Afghans with Circular Needles

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Bacchae wrote
on Apr 9, 2011 11:22 AM

Hi!

New here and a rather beginner knitter (I do mostly socks) so I was hoping I could ask you all for a bit of help, please.

There is a pattern in the newest Mary Maxim catalogue that I like but it seems as though it is done on a 40" circular needle.  I have done stuff on circular needles before but I can't get my head around this one.  Could someone please tell me how this works?

The one I'm looking at is:

http://www.marymaxim.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10003_50001_3074457345616968740_-1_3074457345616686294_3074457345616686296

It really appeals to me but I wonder if it is over my head.  I thought at first it might just be done in long scarf like panels and then sewn together but I don't think so. 

Any help would be gratefully received.  Thanks!

 

-  Sandy

 

 

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margrue wrote
on Apr 9, 2011 1:59 PM

This isn't as confusing as it sounds. While knitting an aghan you may have hundreds of stitches on your needles at once. When you get to the end of a row, all the stitches are on one needle. Even if you use 14 inch needles,that is a lot of stitches on one needle. 

If you use a 40 inch circular needle, you will have much more space for your work to spread out on the needle. You knit one row, don't join like you would for knitting around, but turn the whole thing around and knit back the other direction.  All the stitches are spread out in your lap on the length of the circular needle, rather than squashed up on two straight needles in your hands.  Since I learned to do this, I knit almost all flat things in this way, even small things, rather than using straight needles at all.

Just try it once, maybe making something small like a dishcloth on a 16 or 20 inch needle.

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Zoe wrote
on Apr 9, 2011 2:25 PM

Bacchae:
I thought at first it might just be done in long scarf like panels and then sewn together but I don't think so. 

 

Hi Sandy,

Dont for one minute let the circular needle fool you.  There is a "promotion" by various knitting companies to push for the circular needles to be used.  Flat ones are just fine and can be used for this afghan.  It is called Limerick Throw.  Each "square" in the throw is exactly that -- a knitted square.  Each square is knitted separately and then stitched together to form the afghan.  So if your square is ten inches, you would need a 12 inch set of needles.

You will make a set number of squares by knitting each stitch on the right side and purl each stitch on the wrong side(back side).  You make these in different colors.  You get the basketweave effect by placing one square with the rows going horizontal, then place the square next to it so the rows go vertical.  In this manner you alternate the squares through out the entire afghan.  If you look at the picture in the catalogue, you can see that the squares tend to want to "roll" in towards the back of the square.  This is normal for a stockingette stitch flat square to do this.  You dont get this same effect when you knit your socks because they are knit in the round.

Once your squares are in place, then you sew them together using a mattress stitch technique.  Personally, I would crochet them together but not all knitters also do crochet.  For the edge of the afghan, there are triangles that are knit and sewn into the V spaces left between the squares.

When you knit up your socks, do you use the dpns?  I like my dpn needles very much and only recently have started to use the circular needles for some flat knitting but they are not necessary.  It just seems to be a "new fad" going through the knitting world at the moment.  Come check us out on the SOCKS thread.

Happy knitting, Zoe Smile

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Merlich wrote
on Apr 9, 2011 4:10 PM

Hi Bacchae,

I think, besides what it is said in the previous posts, it is not a commercial issue the fact that companies try to aim us to turn to circular needdles. No. It is for comfort. It is not the same stress your wrists have to stand for with straight needles than with circular ones. With the first ones your wrists hold the weight of your entire knitting and with the second ones, your lap has resting your labour on. In addition, you also can be more confident that all that huge number of stitches won't be in danger to be out of the straight needles in every row you finish or when you are turning your work. For me, circular needles is a nice way to make my knitting more enjoyable, you work relaxed.

It is just what you are used to. If you tried working with circulars you could decide whether you keep on with them or you go back to the straight ones.

Let's experiment new things. Everybody has their preferences. Make yours.

Patience, persistence and love are the main ingredients for wonderful knittings.

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margrue wrote
on Apr 11, 2011 7:08 AM

After looking at a picture of the Limerick  Afghan, it looks like it is done in "Entrelac", which is a way of making rows of squares  that are set on point, and create a woven effect. This would be made with all the stitches on the needles at once, not as separate squares.

You can do a web search for "entrelac knitting ' to see how it is done.

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Bacchae wrote
on Apr 11, 2011 8:42 AM

Thanks!

I found a tutorial on entrelac on-line and I am going to try that out as soon as I am done the sweater I am doing for my daughter. 

I really appreciate your help, everyone.  I was really intimidated by the whole thing and wondered if I could manage it.  I miss my Mom so much now that I am really knitting consistently and don't have her around to help me.  It almost makes me cry every time I pick up the needles.

Thanks again!  I really appreciate the help. 

Oh, and I do my socks with DPNs from the cuff down.  I figure I now know how to do that and I'm not planning on doing anything fancy like lacework or cables so I'm good.  What can I say, I'm not a particularly ambitious knitter.  : )  I like colours more than patterns, I think.  Now, give me a hand-painted yarn and I'll follow you anywhere.  : )

 

-  Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

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Merlich wrote
on Apr 11, 2011 5:53 PM

Hi Sandy,

It is good you feel like crying. It's your mom. You should cry. You may feel better.

Excuse me for changing the subject that sudden. I was in youtube watching dropsdesing and there is a video:

http://www.youtube.com/user/dropsdesign#p/u/86/I_1ibXQH3L4

about what you are talking about knitting squares as if they were the entrelac technique. Maybe it is what you are looking for. I do not know if it was my machine but they are soundless videos.

Bye, bye.

Patience, persistence and love are the main ingredients for wonderful knittings.

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maren wrote
on Sep 19, 2011 8:58 AM

Hi zoe!

New Fad???? Oh no! 30 years ago my mom tought me knitting and pointed out that straight needles are a thing from the past :-)

It is a question of knitting style! In continental knitting anything seriously above socks in stitch number is better placed on circulars.

With circulars the weight is more in your lap than on your shoulders / elbows. Look at the arthritis section :-)

Also it travels better- circulars can be squashed, bundeled up etc and pass airport security :-)

So please give the 30 year old 'new fad' a chance :-)

Greetings

Maren

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