Working With Two Circular Needles
I love knitting with two circular needles rather than using double pointed needles. Once you get the hang of it, the technique is much easier, less complicated and your stitches never fall off the needles. Plus, you never have a short little needle get lost in the innards of a couch or chair or go rolling merrily across the floor, always managing to stay just out of reach. Let me explain how to do it with a simple set of step by step instructions that will remove all of the confusion from the learning process. But first, take time to settle yourself in your favorite knitting chair with a glass of your favorite libation near at hand. Being comfortable while learning is just as important as the learning process itself. I know that I always learn best when I am relaxed and comfortable. Now, letís do it!
So we are all working on the same project, so to speak, letís talk about finishing a simple hat which has been knit in the round, using a circular needle. When you get to the part of the hat, where you would have to use double pointed needles because the opening is to small to continue knitting on 1 circular needle, here is what you need to do in order to use 2 circulars instead of double pointed needles.
First, divide your stitches onto 2 needles. I like to have 1 needle slightly longer than the other so I can tell where the beginning of the round is. Let's say that your original needle is the shorter needle and the second one is the longer needle. Okay; when you have finished putting half of your stitches on the longer needle, the short needle, the one with the yarn coming out of the first stitch, will be on the right, and the long needle, the one with the other half of the stitches on it will be on the left. (Insert photo 1.)
Now; let go of both of the points of the short, right-hand, needle. Just center those stitches in the middle of the cable so they won't go anywhere.
Now; you will be working with both points of the long needle, the one on your left. Take hold of the closest tip. This will be your left-hand needle. Now, grab hold of the other tip, which is probably somewhere out there, dangling toward the floor. (Insert photo 2.) Pull it around past the new left-hand needle to the other side, so it is in your right hand. This is now your new, right-hand needle. (Insert photo 3.)
Now, let's look at what you've got. You have the short needle, the original one in the back with the stitches that you are not working right now, centered on the cable and both points pushed somewhere out of the way. The yarn is hanging down on your right side, from the cable, not near the point of the needle, because you pushed your stitches to the center of the cable to keep them safe.
You also have your front needle, the long one, which is now your current working needle, and the needle at the beginning of the round. You have the point with the stitches on it in your left hand, and you have the empty point in your right hand.
Now; slip the point of your right hand needle into your first stitch on your left-hand needle like you usually do for whatever kind of stitch you are doing. For simplicity, let's say it is a knit stitch. Pretend that the yarn coming from the cable of the needle in the back, the short one, is coming out of the needle that you are using, and just knit the stitch just as usual, being sure to give the working yarn a little extra tug to make the stitches nice and snug and avoid an unwanted gap. (Insert photo 4.) Now, the yarn really is coming out of the stitch on the needle that you are using. Just continue knitting and knit all of the stitches on the long needle.
Ok; now, repeat the process; only this time the current working needle will be the short one, and you will be working the second half of the round.
Drop both points of the long needle and center the stitches in the middle of the cable.
Pick up both of the points of the new short needle, the one that was In the back, which is now on your left, because you have shifted things around a bit.
Push the stitches up to the top of the closest end of the needle, which is now your left-hand needle. (Insert photo 5.)
Pull the other end of the needle around so it is now your right-hand needle. (Insert photo 6.)
Then, knit all of the stitches on the short needle.
Now, you are ready to do it again. You will have the long needle as the current working needle, and when you begin knitting the stitches on that needle, you will be starting a new round.
It really isn't hard. After you do a few rounds, you will probably wonder why you ever used those pesky double pointed needles in the first place!
1. Stitches divided onto 2 needles, close up of different needle lengths and where the working yarn is positioned.
2. Unused needle in back of work and picking up new needle to be used with one tip in hand, other tip still dangling.
3. Moving dangling tip into appropriate position, on the right side, for knitting.
4. Close up of slipping needle into first stitch and working yarn hanging from unused needle in back of work.
5. Completing the stitch using the yarn from the needle in back and pulling it tight.
6. Stitches divided onto 2 needles, close up of different needle lengths with emphasis on shorter needle at front of work and where the working yarn is positioned.
7. Unused longer needle in back of work and picking up new needle to be used with one tip in hand, other tip still dangling.
8. Close up of stitches pushed to the point of the left hand needle.)
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