The other day, on Vogue Knitting’s facebook page, I saw this and thought it was a helpful table. It is is a chart indicating number of stitches needed for comfort on a round needle. For example: the first row indicates gauge in this case, 3 stitches to the inch (which suggests bulky yarn), following across it says you would need at least 48 stitches to be comfortable knitting with a 16 inch length round needle, 72 stitches for a 24 inch round and so forth. Now, when I say comfortable that means that when you are knitting, the stitches are not so tight that they are being pulled and it feels like you are fighting with them nor that there are so many stitches that they are bunched up and are on top of one another. Drawback: Many needle purchases. Comments on this chart were mixed. Some were appreciative, copying it, and saying that this would be a useful resource and would help in their knowledge of what needle to use for what project, while others were suggesting to magic loop, a method whereby you take a long round needle, even though you have very few stitches, and pull the extra length of the needle in between the stitches adjusting the needle’s loop as you go along. The advantage of magic loop is you do not need all of the round needle lengths mentioned above. Drawback: It can be annoying to have to stop to rearrange the needle and stitches as you go along.
No one mentioned the use of double pointed needles (at least when I read the post). That is another method in which to knit in the round especially when the diameter is small. You place your stitches on three double pointed needles, evenly spaced, and use the fourth for knitting. Drawback: Stitches can easily fall off the ends of the needles that are not in use.
Here I am working on a ruched sleeve. This simply involves the increasing and decreasing of stitches for a gathered design look. I chose to use a 10 inch round needle as I could knit quickly and then at the point of decrease and when the stitches were feeling pulled, switched over to the double pointed needles. The diameter gets quite small as you descend to the cuff and I knew I could be comfortable working the smaller to smallest diameters with these needles.
Many methods suggests an arsenal of skills (we call it a skill set in teaching) and one must find what works for a particular project. Not all knitters find the same method effective for all projects and not all knitters knit the same way. I think the more open minded we remain, the more versatile and successful we will be as a knitter (and otherwise) and the more varied a project we will be able to take on.
Stay tuned for:
Debate over top down vs. down top direction for project
Debate over cardigan vs. pullover
And, when the weather permits, a lovely photo shoot of the little Spring cardi referenced, above.