Help with Circular Needle Cable Length

Hi, I'm a new member and have been enjoying the information shared.
I'm in the Dallas, Texas area and have been knitting for about 4
years. I am self taught but consider myself an intermediate beginner.
I have knitted scarves, socks and 1 sweater (which was my 2nd
project! ) and wanted to try using a cable needle. I have a stocking
cap pattern with a simple cable in WW wool that I am using and it
specifies #8 needles but does not give a clue to how long the cable
should be. I knit my socks using the 2 at a time method with 40"
cables. I am growing very frustrated with the process of trying to
determine how long a cable should be for a project. I'm finding that
there are quite a lot of patterns that tell you to use cable needles
in a certain size but don't say the length of the cable.
Is there some rule of thumb for determining the length you need? I'm
down to a 16" cable but didn't take into account the length of the
needles. The only smaller set I could find is an interchangable set
which is fine but you have the add the length of the needles to the
length of the cable. I guess I will have to go and get a 12" cable and
try that. I finally got frustrated and cast on to DPN to get the hat
started. I do realize I will have to go to DPNs when I decrease for
the top of the hat but wanted to start on the cable needles for the
Thanks for letting me rant...... now if I can just figure out how to
know how long the total length of needles and cable needs to be.
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Michele, I think that you mean you want to use circular needles? Cable needles are used to hold stitches when twisting cables. The length of the circular needle would be determined by the circumference of the hat. If the hat is for an adult, 16 inch needles should be fine, DA
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They do make 12" circs, but people find them very hard to work with as the needles have to be really short. I believe most people knit socks on dpns, or use a long circular and the magic loop method or 2 circulars which can be of any length.
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First off, welcome, Michele! There's lots of knowledge in this group so go ahead and ask any questions you may have.
Next, about the length of circular needles. For a hat I'd use either DPNs or 2 circs, same as with socks. I've found the 12" circs to be too short for me to work with comfortably, but 2 of them would work fine for a hat. I have circular needles in just about every size in 16" and 24" lengths. I find anything longer than that to get in the way when making a sweater in pieces. I do have some 36" and 40" lengths and use them mostly for throws/blankets and top-down sweaters.
The Other Kim kimmeratsoylentgreenfielddotcom
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The Other Kim
Welcome to rcty! I have always used 16" circular needles for hats. I believe that the length of a circular needle includes both the needles and the cable itself. Since most hats are somewhere around 20" in circumference, a 16" is fine (you can squish the stitches on there but don't want them to be too stretched out).
Cheers, LauraJ
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