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Link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ridge-stitch-pullover

If this is the correct pattern, it looks like it's knit flat in pieces (not in the round). Therefore, the cable length is meant to comfortably accommodate the number of stitches being worked.

EDITED: I see that the neckline is knit in the round, so that may be why you might need the shorter needle. It'll be your choice though, maybe you prefer magic loop or using two circulars.
 

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Just made note of this earlier today for my own use ~

Circular Needles
Stitches to 10 cm / 4"
for 4" swatch on 16" ~ 24" ~ 32" ~ 36"
20 st swatch 80 ~ 117 ~ 157 ~ 196
22 st swatch 88 ~ 129 ~ 173 ~ 216
24 st swatch 96 ~ 141 ~ 189 ~ 236
26 st swatch 104 ~ 153 ~ 205 ~ 255
28 st swatch 112 ~ 164 ~ 220 ~ 275
30 st swatch 120 ~ 176 ~ 236 ~ 294
32 st swatch 128 ~ 188 ~ 252 ~ 314
34 st swatch 136 ~ 200 ~ 268 ~ 334
36 st swatch 144 ~ 212 ~ 284 ~ 353

Therefore
16" circulars for ~ 80 to 144 sts
24" circulars for ~ 117 to 212 sts
32" circulars for ~ 157 to 28 sts
36" circulars for ~ 196 to 353 sts
 

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The smaller the number of sts indicates which needle length to use....
 

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It appears that the 16" is used at the start of the neckline. You can tell by the pickup of stitches and the instructions to join and work in the round.
Sleeves: With size #4 needles and main color, cast on 86 (92, 94, 100) sts.
► Neckline: With size #4 needle and main color, pick up and knit 84 (88, 98, 108) sts. . Join. Working in the round, ...

On the sleeves you would work on the longer #4 circular by rows for the ribbing, then swith to the #6 when instructed.
For the front and back ribbing you are working on the #4 - 24" length.
 

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Thank-you for sharing this. I've saved it in a file.
Rafiki said:
Just made note of this earlier today for my own use ~

Circular Needles
Stitches to 10 cm / 4"
for 4" swatch on 16" ~ 24" ~ 32" ~ 36"
20 st swatch 80 ~ 117 ~ 157 ~ 196
22 st swatch 88 ~ 129 ~ 173 ~ 216
24 st swatch 96 ~ 141 ~ 189 ~ 236
26 st swatch 104 ~ 153 ~ 205 ~ 255
28 st swatch 112 ~ 164 ~ 220 ~ 275
30 st swatch 120 ~ 176 ~ 236 ~ 294
32 st swatch 128 ~ 188 ~ 252 ~ 314
34 st swatch 136 ~ 200 ~ 268 ~ 334
36 st swatch 144 ~ 212 ~ 284 ~ 353

Therefore
16" circulars for ~ 80 to 144 sts
24" circulars for ~ 117 to 212 sts
32" circulars for ~ 157 to 28 sts
36" circulars for ~ 196 to 353 sts
 

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chayayita said:
I'm starting the Ridge Stitch Pullover. The directions say it needs #4 circular, in 16" & 24" lengths, but it doesn't say when to use each. Can someone advice me? Thanks.
If there are too many stitches for the 16" needle, like the body, use the 24".
OR...start to finish with a 40" circular needle, using Magic Loop technique...then you can knit the smallest number of stitches using that long circular. Personally the only thing I ever use a circular shorter than 40" for is a stitch holder. I knit socks (Two At A Time) hats, cowls, mitts, and sweaters all on 40" circulars....all using Magic Loop technique...and never have to change to a shorter circular.

Just saw this pattern seems to be worked flat, and does not require use of ML technique. Therefore it is not really necessary to use a shorter length needle. IMHO, the suggestion to use two different length needles comes from a desire to sell one more needle... When knitting flat items...there is no real need to use a shorter needle.
 

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Rafiki said:
Just made note of this earlier today for my own use ~

Circular Needles
Stitches to 10 cm / 4"
for 4" swatch on 16" ~ 24" ~ 32" ~ 36"
20 st swatch 80 ~ 117 ~ 157 ~ 196
22 st swatch 88 ~ 129 ~ 173 ~ 216
24 st swatch 96 ~ 141 ~ 189 ~ 236
26 st swatch 104 ~ 153 ~ 205 ~ 255
28 st swatch 112 ~ 164 ~ 220 ~ 275
30 st swatch 120 ~ 176 ~ 236 ~ 294
32 st swatch 128 ~ 188 ~ 252 ~ 314
34 st swatch 136 ~ 200 ~ 268 ~ 334
36 st swatch 144 ~ 212 ~ 284 ~ 353

Therefore
16" circulars for ~ 80 to 144 sts
24" circulars for ~ 117 to 212 sts
32" circulars for ~ 157 to 28 sts
36" circulars for ~ 196 to 353 sts
All this information will work for only ONE gauge.

It's simpler to see how long the circumference is, and use a corresponding length needle. Then, you don't have to do a lot of calculations.
 

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The shorter one might be best for the neck and cuffs on the sleeves....i have more longer cables than short as I prefer to use the Magic loop and 2 at a time for as much as possible...the last jumper I made I used a joinedr for my cable to make longer so I could pick up all my stitches for both my sleeves to do 2 at a time magic loop I was so glad I did it worked so well
 

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IndigoSpinner said:
All this information will work for only ONE gauge. It's simpler to see how long the circumference is, and use a corresponding length needle. Then, you don't have to do a lot of calculations.
Agreed ...
 
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