My hands feel empty without knitting and always love to be working on a project. I have too many WIP’s and I’m always wanting to start a new project. My knitting needle collection is varied, and I do have my favourite needles. It took me many years to figure out what I liked to use when creating my knitting masterpieces. Where do you start if you are learning to knit? Walking down the knitting needle aisle can leave newbies unsure what needles they need for the first project. Here is a quick guide of needles you will find in the knitting needle aisle in Lincraft.
Straight needles are what everyone thinks of when they think of ‘knitting.’ They come in pairs and have a point at one end and a stopper at the other end to stop the knitting sliding off. I used them for many for years until I felt confident enough to move onto projects that were more than flat panels. They are a good starting point when you are learning the process of how to knit. It is easy to track what row you are completing and to count the number of stitches on the needles. Straight needles are great for small items, but there is always a risk of losing one of the pairs. I have had needles drop out of my bag, pierce the storage bag, bend and even snap when they have been in my storage bag.
Circulars are short needle tops joined with a clear flexible cord and are typically used for knitting in the round. Circulars are my all-time favourite type of needle to use while knitting. Knitting projects in the round, I avoid- my least favourite thing about knitting – sewing up seams! I even knit flat items on circulars because I love how quickly and safely I can store them away with the project.
A project with a significant amount of stitches can be troublesome on straight. On circulars, the weight of the project is distributed away from your wrists/arms to the cord joining the needles. Knitting on the go is easy as you don’t have to worry about losing anything as the needles are joined together with a clear cord.
Double pointed needles or DPN’s are not as scary as they appear. I was amazed at how easy they were to use once I learnt how to use them. Double pointed are like circular needles are great for knitting tubes of knitting, e.g. socks or beanies. I do like knitting with DPN’s but since you need multiple double pointed needles to create one project, losing a needle can be annoying. Once, I was knitting with double pointed needles on a plane as it was taking off, I went to knit into the next stitches on the needle and I drop a DPN and it rolled all the way to the back of the plane! I never found that needle again. Maybe the moral of the story is don’t knit while an aircraft is taking off?
There is no right needle material you have to have when knitting with specific yarn. Everyone has their preference for what they like to use when knitting. I have a favourite but swap other materials if the yarn is gripping the needles in a way it slows down my knitting.
I must start with my personal favourite of material for knitting needles. I find bamboo more comfortable on my hands if I am knitting for an extended amount of time. The rougher surface of the wood helps stop the yarn slipping off the needles compared to other materials. The bamboo warms in your hands nicely while still feeling light.
Metal gives a smooth surface for stitches to slip as you knit. Rougher yarn works well with metal as it won’t drag as much on the needles making the knitting process smoother. Fast knitters love metal needles as it can speed up your knitting. I get annoyed with the metallic noise they can make while knitting plus feel cold in your hands longer than other materials.
Plastic needles are cheaper and great for beginners who may not want to spend a lot to test out if they enjoy the craft. The needles are available in bright colours that could help inspire children to learn to knit. Plastic is flexible, and lightweight is great for knitters with issues with their hands. I find knitting non-traditional materials (t-shirt or plastic strips) are smoother on plastic needles.
What is your favourite type needle or material? Comment below!