Will it go round in circles?

Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

Oh, sorry, I got distracted.


I was swatching some small diameter circular knitting yesterday for a design idea, and went through the gamut of circular knitting methods. I’ve always liked dpns for small circular knitting, but it’s never too late to learn something new. I decided to start with magic loop. I knew that the very flexible cord on my Signature circular needles would make for a better magic loop experience than my first foray with that method. Getting started was dicey, and I think I may have knit a twist into my work which I subsequently twisted back and ignored, but I did manage to do this swatch.


This is Schulana Kid-Seta, laceweight mohair and silk. I love knitting with this airy fuzz haloed yarn, but not tinking with it! I think I could manage working magic loop with this needle. In fact, I think I could manage anything with this needle; I love its smoothness and sharp points. But alas, the gauge wasn’t what I wanted; this is a size 5 needle and I wanted the airiness of at least a 6 or 7 for the mohair. I’m not ready to purchase another Signature for just one swatch ($$$, but worth it if it’s your go-to size), so I went to the needle stash.

I poked around and found a size 6 Hiya Hiya bamboo 16 inch circular, which would make a good start for 100 or so stitches. The tips were a bit blunt, but manageable. I’ve always liked blunter needles, because I “scoop” through my stitches instead of poke, but with yarn this thin and needles this big, I’m beginning to see the value in a pointy tip! When I decreased down too far to use this circular, I moved to Brittany Birch dpns. Very comfortable, but they were so long compared to the knitting, their weight seemed to threaten to make them fall out of the work.


I popped in to my LYS and picked up a size 6 Hiya Hiya Sharp in stainless, 9 inch circular. This thing is tiny! I love the points but the 9 inch circular is not comfortable in my hands. Oh, well.


So then I thought, how about two circulars? The 16 inch bamboo and the 9 inch stainless? I tried that for a bit, but the tip on the 9 inch is still too short for comfort for me, because 2 circulars means working each one separately on half the stitches, and the making of a circle with the 9 inch is just too fiddly.


In the end, I went back to dpns to finish my swatching. If I really make this project, I think I’ll get some shorter dpns to do so. I’ll start my project on a 16 inch circular, and then move to the short dpns. I’m just an old fashioned dpn kind of knitter, I guess. It’s great to have choices, and great to have a needle stash to play with!

How do you manage your small circumference circular knitting? Two circulars, magic loop, dpns? Or is there something else out there?

None of the circles pictured are what I settled on. I can’t show you what I was swatching yet…

And because I gave you the earworm for this Billy Preston song, here you go:

You’re welcome.

10 responses to “Will it go round in circles?

  1. I agree about both the 9 & 16 inch circular needles. My 70 yr old arthritic fingers just can’t manage them. I love making socks and preemie hats so, I too use dpns and after blocking no one can tell which I used.

    • I love the 16 inch circulars, but that’s as small as I’ll go. After I get my knitting going on the 16, I don’t mind the short (3.5 to 4 inch) tips. But on the 9 inch circular, I never got used to it. I just measured and the tip is 1 7/8 inches, including the taper down to the cable. Too short for me!

  2. I use all the methods depending on the yarn and which needles I have free at the moment. I prefer very sharp points even on my larger needles

    • If I had a size 6 or 7 Signature, I think I might have gone with that for magic loop. But that would be a big expense for a swatch that might not go anywhere, so I hit the needle stash!

  3. I prefer two sets of circs but can manage dpns if I have to

  4. I too will use not use circulars in 9 inch and 16 inch. (Even when I was young I preferred using DPs over the 9 and 16 inch circular.). And I am so comfortable with DPs that the magic loop method feels odd in my hands. 🙂

  5. Itsapiranha

    I love my 9inch circs, but many ppl have called me crazy for it. Socks on one needle is vastly less stressful than dpns for me. Love it!

  6. I love dpns. I recently tried to do a hat on two circs and found it totally confusion. Magic Loop just scares me!