Because I am really a beginner knitter, and because I had never done any knitting on circular needles, I bought 1 set at the fabric store with some yarn and then bought some more ion eBay.
I was afraid to spend money on the interchangeables because I couldn't see them , or touch them.
I didn't know that a 16" circular needle was measured from needle tip to needle tip and not just the cable , which is what I thought.
Now that I have spent more than enough to buy a starter set or two of other needles, I wish I had been more adventuresome.
I do have a question. What does one knit with circular needles with such short cables? The cables are so short it seems impossible that any knitting can be down with them.
I have one set that has size 15 needle with a six inch cable. What can be made with these?
16" are usually used for hats, but you do have to switch to double pointed needles after the decreases. I use 24" circulars for knitting sweaters and 32" for afghans. I just bought 47" lace needles, but I haven't used them yet. You could also use the 16" circulars to knit wash/dishcloths which are useful and a good way to try out new techniques and patterns. The size 15 needle could be used to make a scarf out of a novelty yarn.
You can use the size 15 to knit back and forth as you would with two needles and it will hold more stitches. You can learn to knit with two circular needles and knit smaller projects. Look up knitting on two circular needles.
If you are interested in finding out about interchangeables (almost everyone loves them), KnitPicks.com sells a sampler set for $19.99 and you can see if you like them. Then if you add more, or buy a set, you will have two of some sizes. The Harmony and the new Sunstruck are my favorites. The points are nice and "pointy" and will make the learning process easier. The connecting cables are more flexible than any craft store brands.
As you have figured out by now, it's all a learning process.
I did look up knitting on two circular needles and it appears to me to be like magic Loop. I haven't yet mastered that concept. Besides, both of the cables they used were long ones.
I do like circular needles for straight knitting when I carry them with me on my commute as they are easier to carry and manage on bus and train.
After I finish some scarves, hats, and a capelet, I am going to try some leg warmers. Don't know if I will ever get to socks.
As usual, I appreciate people sharing their experience and knowledge.
the 15 tips on a 6 cable are rather unusual. I am not even sure if that would hold enough stitches foof chunky yarn for legwarmers... maybe some fingerless mitts? The 16" are good for hats or maybe to knit back and forth for a small item, like a aby sweater, scarf, cowl, etc.
I try to find the shorter, circular needles for use in making socks, hats, etc. I have even invested in several sets of the Clover circulars on 6in or so with tips of 4,6,8 for making hats for our church mission. I find they are a bit tiresome on the hands but work the yarn so much faster than DPN's. Some can be found in thrift bags or tag sales and I think I have a real "find" when I come across them.
Hilary, thanks for the chart, I'm sure that's going to be a great help.