Many people don’t think of using a circular needle for flat knitting, but it is entirely acceptable and convenient in many cases. As an alternative to using straight needles, some of the benefits of using a single circular for back-and-forth knitting are that you do not have to worry about misplacing one of your needles, it is easier to handle a heavy piece of knitting such as an afghan, and many circular needles can hold a larger number of stitches than a traditional straight needle. If you are the proud owner of the Knit Picks Options set, you have everything you need for this method. For smaller pieces of knitting, use the 24″ cable and for larger projects use the 32″ cable.
First, push the stitches to the tip of the needle so that the working yarn is closest to the tip. Hold this needle tip in your left hand. Pick up the other needle tip with your right hand and you’re ready to go!
Begin knitting as you would with straight needles (pretend there is no cable connecting the two tips). Complete knitting all of the stitches that are on the left needle tip. Take care not to knit with the cast-on tail but rather with the working yarn that comes from the skein.
When you have completed the first row, the left needle tip will be empty and the right needle tip will hold all of the stitches. To work the next (and subsequent) rows, you will simply switch the needle tips to the opposite hands. When you have done so, the left needle tip will again hold all of the stitches ready to be worked and the right needle tip will be empty. Now you can complete another row of knitting and repeat as many times as is necessary.
The great thing about this method is that you’ll never find yourself wondering where you set down that empty needle… it will always follow you!
Knitting with straight needles is the most commonly used style of those learning to knit. Straight knitting needles can be purchased in metal, plastic, bamboo and wood forms. The advantage to knitting on Knit Picks needles with end caps are that large pieces of knitting or knitting with heavy yarn is less painful. The burden of the knitted fabric is allowed to be spread over the needle and down the cable into your lap. On standard straight needles, the pressure on your wrists from the knitted fabric weight can be overwhelming.
If you own Knit Picks Options needles, you can create “straight” needles with a few adjustments. You’ll need a set of needle tips, 2 cables, and 2 end caps. Attach one needle tip and one end cap to each cable.
Cast on your stitches and hold the needle with the stitches in your left hand.
Knit (or purl) across the stitches.
When you have finished working across the row, all of your stitches will be on the right needle.
Swap needles with your left hand and you are ready to work another row.