Circular Needles: How many stitches will they hold?

Edit July 2014: maximum numbers have now been added to the table below.

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 (min) and maximum (max) number of sts that will fit different circular needles at the stated gauges. The minimums are the least you should consider for each needle; to avoid stretching the work unnecessarily, it is recommended that more than the absolute minimum number of stitches be worked on any given size needle. 

Gaugests/in 16″ [41cm]min / max 24″ [61cm]min / max 29″ [74cm]min / max 36″ [91cm]min / max 60″ [152cm]min / max
5 80 / 160 120 / 240 145 / 290 180 / 360 300 / 600
6 100 / 200 140 / 280 175 / 350 215 / 430 360 / 720
7 110 / 220 170 / 340 205 / 410 250 / 500 420 / 840
8 130 / 260 190 / 380 230 / 460 290 / 580 480 / 960
9 140 / 280 220 440 260 / 520 325 / 650 540 / 1080
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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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