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November 17, 2009 7:06 PM   Subscribe

Knitting filter: Help me get my yarn unstuck from my circular needle.

I am currently working on this hat and I have gotten my yarn stuck on the needle while decreasing. This is my first time ever using circular needles, and Google-fu and Ravelry are failing me. It seems that my stitches have gotten tight as I've decreased and now they are so small that I can't move them onto the ends of the needles without potentially ripping my yarn. Can any experienced knitters help me get out of my quandry? Thanks so much.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The problem you're running into is that your circumference is too small for the needles. You need to switch to double-pointed needles for the rest.
posted by that girl at 7:12 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

You need to switch to double-pointed needles toward the end of a hat--maybe if you try a size smaller than the needles you're using, you'll have an easier time and the yarn won't be stretched as tightly.
posted by leesh at 7:12 PM on November 17, 2009

Darn you, preview!!
posted by leesh at 7:13 PM on November 17, 2009

Yup. there isn't enough knitting to stretch the length of the circular. Switch to double pointed needles of the same size, or two short circulars, or magic loop on one long one.
posted by peachfuzz at 7:14 PM on November 17, 2009

Yeah, but now that they're stuck it's too late to switch needles, right? I did this before and got the needle out by lots of wiggling and rotating of the needles. It took forever, but I didn't break the yarn. (But maybe I was knitting with strips of polar fleece at the time.)

The problem isn't the circumference of the top of the hat, it's the size of each stitch that's wrapped around the plastic bendy part of the needle, at least, that's what I'm assuming. It happened because I was tightening up the stitches somehow after the stitches had fallen off the needle onto the plastic flexible part.

I am an incredibly inexperienced knitter, but I've made a few hats. I would carefully wiggle each stitch off onto a smaller knitting needle or crochet hook and put the end of the yarn through the stitches and call the hat finished. Also, you can finish the hat without double pointed needles, but then there will be much cursing. (I don't have dpns because they all looked too long at the store and I was convinced I was going to buy the wrong thing.) If the circumference of the hat is actually the problem, pull a loop of the plastic part out of the hat so that it sticks out in between the stitches and knit until it gets too close. Then pull a bit more out and knit and repeat until you're done.
posted by artychoke at 7:26 PM on November 17, 2009

Nthing dpns, or a longer circular needle for a method called magic loop.


You will be glad of it. It's like metafilter for knitting and crochet.
posted by bilabial at 7:37 PM on November 17, 2009

Try single-loop, which is pretty much what artychoke is suggesting at the end of her post. I can't use dpns to save my life, but I magic-loop and single-loop like a champ, which is how I've always done small-circumference knitting.
posted by pised at 7:43 PM on November 17, 2009

Yeah, but now that they're stuck it's too late to switch needles, right?

No. Try unknitting a row or two onto one of your new needles (you'll need to undo some stitches anyway to loosen the tension). If you can't wiggle the stitches off the needle, you could at last resort sacrifice your circular, cut the plastic thing between the needles, then unravel a few rows, then pick the stitches up again. (If you've never taken live knitting off the needles before, it's scary at first, but if you do it in a good light and keep your wits about you, you'll be fine. Get a more experienced friend to help.)
posted by ottereroticist at 10:47 PM on November 17, 2009

New circular knitters always freak out because the cable part is so much thinner than the needles. But don't worry; the size of the stitch is determined by the part at the ends where you make the loop, so the stitches can't physically shrink so small they don't go over the needle. Instead it's just what everyone else suggested: you've run out of stitches to go around your needle. Just take a DPN or another circular in your right hand and start knitting the stitches on to it. They'll come. You may have to shove, but you'll get them off.
posted by web-goddess at 1:16 AM on November 18, 2009

nthing switching to double pointed needles.

One technique you might use to get the yarn to the end of your circular needles is to pinch the middle of the flexible part of the circs, and push the pinched middle out through one of the stitches in the middle of the round. This should give you enough room to push half the stitches on each side to the end of the needle, so that you can knit them off onto dpns.

If you're going out to buy double pointed needles, bring your hat. Virtually any yarn store has a friendly person at the front counter who can help you as well..
posted by Philbo at 6:54 AM on November 18, 2009

How close to done are you? If the hat's long enough, you could thread a length of yarn through using a yarn needle, tighten it up like a drawstring, and call it a day.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:28 AM on November 18, 2009

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