For anyone who is new in the world of knitting, choosing the right needles can be overwhelming. Although there are various tools that knitters can buy for their projects, yarns and knitting needles are the most essential. Needles come in different types and sizes and each one of them has a specific purpose. Let’s talk details.
Single point or straight needles
Probably this will be your first pair of a knitting needle. The design of this model features a point at one end and the other end features a knob that is used to stop the stitches falling off. They are usually made of metal and are thick about 5mm. They are mostly made from hollow plastic, but you can also find bamboo and wooden models. The standard length of a single point knitting needle is 35cm which allows knitting large items like blankets, for instance. On the other hand, short needles which are usually around 15cm long are used for small projects. Also, due to their small size, often time they are marketed as “for kids”.
Double pointed needles
These are usually short, about 10 to 20cm and are mostly used for small projects like knitting gloves, hats and socks. You can find them in smaller sizes from 2-4mm or thicker ones around 8mm. Today there are plenty of brands that are making and selling needles for knitting so you can find double-pointed needles made from steel, nickel, plastic, bamboo and wood. They usually come in sets of 4 or 5 but you can find them in sets of 6 as well.
Fixed circular needles
In this type, two matching needle tips are joined together with a flexible plastic cable which makes them great for larger projects. The length of the cable usually ranges from about 30 to 150cm. Flexible thin cables are a better choice as they are easier to use. Also, the length of the cable should be shorter than your project. For example, if you are knitting a jumper for a 100cm wide chest, you should use a cable that’s 80cm long.
Wondering how to knit with circular needles? With circular needles, you should knit in the round starting on the right side or in the front of the material. The most common stitches that can be worked in the round are stockinette stitch where you need to knit every row and the garter stitch where you need to knit one row. Also, you can use these needles to knit something flat like wraps, throws or afghans. Knitting flat is the same as working with straight needles. Knit from the left to the right needle as usual.
These needles are a brilliant invention. They are actually circular needles where the tips come off and can be swapped around. What this actually means is that instead of needing a 5mm needle with a 40 cm cable for knitting a hat and one with an 80 cm cable for a jumper and then the same again in 4.5mm for the rib on each, you can mix and match as required. For instance, you can buy one pair with 5mm tips, one with 4.5mm tips, one with 40cm and an 80cm cable.
How many sizes of knitting needles are there?
A lot, and this is what makes it hard to choose the right ones. Especially if you are a beginner. There are knitting needles that are 5mm-2.25mm, but if you are a beginner, don’t even think about using them as they are mostly used for projects that require a lot of patience. Needles ranging in size from 2.25mm-3.25mm or 3.3mm are mostly used for knitting socks. Needles that are 3.25mm/3.3mm-3.75mm are used with a sport-weight yarn which is commonly used for all kinds of projects – from sweaters and socks to baby blankets and more.
Knitting needles with ranging from 3.75mm-4.5mm are great for everything from scarves to gloves and sweaters while those from 4.5mm-5.4mm/5.5mm are the most popular option and are usually paired with worsted-weight yarn. Chances are, this will be your first combination of needle and yarn you will use to learn to knit with. Needles from 5.4mm/5.5mm-8.0mm are the best choice for chunky-weight yarn. Although you can use any knitting needle type for this yarn, long circular needles are the most suitable as they can hold all the weight of the project perfectly.
Materials of knitting needles
Plastic is a good choice of material for beginners since these needles are easy to use and affordable. Plus, they offer a smooth knit with their flexible and lightweight structure. Bamboo needles are another popular choice. Wooden needles come at a slightly higher price and they offer a soft warming feel allowing the stitches to move quickly and freely. Also, they are durable, lightweight and comfortable to work with. Metal needles are the most traditional type and they are usually made from aluminium. They feature a strong and slippery surface that enables faster knitting and are usually used by experienced knitters. They work well with all types of knitting yarn, especially with acrylic and wool.
Where to buy knitting needles near me?
Depending on where you live, you may not be able to find a brick-and-mortar yarn store near you, but you can always buy knitting needles online. There are plenty of online stores that offer a wide range of knitting supplies allowing you to browse their products in peace and read their product descriptions and compare prices. You can also read reviews from people who already have experience with a certain product or online store so you can make an informed decision.