Circular Needles: How many stitches will they hold?

Edit: As knitsnwovens‘ comment points out (thanks for catching my blip!), the table below actually lists the minimum number of stitches that each circ will accommodate, so I’m amending this post.

You know when you run across those notes on little scrap pieces of paper and you say, “Hey, I’ve been looking for that!”  And at the time you scribble them down, think, “I’ll remember where I got this!”

Well, I just ran across this one, and with apologies, I do not remember the source. If anyone knows who the original author is, please let me know so I can give credit here (I’m pretty sure it came from a book).

This table lists the minimum number of sts required for each of four circular needles at the stated gauges. It’s actually better to have more than that so that you don’t have to stretch the stitches too much as you are knitting. As knitsnwovens‘ comment mentions, circ’s can actually accommodate a surprising number of stitches before the sts become too crowded to manage.



16″ [41cm] 24″ [61cm] 29″ [74cm] 36″ [91cm]
5 80 120 145 180
6 100 140 175 215
7 110 170 205 250
8 130 190 230 290
9 140 220 260 325
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3 Comments to “Circular Needles: How many stitches will they hold?”

  1. I divided these stitch counts out, and it turns out that it’s giving the number of stitches to equal the size of the circular (all the ones under 16″ are 16″ around…). Are you sure that it isn’t the _minimum_ number of stitches rather than the max? My vague memory is that you can cram up to 4x the width on a circular, but you don’t want to go below the circular size or things get rather stretched out…

  2. I believe you are absolutely right — seems that’s true for all of the entries in the table. More reasons to take really good notes! I will amend the post. Thanks!

  3. Thank you so much for this info. My favorite circular needles are the 16 inch length. I knit hats for charity and Ships Support and the 16 inch length works the best (IMHO).

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