts like the straights did lol

  • Circular needles for me. I have been knitting about 2 years and started on straight. I much prefer circular for ease and most of all I do not have to sew the sections together. I am not a good sewer, guess I need more practice. I wish there were more patterns with circular directions. Like sweaters and hats.

  • Circular needles are so much easier to use, unless, of course you’re making socks, mittens or very small object. They also are better for not dropping stitches when you put down your work.

  • Circular! Definitely! Circulars place far less stress on my wrists than straights. I can knit… well, circularly… OR flat with them (can’t do that with straights). I use two circulars for small diameter knitting (rather than several dpns). They never slide out of my projects while in my bag. I never lose one of a matching set. I’ve heard claims that you can’t knit as evenly with circular as with straight, but I, personally, haven’t found that to be true. I love my circular needles! 🙂

  • I was taught to knit by my Italian mother and she always tucked the right needle under her right arm for stability so now I find it hard to work with circulars where all of the motion is in the hands. I like circular needles but I knit faster and neather with straight needles one of which is tucked under my arm just like my mom taught me!

  • Circulars always. I started knitting 60 years ago on straits. Then I discovered circulars about 25 years ago and have stuck with them ever since. I have a shoulder problem and love resting the weight of a large afghan in my lap. The interchangable tips are wonderful.

  • Straight! They allow me to anchor my knitting on my lap in such a way that wrist pain is greatly reduced.

  • I much prefer the circular and the Addi turbos are the best…although I have only 3 of them I would LOVE to have them all but not a lot of “disposable” income in our lives — I am recently new to knitting and find I prefer the circulars. I cast on with the straights or combination of circular and one straight for the cast on I prefer. I am going to look up the “magic loop” others stated as I dislike the dpn — too hard for me to seem to hang onto. I have been doing a lot of baby caps for community service projects so very interested in the “magic loop”.

  • I’d be happy if I could find *either* in sizes smaller than a 2 (US) at Joann’s or Michael’s! They both carry lots of Lion yarn, but very few needles. They are the only stores near me where I can buy knitting supplies. I’d really like to buy locally so I could return if I don’t like them and not have to pay postage! I haven’t tried circs yet, I use DPN’s for socks I knit. I can’t afford to buy 2 circs and find I don’t like them! I agree with other posters though—I would like pointier tips!

    Someday circs—but not until I can try them first!


  • I use circular any and everytime that I can. The less seams I have to sew up the better. It is so easy to add the number of stitches required for a sweater, front(s) and back and then mark the start and knit round and round, or for a cardigan ,knit back and forth. Circular are # 1. I just wish they made them small enough to do the sleeves, I don’t care for 4 needles so I use straight ones for sleeves.

  • I have been a knitter/Crocheter for 50 years, so I have knitted on just about every kind of needles around, even homemade ones. I really do like circular needles best. I don’t have to worry about one needle falling out and loosing it. That has happened. The straight needles seem to just get in my way, especially on very big items. I knit very close to the tips of my needles and the circular ones fit very well in my hands. The interchangable ones are the best. I was just recently given a set of Denise interchangeable knitting needles for christmas. I LOVE them. They are very smooth and I no longer have to have stich holders. They come with sort of built in ones. I still knit very small items on straight needles only because I can not find circulars in the very small sizes.

  • I love my circulars for many reason:

    1) never lose a needle again.
    2) easier on my wrists, which means longer knitting time!
    3) they are more portable, never have to worry about poking the person next to me on the bus or on the couch at home.


  • I like circular needles. I have short arms and the straight needles hit me in the elbows while I’m knitting. Circular needles don’t get in the way.

  • Hello,
    I prefer circular because I don’t have a problem with my wrists & hands when I use them. I have recently been introduced to magic loop knitting it’s great for socks!!

  • I actually don’t have a preference. I like them both (!) depending on the project. Circulars are definitely the best for larger projects like baby afghans and some scarves knitted lengthwise. Wooden circular or straight needles are my favorite for most projects.

  • definately circulars—so much easier on the arms and stitches don’t fall off. I just wish they wouldn’t curl!

  • I prefer circular because I don’t drop a needle when I’m handling my knitting, there is always room for the stitches, and I’m not hitting my elbows or the sides of the chair with the ends of the needles. I have given most of my straight needles away.

  • Ever since I first tried circular needles I loved them. I especially like the kind that I can interchange the size of the needles, which lets me go up or down in size without moving all the stitches onto other needles. This saves time and hassle, plus I can also make some of the projects into a “knitting in the round”, which you cannot do with the straight ones. One more thing I like about them is I can take my knitting project along to work on while waiting for an appointment or even on an airplane, without having knitting needles being intrusive to the person sitting next to me.

  • I knit exclusively on circulars especially since I learned the Magic Loop method for small diameter knitting. Mum taught me to knit on straights and she uses these exclusively to this day.

    I received a set of Harmony Interchangables for Christmas and am in love. The cables are the softest I have ever used and never curl. The tips are silky smooth and pretty, the swirling colours remind me of the faux tortise shell needles Mum used to teach me to knit.

    I became a circular convert about 20 years ago and agree with many of the reasons listed in earlier posts. Particularly not loosing one needle while knitting in the car or public.

  • As a young person all there were to knit with, were straight metal or plastic needles. Once I resumed knitting as an older person and discovered circulars, I rarely use anything else! They are versatile, stitches rarely all off, and you can put so many more stitches on a needle. My only difficulty is in the twisting and curling of the nylon centers!

  • I use both. I do prefer Straight needles as most of
    the patterns I like call for them. Circular are handy when an afghan requires a large number of
    stitches, of course.

  • I starting knitting with the straight and then my mother recommended the circular. They were a little difficult to start with but I will only use straight if there are only 30 stitches. I do agree about the twisting and curling. Anyone have suggestions on that problem – sure would like to hear them.

  • I guess I’m much in the minority for liking straight needles. The thing about circulars is it seems that every time I move stitches from the loop part to the working part they’ve shrunk. I don’t usually knit tightly, and I don’t have a problem with stitches sliding on straight needles. The only thing I can think is that the weight of the project pulls the live end.

    I do use circular for big projects. I can’t imagine knitting a lapghan as a single piece on straight needles. But I’m not fond of them.

  • I use circulars almost always. I find that they are easier to use, I don’t have to be looking for the second needle, everything rest in my lap and I don’t lose stitches when I put my project away. I do use straight needles when knitting sleeves. I like knitting both sleeves on one needle and I have DPN for small projects. I would never give up my circular needles.

  • I use both. For afghans, I’m circular. For scarves, straight. I have a sweater pattern that I love that uses circular needle and 10″ double pointed needles. I avoid seams wherever possible, because I have trouble keeping them neat.
    I make lots of watch caps, mittens and socks, all on 7″ or 10″ sock pins. Again, no seams. I’ve graduated to “no pattern” for these, measuring and calculating gauge, depending on needle size and yarn weight.

  • I recently discovered the bamboo circular needles – with last summer’s tree of life afghan knit-a-long. Now I use them for everything. Recently, a local craft store had a 40% off sale on all their needles. I went crazy and bought at least one of every size. Pricey, yes, but I will have these needles for as long as I am able to keep knitting, so I think of it as an investment. I especially like the feel of the wood of the bamboo needles – it seems to get better the more I use them. Of course, there are all the points mentioned above – they easily fit into a knit bag, both ends are readily available, and I can hide them from my cat better. I still have all my straight needles tucked away somewhere, but I’m in no hurry to retrieve them.

    Happy Knitting, which ever needle you use!

  • I started knitting on straight needles. Several years ago someone gave me a pattern for upside down sweaters. They start at the top and raglan increase to the underarm where you separate the sleeves and body and continue knitting in the round. I use a set of Denise interchangeable needles, so when the sleeve cuffs get small, I just use two circular needles.
    If the work on the left needle gets tight, you can use a smaller needle tip, since it’s the right needle which determines the guage.
    Happy knitting everyone.

  • I have arthritis and I LOVE circular needles! The weight of the projects, small or large, rests in my lap and not on my wrists, which means I can knit longer and more comfortably. There is also something to be said about not having the needles sticking out a long way – I find that very distracting for some reason.

  • I use circular needles. They are easy to handle. Great when you are traveling. You cant lose a needle.

  • circular, rarely use straight, and also prefer to knit in the round. have found some very shot circular needles which work for cuffs and socks did find that a very fine double pointed needle works fine for cake testing. just love to knit, tho crocheting is not too shabby..

  • question for Maureen Argon
    I am just nosey
    are you a Ruth Zimmerman learner..
    I too love her sweaters..

  • Circulars are more versatile. You can use them to knit flat or in the round. You can’t do both with straights, so why bother buying straights? If I use straights, it’s only the 10″ ones for scarves. Also, circulars aren’t frightening to the person sitting next to you on buses and planes, whereas the 14″ straights make them very wary. When teaching beginners, the circulars are much easier to handle because the tips are attached to each other by the cord. The straights are separate entities that could go every which way but the way they want them to and can be dropped very easily.

  • I prefer circular because I don’t need to sew seams when the garment is finished. I do wish they would make circular needles in lengths shorter than 16 inches for smaller projects as I dislike using double pointed needles.

  • it depend on the project

  • I have used circular needles only since i was a child and my mother taught me how to knit. I never use straight needles for any project.

  • Mostly use circular, but now and then will use straight so long as I can use the short needles. Denise Interchangeables are a blessing.

  • Cat Bordhi has developed a method for using 2 circular needles for knitting socks, this method could apply for any small project.

  • I prefer circular needles for most uses. I have had straight needles to slip out and have had stitches to drop. Ugh.

  • I am definitely circular, straight needles make my arms ache.
    The only problem with circulars is when needing a smaller size needle they are not often available.

  • Hello, I could say good things about both. I love circular for knitting blankets and throws. It makes them easy for carrying your work. Straight is great for shorter and smaller items. I particularly love the bamboo straight needles. The seem to work so much smoother. The only problem I sometimes have with circular is the length beyond the points that holds all of the work, sometimes gets twisted. As for straight needles: sometimes the stitches can tend to slip off when you put your work away, but I use rubber tips on both straight and circular to keep my project on the needles when I am not working on it.

  • I like bamboo circulars. I think they’re gentler on my hands.

  • I prefer circular needles, since they can do double duty as straight needles. Rather than have side seams on sweaters, I knit in the round on circular needles, with the proper markers, of course. I do the same thing with sleeves. If it is a cardigan, I cast on the fronts and back in one piece, again with markers, and knit as far as I can in one piece, then divide and place on stitch holders.

  • This is my first post to Lion Brand. I enjoy circular best for reasons already listed: holds more stitches easily, ends don’t get stuck in things, no poking anyone else!, and the weight of what I’m knitting sits in my lap – great for those of use with arthritis!

  • I prefer straights. I will use circs, but only if the number of stitches I have exceeds the length of the straight needles!

  • I personally prefer straight needles. I am left handed and have kind of an unorthodox way of knitting. I get cramps in my hands when I use the circular needles.

  • I love all types of needles. It depends on the project and material more than anything for me.

    Large pieces are heavy and make my arms tired on straight needles.

    But small pieces on short needles are fun.

    I love double points.

    Circulars have a lot of pluses and minuses for me. They are great for large pieces for weight distribution, less dropped stitches and less “scrunching” of stitchs.
    I don’t have a good way to hold 2 needles so I tend to prop up the end of the knit off needle with straights (in my armpit, between my knees, against pillows, etc.) Sometimes a circular is awkward for me because I don’t support one side of the work and small pieces just dangle out there.

    I do prefer one piece projects that don’t require sewing.

  • Since I knit both right and left handed I don’t turn my work – the cirulars work best for me in most cases. I just started knitting sox and hand warmers on circulars and I love it!

  • I leaned to knit years ago on straight needles and quickly had to have all sizes and lengths. Then interest faded and when I retired decided to dust off the needles and recreate once again. By this time my daughter was knitting with circular needles and told me to try them…oh, they looked really intimidating. I tried, I became spoiled and now I have Addi’s in many sizes/lengths and LOVE them for small and large projects. I even have 2 sets of interchangeable circulars. Great for travel, camping, airline as they fit in small spaces. I’ll donate my straights and never go back to them. What will new technology create next?

  • I seem to be unable to tame the cord on circular needles, so I stick to projects with straight needles. I’d love to learn to use circulars to make socks and hats because it seems like that would be easier than using double pointed needles in the long run.

  • I use circulars more than straights because they don’t get lost in my bag when I’m on the go and they don’t need as much space. Many of the same reasons others have noted.

    I love the blog and the podcast . . . keep up the great work!

  • I like circulars the best. I can push all the yarn onto the cord, shove the knitting in my bag and be reasonably sure the stitches will still be on the needles when I pull it out of the bag.

  • Love circulars – for socks, for shawls, for anything and everything – mainly because they are easier on my arthritic hands and arms than straight needles.

  • I prefer circular for large projects and straight for smaller. Circular are easier when traveling as well. Especially if I am a passenger in the Mini!

  • Count me among those who use both. I hate seaming, so will convert any pattern I can into knitting in the round on circulars, but there are some items that just seem to work best on straights. Even though I have arthritis, I haven’t encountered the problem with straights others have mentioned. Most of my needles are 40+ years old, so I guess they & I have come to an accommodation. For me it’s more a question of diameter. Anything on 1s or 2s or 17s+ gets worked in very short doses, whether on straights or circulars.

  • Circulars all the way! When you have to put a project down, you have a handy stitch holder built right in – just pull the needles and let your work wait on the cord – it won’t distort the stitches if you have to put it down for awhile.

  • I use both depending on the project but I prefer 14 inch metal straights up to about 5.5mm and then my Lion Brand plastic straights for the larger sizes. My elbow to middle finger joint measures 14″ so the long needle props in my elbow curve and I can knit really fast. I knit socks, mitts, hats and various types of tubes using two circulars. I also use circs for knitting in the car because they are safer and for huge shawls and blankets but I often crochet those specifically to avoid shoving all those stitches over the join-hump. What a great question. Thanks for asking!

  • I prefer Addi Turbo circular needles for my projects. My experience is that I am able to get projects done much faster because the cords come in different sizes in length and they do not twist sharply like the plastic ones while knitting and the sticks don’t give much room to hold all stitches well and tend to have more dropped stitches when finished with a row and turning my work while working on a big project.

  • I began knitting in 1965 with straight needles. After my first sweater, I bought the Boye knitting kit with interchangeable needle tips and use them exclusively. I make all my sweaters in one piece and it is very easy, whether beginning at the neck and knitting down or the reverse, there are only a few stitches under the arm to weaver together. Another advantage of the circular needles!! I hated knitting the arms separately and then having to attach the front to the back and the sleeves – awful. With circular needles, there are no pieces to weaver together and ski patterns are a breeze! I would encourage everyone to try them – you won’t go back to cumbersome straight needles. Happy Knitting.

  • Simiple, 5in double points for socks. Circular for everything else. I love Knit Picks Harmony needles, worth every penny. I could not live without my interchangeables.

  • Though most knitters seem to prefer the circular needles I still have the dpns. With circular needles I never seem to have the right length.
    We used to make 4 needle mittens. Does anyone use them anymore?
    Yarn sizes have changed over the years and I think that I will be sort of forced into circular.

  • I sorted out all my straight needles and put them on top of the bookcase that holds my knitting books close to twenty years ago. For a while I used double points to knit socks but now it is strictly one or two circulars to work 2 socks at a time. The Best 4 letter word is DONE.

  • I prefer circular needles. You can do anything on circular needles. You may also need some double pointed needles for socks or hats. I will never go back to straight needles. I consider them obsolete in my life.

  • I have only been knitting for a year now and am very slow. I did start on straights but found them really awkward and then I came across a pair of circs and absolutely love ’em. Still can’t manage knitting in the round though. but for my scarves and afghans I would be lost without them.P>S> do most of my work on the road so having the circs means not having to say I’m sorry to my hubby for poking him

  • I hate to sew seams on garments, so I adapt most patterns to circular, and things seem to go more quickly. I do use straight needles for some items. I also use double pointed needles for socks, mittens, and new born caps for local hospital.

  • Earlier someone asked for a cure for twisted or curled circulars. For any but wooden, simply place in hot water for a few minutes and straighten as you dry them. Works for me.

  • I definitely prefer circs for socks (2 circs, in fact) and for some things like afghans when they get too big for straight needles, but otherwise I like my straights!! Never have liked DPNs for much. Too easy to drop stitches!

  • […] I switch back to my circulars.  I was reading the Lion Brand Notebook today, when I found a post asking which people preferred.  I was surprised that the majority use […]

  • I like circular needles because there is less sewing I hate sewing up! Straights are better when there is purlng tho, I haven’t managed to get up much speed purling on circs, although, you can turn the work inside out and cheat by going “backwards”. I found a great tip – use a smaller size needle tip on the left side and the work slides along without so much effort.

  • I am mostly a circular needle person. I love that the weight of my work is not concentrated in my arms, but can rest on my lap.

  • I prefer the circular needles. I tend to get tendonitis in both of my wrists. My sister-in-law, who is a physician and a knitter, suggested that I try bamboo circular needles. The bamboo circulars are very light weight and the weight of the project that you are knitting is in your lap not your hands and wrists. I haven’t had tendonitis since I switched to bamboo circulars!

  • I like both depending on the project but I use circular most of the time. I travel alot with my job and the circulars are best for knitting on planes. They also fit much better into a tote bag. I love interchangable needles (like the Denise) because you alsways have the needle size you need.
    I am still working on the luxe cable tunic and am using circulars because it is heavy. The circs allow the weight of the garment to distribute more so my hands don’t tire as quickly.

  • I am a newbie knitter and tried circulars for the first time. I thought I was heeding the warning to make sure not to twist the stitches but the cowl that I was attempting definitely was twisted all the way around. I used inexpensive needles and couldn’t seem to get the filament between them to behave. Any recommendations for me?

  • I only use straight needles. I would like to use circular needles but frankly, I’m terrified of them. None of my friends knit so I don’t have anyone to show me how to master these things!!

  • I learned on the straight metal needles when I was a child, and I love them -something “classic” about them, and I have no problems whatsoever with them. I’m not too crazy about the double point needles, tho I am very adept with them. I wish there were very small circulars for socks – the 2 circular method on socks looks worse than dpns! Seems like I never have the right size circular for a project.

  • I prefer straight bamboo needles for most projects. If knitting a large project, I do use circular bamboo needles. I find the bamboo is easier on my hands, they don’t tire as with other needles. My knitting speed is much slower with circular needles

  • Wow – I’m in the minority, apparently. I only knit with straight needles. I learned to knit when I was seven – which was in 1960! Being left-handed, I found that no-one wanted to teach me to knit, but I actually knit the same way as right-handed people. However, I anchor the right needle under my arm, do not remove my right hand from the needle as my right index finger moves the wool – this is probably why I am a speedy knitter.
    I tried circular needles, but without having the needle anchored I realized it would take some practice to master it. Now when I come across a pattern which calls for circular needles, I try to find a way to adapt it for straight.
    Happy knitting!

  • Circular needles are so much easier to work with in a confined space – I don’t have to deal with those long needles extending past my elbows. But they are difficult because the connecting wire is too rigid to lie flat when working back and forth, e.g. on an afghan.

  • Circular- almost exclusively. I have one of those sets with the exchangeable tips and can add extensions to accommodate very large projects. Also circular needles travel easier; I take a project to work with me every day to work on during lulls.

  • I prefer straight needles. I really dint like circulars!!!I find them frustrating and the cord that joins the needles- they always seem to be tangled. Whenever I am knitting hats, I adapt the pattern to straight needles!

  • Definitely circular! Stitches don’t drop off the ends….. it’s easier to knit in the car on trips…. (not while driving of course!) and as already mentioned by others, no time wasted looking for the second needle….. I wish I could find some that are pointier than mine, though and have a more flexible cord.
    Unfortunately my cat loves the circular ones, too. (He drags them around by the cord and leaves teeth marks, making it hard to slide the knitting next time I use them. He has dragged away knitting projects in progress as well, so I have to put everything away in my knitting bag before I leave the room!) >^..^<

  • I love circulars for all their wonderful attributes, but particularly because I’m sometimes crammed into a tight space–on the subway, for example–and long straight needles are just impossible! But I like knitting small things on short straights–they’re something very tidy about it.

  • Circulars do it for me!!! Can’t stand straights, or double-pointed needles for that matter – especially when I’m knitting a sweater, I prefer the stitches to be evenly spread around the middle and rests nicely on my lap, so my arm doesn’t ach under the growing weight of knitted fabric.

  • I owned a yarn shop about 30 yrs. ago and embarked on knitting a gored skirt to match a sweater. The only way to do it was on circulars. I’ve been knitting on them ever since. My “knitters elbo” (i.e. tendonitis) got better after changing to circulars – you hold your elbows closer to your sides, no longer putting a strain on them. I’ll never go back to straight needle knitting.

  • CIRCULAR, always. Easier to hold when sitting in a wingback chair, and they hold lots of stitches (afhans, etc.) I knit American style – and wonder if switching to Continental style would be any easier with straights- since I heard you have to hold one needle still.

  • Unless you’re a prop knitter, circs have SO many advantages. Apart from the lovely way they distribute the weight of your work onto your lap, I really love the ability I have to knit in awkward places. I can knit snuggled up to my Sweetie while watching a movie without stabbing him. I can knit on the bus without scratching the bus wall or puncturing the ribcage of the large person beside me. I can whip a project out of my bookbag and knit discreetly through a really boring lecture. I can quickly crush my knitting into a bag with my laptop, my lunch and a couple textbooks without snapping a needle.

    Oh, I could go on and on…. In sum, however, I don’t really think I ever would have become a knitting fool without circs!

  • I have both round and straight, but my straight seem to go missing and become drum sticks or whatever the boys need them for. My round needles are more useful to me than them, thankfully. Also I don’t lose stitches with my round and find them great for small projects like dishcloths or larger projects. Need a break, slide everything to the center of the needle and when I come back everything is still there.

  • I have tried to use circular needles but find that I don’t have very good control of the rope. It acts like a snake,twisting and turning. The rope is either too long or too short. I do keep trying and would like to learn how to use them. I keep going back to my straight needles. I really would like some advice on the use of circular needles. Thank you.

  • I love circular needles over straight needles. It is less strain on my arms and shoulders. You can use the circular needles for anything.

  • I LOVE circular needles. I am just beginning to knit and I have found that the circular needles are so much easier for me to use. I have tried knitting with the straight needles and my arms got so tired. I also don’t loose stitches now either.

  • Circulars, definitely.
    1. If you have to stop mid-row, you can slide the unfinished rows down and they won’t slip off.
    2. Great on planes and other crowded places.
    3. If you have screw-on tips and a variety of cables, you are set for almost any knitting project.
    4. Easier on the arms when knitting large projects.
    5. You can coil them up and store them in plastic bags.

  • I prefer circular needles as they don’t get in the way when I’m knitting in the car or an arm chair. I only use straight needles when I absolutely need to use them. I agree with Paula’s comments of Jan. 31.

  • I am in the minority on the popularity of the circular needles as I prefer straight. The cords on circular needles can be difficult and frustrating to negotiate. Many times you need different length of circular needles for a project. The straight are more comfortable for me and I knit faster and more even with straight needles. If a project calls for lots of stitches, a circular needle is the only way to go.

  • STRAIGHT!! My stitches are more uniform when I’m not fighting the circular needle. They always get hung up on the transition from the needle to the cord, and I can’t knit as fast. Also, I tend to rest my left needle on my stomach as I knit, so when I am ‘forced’ to use circular needles, my arms get tired from holding them up.

    I bought a set of circular needles that have the screw on tips, but as I was knitting around the edge of an afghan, the darned things came unscrewed. I was able to catch the stitches, but I wasn’t happy.

    I like the idea of circular needles, they just don’t work well for me.

  • CIRCULARS ONLY!!! (except for DPN’s for small areas and/or socks) They are easier to hold, to work with, you don’t lose the other end – ALL the reasons others listed before. Although it did take me while after years of using straights to switch to circulars. To those not sure if it’s worth the hassle of learning “new tricks”, I say DEFINITELY YES!! My hubby likes the circulars, too, ’cause now he can cuddle me on the couch & I can still knit!

  • Love to use circulars.

  • Circular, I knit with kids around and it’s easier to pull them through the stitches and I’m less likely to drop stitches that way! I use two for socks, hats and other small things.

  • I love circular needles. They are so much easier on the wrist, too! I will only use circular from now on. If you get a quality circular needle, they aren’t awkward at all!

  • I learned to knit on straight needles and I was
    taught if the pattern doesn’t say circulars then
    don’t use them, but then I joined a knitting group
    and as they say the rest is history.
    I love circulars because I ride public transportation
    It’s great to grab a corner seat and knit away.

  • Only use circulars. So much more compact and easy to keep in one small bundle. Straights can be dangerous no matter how careful you are with them.

  • I so prefer circular needles! No needles poking out in the way, no extra weight pulling on your wrists…so comfy to use. I do use my trusty DPNs for socks though.

  • I happened to have learned on circular needles – Denise’s in fact. I have tried to knit on straight needles and find myself getting tangled in the yarn, dropping needles and poking myself. So, it is circular for me. Kudos to those who can knit with straight or both!

  • I prefer circular needles. When I use straight needles, I tend to catch the ridge on the back end on things and pull the needle out of my stitches. I love my circular needle kit. The cable doesn’t curl like it does with a lot of the regular circular needles.

  • Yes Ladies and Gentlemen of the needlework world,
    I use circulars. Main reason, they are more convenient for me to carry when I have a project. You see they are smaller and less able to break or cause a break to something like my bag I carry it in. I want two sets of circulars. I wish I could get an addi turbo set but alas way to expensive for me at this time. I very hardly go anywhere without a crochet or knitting project. And if I do leave the house without a project and end up finding out I could have been using a waiting or sitting time to crochet or knit I am simply annoyed. I’m that used to carrying a project practically everywhere I go. I’m teaching my two boys 10 and 7 to have some needlework skills. After I’ve gotten my two sets of circulars, I’ll simply display all my straights like nice candy in a pretty dish to use at home at my desire. But circulars will be my sacred workers. So there, needlework siblings is my take on preference of needles. May God bless and of course HAPPY NEEDLEWORKING 2009


  • i know my best-knitter friends love the circulars, but i guess i’m just too straight-laced 🙂 using the circulars, my work tends to get all wound up (as do my hands) and i can’t see what i’ve done to remember where i’m going when i pick it up again! and i’m sorry but this needs to be said…what is all this about losing needles?? hasn’t anyone ever heard of rolling the new end of yarn around it and sticking it in the ball or your work? i mean…for heavens sake!

  • I am a new knitter, but have already found that I prefer circular needles. I’m always afraid either I or the children will drop my stitches on straights, especially if the needle is full.

    The disadvantage: Where I live, circular needles are harder to find in a variety of sizes and lengths.

  • If I am working on something small, like a baby item, I like straights. But if my project is something larger or heavy, I like to use circulars. I do a lot of newborn sweaters and clothing, so most of my “good” needles are straights. Right now I’m knitting a blanket, so I’m using a circular

  • I was suprised that so many people are having trouble with straight needles putting strain on their elbows, shoulders, etc. I keep my arms against my sides, my elbows next to my hips and my forearms on my thighs. My work AND my needles both rest in my lap – my fingers lightly support (not grip) the needles. Only my right wrist moves as I knit.

  • My husband gets very upset when I use straight needles in the car. He is afraid I am going to poke his eye out….really. So, amazingly, I prefer circular.

  • I like straight best, especially my old bamboo needles. I think it is just what I am most use to using. But I am doing a sweater on my circular needles right now. It feels strange still, but I am getting use to them as I go. So maybe in the future I will use them more often.

  • I use circulars for everything, when making something in the round I will cast on with the double pointed needles and then switch to circulars. Someone said before they make me knit faster and they do fit into a purse to take along anywhere.
    I am very particular with the ones I use, so most of mine a Auddis, they have smooth connections. I will use 2 circulars for socks and fingerlees gloves.

  • I haven’t had much experience in usuing the circular needles. I have one circular needle. I have to admit that the weight of what ever you may work on as many others have stated is not placed on your wrists but can sit in you lap. I do use both types of needles however. Currently I’m using a set of straights to do a quick and easy baby blanket. I do have another pattern though that I will be making another blanket, but it will be on the circular needle. I believe both have advantages and disadvantages. I enjoy using both but am sure that I will be using the circulars more as I get older and due to the arthritis that seems to be settling in my hands.

  • To Sue Sauer, Arlene Johnson, Ann Northrup, and anyone else who asked – hot water is OK, but friction works the best! I use my thick jeans and rub the needles back and forth over my thigh until they feel hot – then I hang them on a cup hook on the wall (here I store them) until they cool. It works for me every time. Oh, and I’m a circular gal, too. I love the way they can be hung around my neck!

  • I only use circular and gave away all my straight needles!

  • hello all, as with most things in life that we build, a tool is a tool is, or, the tool needs to fit the job. Hence, my DPNs are great when working in the round with few stitches or working in many decreases to having few stiches to bind off (hats come to mind). My straight pairs of single pointed needles are my go-tos for scarfs, and other things that i put many colours, lots of colour/yarn additions and ends for tie-ing when finishings, and my circulars are for the times I can be speedy (lots of length, not many yarn changes, enough stitches to cast on so as to not lose control of them, such as sweater/tops, hats (for brims, etc prior to decreases), household items. Yet, I must say that the biggest time saver for me is to make sure the tool is appropriate for the job. Circular needles with short lengths (like my 12″ 4.5mm) are great for building brims for even small hats, like kids, then move to DPNs for the decreases, faster than using DPNs alone; or super long length circulars for blankets that are one colour, whew, no more worries about dropping stiches since the single point needles would have been crammed with all of the stiches. I hope my little tool adage makes sense and is helpful.
    Here’s to knitting up warm fuzzies for all of our kith and kin for this cold winter of 2009 (i am in Toronto, Canada. We have had many cold fronts moving on through, brrrrrr. Happy knitting one and all! Christy

  • I love circular needles because I don’t like sewing things together. If I knit a sweater on circular needles, when I’m done, I’m done! All I have to do is weave in the loose ends.

  • Always circulars! I can’t lose one and they don’t hit the sides of my chair. I love my circs!

  • I love both of them. Whenever pattern ask for, I use straight or circulars. However it eases the pain in my hands when I use circular, and of course, I find it better with large number of sts, and I usually use dpn for mittens, other things which I find using smaller circular very difficult. To get good quailty for circular needles here is very difficult.. I find bamboo needles very nice, however if nicked in needle, it becomes troublesome which I prefer nickle over bamboo.. Like I said, it depends on what yarn i am knitting, and what kind of pattern, i need to use to knit. I like both.

  • I prefer circular needles. I wish shorter ones were available– say around six inches for small craft projects like knitting Christmas tree bulbs.

  • Definitely circular. I learned this many years ago after leaving a project on straight needles for a period of time, when I started knitting on the project again, the row or yarn on the needles had become stretched and I had to rip out stitches (yuk). With circular, this isn’t a problem if the project requires a lengthy delay in knitting.

    Linda Blackhawk , IN

  • Circular needles except for narrow items such as scarves. Also like to use 2 circular needles for items such as socks or other in-round items.

  • It depends on the project. I have used circular when working in the round, but recently (since it it is the correct size needle), I have been using circular for hats (not connecting the sides while working). I prefer straight (suits the projects I work on); the circular needles (if not used in the round) become twisted, but easily unwind for small projects.

  • I prefer circular because the needles are short and fit nicely into my hands. They don’t bump into people, chair arms, etc. The weight of the project is centered over my lap instead of hanging to one side or the other as it does with regular-length straight needles. I only use straight needles for small projects that can fit on short length (9″) needles.

  • Reading the following posts I see that most people prefer circular needles. I use both, but I mostly use straight needles. It just what I learned on, own more of, and feel most comfortable with.

  • I too prefer circular. I learned on straights, but for all the reasons already stated, I prefer circular. I was VERY AFRAID of circulars until I got used to them. Now even after I teach someone to knit, I then switch them to circular as soon as they are comfortable. I have bought many Addi Turbo’s. They are a little more expensive, but they work like a dream! Also I have many straight needles that I am holding on to (I don’t know why) I guess I am just a pack rat!

  • I like to use circulars because it is much easier on my hands and wrists. All the weight is on the needle rather than me having to hold it up. I like to use one size larger straight needles to bind off.

  • I love circulars! I usually use DB to create my doggy sweaters, but as for everything else I use circulars. I do not worry about loosing a stitch or finding a “plug” for the end of my straights.

  • Straight. I learned to knit the Scottish way holding the R needle under my armpit. This technique allows the knitter to knit at astronomical speeds. Therefore, I find circular needles to be cumbersome and slow.

  • I prefer nice smooth metal circular needles with fairly blunt points. Straight needles are good for beginning knitters who are just learning to knit and I loathe bamboo. A good set of metal circs lets the yarn slide easily and is good for knitting just about anything.

  • I will use circular if possibe as they are easier to use – especially if you are working on a large or heavy item.
    Large straight needles make my arms ache, especially as the work get heavier, and I avoid them as much as I can.
    I use 10″ needles for small items, but I really do prefer circular over straight.

  • I prefer circular needles if possible. With the many projects I tend to have going at the same time it helps me to not drop stitches off the ends like straight needles tend to do (even if I use the rubber ends). I also prefer them when working on large or heavy projects. I agree that straight needles for heavy projects makes my arms ache, but also my hands. I have arthritis and circular wooden needles are the best. The wood absorbs and holds the heat from your hands, so you don’t end up putting a project down because the needles are cold and make your hands ache.

  • I love my circular needles. I do not like to piece things together, so I adapt patterns whenever possible to knit bodies of sweaters with circulars and sleeves with dpns. I have several patterns that only require shoulder seams and under arm seams for pullovers. With circulars, my arms do not get as tired when knitting large items. I use circulars for afghans, too — easier to take on trips and less weight for my short arms.

  • I use straight needles. I can’t get the hang of cicular for blankets. I seem to add stitches as i go along. Have no idea how i do that, i’m careful, but still happens. I do use circular for hats, i’m fine with that, add no stitches because i think theres no ends to a hat. When i make a blanket, i make large strips and put together with a crochet hook, looks good. My mom made blankets like that along time ago. Judy

  • I love my circulars. I was taught to knit with them 34 years ago and invested in a set of interchangables (Boye). I only use DP for socks and tops of hats. I recently tried straight needles in a large size and I really didn’t like working with them. Where can you get the big sizes in circulars? I can’t live without my circulars!

  • Definitely circular! Can’t imagine why everyone doesn’t use circular. They hold more, scrunch up with work between knitting sessions, take up less space when working in close quarters, more versatile…can go from knitting around to knitting round. Love them. Best invention for knitters EVER.

  • I prefer circular needles because: 1. They are much easier to work with in a confined space, i.e. an airplane. 2. I get better balance with the project. 3. They store easily in a small space. I use a small notebook about 8×10 inches with zippered bags for each size.

    The only con I have: It’s best not to put the work aside in the middle of the row; Depending upon the pattern, I may forget which way I was working when I pick up the project again?

  • I only use circulars now because of my arthritis. Two circular needles are great for doing socks. I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I even learned a different way of casting on so I could use them for that.

  • Circulars are great! Just got a new set of wooden interchangeables with sharp points. They are so much easier because the weight of the yarn in my lap! No more catching on things with the ends or having the grandkids slip a needle out of my hand while I’m knitting. YES! CIRCS ARE GREAT!!

  • I love all you expereanced knitters. K, so if I use circular needles how do I get the cabel from kinking up? I haven’t found a paticular preferance, I’m a beginner. So I went to crocheting instead. But would love to master knitting as well. I too, have problems dropping straight needles loosing, stitches and so forth. Thanks for your help. Love this web-site!

  • Circs all the way for me! I have arthritis and straights hurt my wrists after only a short time. With circs I can knit for hours on end. 🙂

    To straighten out the kinks, run the cable only under hot water or through the steam coming from a kettle. Gently pull on both ends to straighten it out a bit. Hope this helps. 🙂

  • It depends on the project, but mostly I use circular or short straights. I hardly ever use the longer straight needles. Sometimes one is more appropriate for the yarn thickness, pattern, etc…

  • Give me the old-fashioned straight needles every time! I hate circs. Tried them a couple of times and always go back to straights. Circs are slow for me, plus I hate moving the yarn over the join between needle and plastic cord. I even knit socks on straights in the old-fashioned way before the advent of dpns or circulars. Feels like I’m sharing history from “way back when” using straights I have a book that shows three different ways to knit socks on straights using a flat seam. My hubby loves them, so what more can I say.

  • Lately I’ve been using circular needles. They do not get lost, and they’re great especially on airplanes where one can drop a needle on the floor and have a tough time trying to pick it up.

  • If the pattern doesn’t specify circular needles I prefer to use straight needles. I get frustrated with the way most circular needles twist because of the way they are stored. The only ones that I have found that don’t twist are the 16″ ones, which are still awkward because it’s hard to get the ends to line up at a comfortable angle.

  • Circular needles are all I use now. You never have to worry about dropping one. They are much easier to carry around and to use. You only have a small needle to hold. I like the comment about running them under hot water to straighten them out, thanks.

  • One thing really great about circular needles is that I use them to hold the pieces of my project together so I can sew it up.

  • I love using circular needles over straights for many reasons a few of which are: it’s easier to stop in the middle of a row without dropping stitches as you pull the needles up and the remainning stiches hang out on the needle cable until you’re ready to knit again; I find the weight distribution & knitting dynamics much easier on my hands & arms with circulars rather than straights; I don’t have to own multiple pairs of needles in the same size but differing lengths as just one pair of circular needles per size is required for the majority of patterns I knit… And there are probably more reasons… but I know for the most part it’s just a matter of preference. I have many knitting friends who don’t like circular needles at all!

  • I read the rules of engagement & I think my comments fall within the guidelines (although I should have hit spellcheck or proof read them before submitting apparently…oh well to err is human..)

  • I didn’t realize how fussy I am until giving it some deep thought on why I use straight needles more than circular ones. I’m even more fussy on what kind of point they have, that is very important to me and perhaps to others depending on the yarns one uses I imagine. I’m new at knitting and not very venturesome yet but working on it. Weight of the needles is important to me too and the ‘feel’ of them, if I don’t like the ‘feel’ they aren’t staying in my box, out they go! Hope this gives you an idea about who I am when I knit! LOL

  • Love circular needles; they’re much more compact, any size garment will fit on them and you can stop knitting in the middle of a row for easy storage. I’ve known about the hot water tip to straighten the needles for years; soaking the needles in a sink filled with hot water for a minute and then holding it taut also does the trick. Happy knitting!

  • Circulars! My circulars have been a life saver during chemotherapy. I can haul my project around, lay it down, pick it up when I am feeling better. And being bedridden through most of my chemo, I could take it to bed with me, and if I got tired, I could loosely wrap the ends of the needles together, squish my knitting down, and even sleep with it without loosing stitches!


  • I prefer circular for several reasons. They are easier to carry along. One can fold them into the project and into your bag or pocket without loosing a stitch. They are more compact than longer straight needles. They are easier on my hands and wrists when I’m making large projects. I don’t end up with a lot of weight cantilevered out on the end of a straight needle.

  • I prefer circular needles because straight needles kill my wrists! The weight is just too much for me. Also, since I now knit in continental style it is way faster with circulars. I recently picked up a pair of straight needles and I had to put my project on DPN’s because my wrists and hands started hurting. I recently made a sweater and I finished it in less than a week… on straights and throwing style it would have taken me over a month.

    DPN’s all the way baby!!!

  • Circular needles take the place of straight and double-point needles. I knit scarves, seamless hats and sweaters, afghans, you name it, on circular needles and never have to worry about losing a needle or finishing a row before I put down my project. Stitches don’t slip off the needles either … just push your knitting onto the nylon filament connecting the two ends. And my other favorite thing about circular needles … they never feel heavy because the bulk of your work is always balanced between both hands. Hooray for circular needles!!!

  • Circular 90% dp 5% straight 5%
    A friend once told me that whoever had the most knitting needles when they die – win. I’m working on it. I have wood,bone,metal, plastic, bamboo, WWII plastic, etc. Love knitting, love to share my love of knitting.

  • Circular vs. Straight

    I prefer circular for all the reasons already listed, plus more: I did the Dover Rose of Sharon circular tablecloth with lace weight mohair. I have no idea how many stitches the final rounds had, but I think it was over 1000. This would have been impossible with DP’s. Also, afghans are easier because the weight of a heavy afghan is in your lap and never lifted until you set it down. Can’t do that with straights!

  • I used to knit on my daily commute by bus in Scotland. Having to crawl around on the usually wet, muddy floor to retrieve a dropped needle on more than one occasion is what got me using circular needles. Then I just got hooked – they are so much easier to carry around, you don’t have the full weight of the project tugging at one side or the other, and you never have to worry about dropping one needle. I do, however, still prefer double pointed for small circular work.

  • I much prefer circular. My biggest gripe with straight is that if I knit in armed chair they hang up a lot also hang up in garment if a large one on the needles. I was glad to see so many others felt the same way in prefering the circular needles. Thank you for the opportunity to voice my opinion. This is my first time here. Am by no means a professional knitter but am working hard at learning the craft. Thanks again.

  • I love my straights ,most of the time! I do use circs too but much prefer my straights.

  • I love circular needles. They keep the work centered over my lap instead of pulling from side to side and getting jammed up onto a too short needle. I can store all my circular needles in an accordian sectioned pouch in my workbasket sorted by size. I especially like the system that allows you to buy just the needle ends and interchange the cables. The only drawback on these is that the cable can come unscrewed during working so tighten it with the tool included.

  • I usually go for straights, but after reading all these comments I think I’ll try circs a little more.

  • Comment for Ekghey regarding working small circumference items or binding off small areas like the toe of sox or top of hats, I learned an incredible tip form Debbie MacComber’s The Shop on Blossom Street – you use 2 round needles to knit sox. I tried it and it really works. Of course you have to have 2 round needles in the same size, but it is much easier than working dpn’s.


  • I love straight needles for casting on stitches, but always, always try to use circular needles for my knitting projects. I like the fact that I always have my needle(s) with me and also I like that I don’t have those long ends sticking out and poking into my favorite chair’s arms. Silly I know, that this is my reasoning.

  • I learned to knit on straights, and still prefer them. I think (although I may be wrong), that it’s the US that uses circulars more than anywhere else. Ask this question in the UK, and you might have different results!
    When I’m looking for patterns, I’ll always pick one using straights rather than circulars. I am, however, trying circulars if necessary. I don’t knit socks (and am rather surprised at the sock mania I see!), so haven’t had to use them too often.

  • circular! By Far!!! I learned to knit on straight needles as a child and they still drive me crazy. I keep poking myself!!


  • I use circular needles almost exclusively, for convenience and speed.

    Last winter I used circular needles to knit a zillion afghans I’ll be ‘finishing’ this winter! I love the knitting but for some reason don’t ever want to do the tucking in of ends, etc.

  • I have a llike to knit with a circle needlE.Put I have a promble with it,It curls up how do I shraight it out ? thank you

    Zontee says: Hi Jan, a common tip that we hear is to dip your circular needle’s cable into very hot water to loosen it and then to pull it straight and let it cool that way. Hope that helps!

  • It totally depends on the project. The needle size, number of stitches, yarn type, etc. straight works better for some, circular for others and DP for still others.

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