Knitting on Two circular needles – but why?

Knitting on Two circular needles – but why?

Knitting on two circular needles

One of the most asked questions during the Scheepjes Knit-a-Long 2022 so far has surely been: “But why do we use two circular needles, can’t we just use one?” The short answer is, yes of course, you can use just one circular needle, although I suggest a LONG one. “But why?” I can hear people thinking. The cushion is 49cm wide, so a circumference of 98cm. Usually you need your needles to be shorter than your work circumference in order to knit comfortably, so why would there be a need for the needles to be absurdly long, or use two?

As I am a ‘sceptical knitter’ myself, I figured I’d show you, instead of just tell you what to do. Whenever I look at a pattern, I always question things. For example when I knit my first colourwork sock and was told to cast on 70 stitches. I thought to myself “I usually cast on 60 stitches and it’s still too wide, I can’t imagine 70 stitches being right for my feet..” So naturally I cast on 60 stitches, and soon learned that colourwork fabric was much less flexible than regular knit fabric, and had to undo all of my work and cast on 70 stitches, as the pattern said.

So let me tell you my own experience of casting on for the cushion for the first time. I cast on onto my 80cm long needle, thinking it would be quite enough length for all of the stitches. And to some extent, I was right. The only thing I hadn’t factored in was the limited amount of space that Judy’s Magic Cast On allowed me. As a picture says more than a thousand words, let me show you.

See? Told ya! Although the 284 stitches fitted onto the cable length, it gave me only little room to turn my needletips towards each other, and knitting the first round was far from comfortable. It felt like the knitting equivalent of standing in a long line, shuffling millimeters at a time. I was lucky that I packed another 80cm needle, and I mean really lucky since this was on the start of a weekend trip and the cushion was the only knitting project I brought. I know, rookie mistake, for a 2-day trip you need at least three projects, right?

For the second half of the first round I joined in the second needle, and immediately it was so much more comfortable to knit. I kept knitting the cushion on two circulars until about halfway done, before I transfered the work to just one needle. And I have to say, in hindsight I wish I knit the entire cushion on two needles, because the side edges are much neater (in my opinion) on the first half of the cushion. If you are wondering how to knit on two circular needles, click here for my video.

So now for the follow-up question, why did I not knit magic loop on a long circular, 150cm for instance. Well, for starters I didn’t have a 3mm needle of that length. My interchangeable set also didn’t include a 3mm tip, otherwise I could have connected multiple cords together to get the right length. I did have a 150cm long circular needle in 3,5mm size, which I have used for one project and have never used since. And I thought, why would I suggest people to purchase an 150cm long needle, which they might never use again? So instead, I am recommending using two circular needles of 80cm length. I use 80cm length needles for socks, sweaters, shawls, even hats on magic loop. I think I have about 7 needles of 3mm size and 80cm length, and still I find myself wishing I had more. So, I thought it would be much ‘kinder’ of me as a designer to recommend two highly useable needles, than one needle that might be collecting dust after the cushions are finished.

So there you have it, the long answer to the question “But why on earth would we knit on two circular needles?” To all fellow sceptical knitters out there, I see you 😉 I hope that you will enjoy knitting the Scheepjes KAL cushions, and that you will soon find it very comfortable as well to knit on two circular needles.

Happy knitting everyone!

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Scheepjes KAL 2022 – Cast on week!


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Knitting on Two circular needles – but why?