Thursday, November 17, 2011

Knitting Tip: How to Straighten the Cord on Your Circular Needles

My circular needles came coiled up in little plastic packs, which meant their cords were forever stuck in an annoying circular shape.  My knitting was hard to slide down the cord and sometimes came at me from an awkward angle.

How on Earth am I supposed to knit with this thing?

I forget where I learned this tip, but I remember that it was early in my knitting career and I thought, Why didn't I think of that?  Maybe you'll think that, too or maybe you already have!  Either way, this little tidbit has helped me a lot in my circular knitting, and I hope it helps you, too.

How to Straighten the Cord on Your Circular Needles

1. Heat a large pot of water on the stove but don't bring it all the way to a boil.  Pre-simmer is perfect.

2. Dip the cord of your circular needle into the hot water and hold it there for several seconds, maybe 15 or 20.

3. Hold the cord between your thumb and forefinger in a tight pincher grip and slide your fingers down the length of the cord to straighten.  (I'm sorry I couldn't take a photo of this step -- I didn't have enough hands!)  Don't attempt to just pull the cord taught with one end of the needle in each hand -- this could stretch the cable and possibly pull it apart in a weak spot (it almost happened to me the first time I tried it!). 

If it didn't work to uncurl the cord, dip it back in your hot water for a slightly longer period of time and try again.  Don't forget to hold the cord straight while it's cooling, otherwise it may snap right back into its original curled-up state.

Here's my final result:

It still has some curl in it, but it's a big improvement over its initial state and is so much easier to work with.  The curl will eventually snap back after the needle has been in storage for a while.

I hope this tip is helpful to all the knitters out there.  If there are other techniques or tips you're interested in hearing about, please leave a suggestion in the comments!


  1. What a wonderful tip, my teenage daughter is in love with knitting, so much so she asked for more yarn and needles for Christmas, I will have to share this tip with her!!

  2. Knitting/crocheting are the only crafts I repeatedly and epically fail at.

    Someday...wish you were in Chicago!


  3. You know, I'd always wondered if this would work, but I never followed through. Thanks for doing the work for me! :)


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