Knitting in Small Diameter: 2 Circulars
February 4, 2011
If Magic Loop is not for you or should you find a project that needs a different method to make it easier/enjoyable or with more needles than knitting with 2 circulars is your cup of tea. I recently started a project that is perfectly suited to knitting with 2 circs: Saartje Slippers. Since these slippers are for a toddler they are small. But since they are knit from the bottom up they are starting out flat which makes it difficult to use Magic Loop (I've tried) so I cast onto 2 circs- which is also easier to manage the fancy cast-on called for: Magic Cast-on. These slippers are now going much faster and easier.
To knit on 2 circs first you need to cast on. You can either cast all your stitches onto one needle and then divide them among the 2 needles after or you can cast on half your stitches on to one needle and then let the first needle dangle while you cast the remainder on to your second needle. You will need 2 circular needles of the same size and the same or close cable length. It is very important that you knit from each left needle with the right needle it is attached to. If you just grab which ever needle is closest to you to knit from when you get to the end of the row you might find all your stitches on one needle instead of split onto 2. You are basically knitting on side of your project with the first needle and the other side with the 2nd needle- do not mix n match. To begin you will join without twisting and it will seem like flat knitting on a circular needle but once you reach the end of your stitches you will not turn. You will let the first needle dangle (making sure the stitches hang out on the middle of the cable so as not to slide off) and pick up the second needle and knit across that. Once you have knit the first needle and the 2nd that is one round completed. It is very similar to magic loop but allows more leeway for thicker fabrics or if you do not have a great inventory of longer cables needed for magic loop. It can also be easier to mark the beginning of your round or halfway point and you don't have to worry that your stitches may slide together as they might in magic loop.
I prefer knitting on 2 circs when knitting small items in bulky yarns, the beginnings of circular blankets and sometimes the bodies of sweaters. I find the 2 lengths of cable allow me to try on the sweater without having to transfer onto waste yarn, switch to longer cable or add to my cable length if using Interchangeables. This can also be used on hats too. While knitting on 2 circs does call for a double stock of cable needles, it is an indispensible technique to have in your knitting bag.
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