Shorty Needles

I’ve had a few raised eyebrows about the 12” circulars in my patterns. Don’t be afraid, dear knitters. You can knit those sleeves with anything you want. I’ll tell you how and why I fell in love with 12” circulars and then you decide what’s best for you. Deal?

A little background:

I’m usually a DPN girl. My first knitting needles were size 2 double points for baby booties and Barbie clothes, and for most of my knitting life I’ve been loyal. I’ve tried to fall in love with Magic Loop, but all that extra loop really interferes with my speed. I’m a very fast knitter — Continental meets Production Style — and I want zero fuss when it comes to needles. I’m not saying DPN’s are no-fuss. (DPN’s = Fuss) But they are a little bit less fiddly than the hassle of two circulars or magic loop. For me. (Side Note: I’m 100% sure there are Magic Loop or 2-Circ knitters that are crazy fast. I’m just saying that, based on my knitting style, those methods are not the most efficient for me.)

I tried 9” circulars once for knitting socks (“Oh! Look how cute those are!”). Have you seen those? Run away. (Just kidding, I’m sure someone loves them. Not me, but someone.)

It was a fluke, really — I bought a pair of 12” circ’s just because they were there and I was curious. I tried them on a sleeve. I knit a few inches. Awkward. I tossed them aside and went back to DPN’s. (I was practically petting those DPN’s when I got them back into the sleeve. Oh the safety and comfort of the familiar!)

About an inch back into the DPN’s I started thinking, hmm… Another inch. Hmmmm… were they really that bad?

It’s the second try that made all the difference. I found a way to hold them that was mostly comfortable. I say “mostly,” because it requires a little finagling to figure out what feels right for you. I cajoled my nimble little fingers into a bit of a yoga pose and I started knitting.

Before I knew it I had a sleeve. And then another sleeve.

What I realized about the 12” circular for sleeves is that it’s a much faster process. If you can stand to hold them, you’re really going to like how easy they are to work with.

I made the suggestion to my test knitter, Dee. Try the 12” circ’s. Beware of the first few inches. Don’t give up. You’ll hate them for about an hour (maybe two), but keep going. See what you think.

Dee’s first report was much like mine. “I don’t know about these needles.” I know, Dee. I know. But don’t give up yet.

Her next report? She said, “They’re easier. I’m using them!”

I’ve since had several pattern testers tell me the same thing, so I’m now convinced that it’s not a figment of my imagination. Maybe you won’t like them, and that’s okay. But give them a try, and then another try. Give them a sleeve. And then go back to your other method and see which you like best.

If you fall in love with the shorties, you’re welcome. If not, you didn’t hear about them from me. 😉

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