STRAIGHT NEEDLES VS. CIRCULAR NEEDLES
When you think about knitting, or socks, the first thing that comes to mind is a grandmother knitting with two needles, or sticks, in the heat of a fireplace with an orange crawl, right?
Well, the times have been modernized and now everyone weaves, anywhere, because now it is also very fashionable and also, as time has passed the tools for weaving have also been modernized, and now there are no longer only the straight needles but there are also circular needles.
I would like to explain the differences between these two needles, not only physical but also at the level of use, and I will also give my opinion about it.
Straight needles, or sticks, are the most famous tools when knitting two needles.
They are two rods, or sticks between 20 and 60 cm long, at one end they usually have a ball-shaped or square shaped stop, where it indicates the number of the needle and at the other end is the knitting tip.
There are several materials, the most common being bamboo, plastic and aluminum.
The circular needles are composed of 3 pieces, two short needles, or short rods about 10-20cm long with the pointed ends and a cable that joins the two needles.
This cable that joins the two needles can have different lengths, 20, 40, 60, 80 cm and can be interchangeable or fixed, that is, the piece can be all attached or the needles can be assembled to different cables.
Circular needles, like straight needles, can be made of different materials, such as wood or bamboo, aluminum and plastic, the piece that joins the needle to the cable is usually metallic and threaded, with a hole to insert a key and screw it well So that it is fixed.
Differences between each other
The main difference between circular and straight needles is that, while straight needles only allow you to work in “flat”, that is, weaving from the right and the reverse of the work (unless you use 3 straight or more needles , as is the case with socks) the circular needles allow you to work in “spiral”, that is, by having the flexible cable joining the two needles, you can knit by joining the end of the work with the beginning and knit in a spiral, or circular , the work.
This method of knitting has two main advantages, the first is that, as you are spiraling you do not need to go around the work to weave the right and the reverse, but always and permanently you are knitting the right, if you knit Jersey, for example, you will only have to knit from the right.
Another advantage is the fact that, if you are knitting a hat or a sweater, you do not have to sew the seams, when knitting in circular work the fabric is woven generating a tube, so it is very useful the caps or pullovers and tops for the simplicity of always knitting in the same direction and knowing that later you won’t need to sew seams.
Another great virtue of circular needles is that, although they have the flexible cable and can be used for knitting in a circular pattern, it also allows you to knit flat, that is, with the right and reverse side, just like straight needles.
Another positive point that I see circular needles is that they are easier to transport, since they take up less space, and since they are smaller needles, when knitting you do not load both your shoulders and back, although this is already own opinion.
So … which is better?
Well, this is my opinion.
I began to knit as a child with straight aluminum needles, it’s how they taught me and I didn’t know any other method, eventually the needles broke down and also if I knitted for a long time the weight bothered me and I ended up hurting my wrist, elbow and the shoulder because I wove in English method and loaded the area on the right a lot.
Upon discovering the circular needles, a whole different world opened before me.
As the needle was shorter, I no longer needed to put the needle under my arm to knit, which gave me more freedom of movement and I could knit for long hours without hurting my arm or back.
I also felt that I was going much faster because I did not need to go around the work every two by three and, for example, when knitting jersey was as simple as knitting the right all the time until reaching a certain number of turns.
With the circular needles for me they also finished the side seams, which I thanked forever because it is one of the things I hate most in my projects!
As you can see I am a big fan of circular needles, although if I use straight needles for what things, for example, when knitting tissue samples I always use straight needles, and when knitting scarves for example, too, because just like I think that circular needles allow knitting faster, I think that with straight needles the point is more even, especially at the ends, I think you can better control the tension and that in projects that have trims or where the ends have to be more beautiful it is to be thankful