Knitting is a great hobby – with a pair of the best knitting needles and some yarn, you can craft your own sweaters, scarves, hats, and hundreds of other items.
While it is easy to learn the basics of knitting, we understand how difficult the actual process can be for beginners, especially if you do not have a good pair of knitting needles. Before you start on a knitting project, let us explain how to find the right needles.
What Type of Knitting Needle Should You Use?
The first feature to explore is the type of material, as this can impact the ease of use and knitting speed. Knitting needles are made from a variety of materials, including:
Plastic needles are often the least expensive. However, they also allow the yarn to easily slip off the needles. According to a detailed Wikihow article on selecting knitting needles, the slippery needles are useful for speed knitting but may be difficult for beginners.
Wood and bamboo needles offer the most grip on the yarn, preventing stitches from sliding off the needles. Traditional wood needles can be more expensive than other options. Due to the cost, we prefer the bamboo needles.
What Shape Needle Should You Use?
Along with different materials, there are many shapes of knitting needles. The most common options include straight needles, circular needles, and double-pointed needles.
Knitting For Dummies explains that straight needles are the traditional choice for knitting most items. One end of the needle has a point while the other has a bulb or stopper to keep stitches from sliding off the needle. The only projects where we recommend a different needle include projects with a circular design or extremely large projects, such as knitting a large blanket.
When you purchase circular needles, the needles are connected by a cable. The length of the circular needle refers to the length of the two needles from tip to tip. These needles are often used for round projects, such as hats.
Double-pointed knitting needles are mostly used to make socks. They have two pointed ends, which we find useful for circular patterns that are too small for using circular needles.
Choosing the Right Knitting Needle Size
The next consideration is the knitting needle size. The Spruce Crafts explains knitting needle sizing in detail. However, we also know that most patterns that you find online or purchase will have a size recommendation. For example, a pattern may call for a pair of size 8 knitting needles.
The size of the knitting needles determines the size of the stitches. If the knitting needles that you use are too large, the stitches will be too large.
When looking at knitting patterns, you may also see a gauge recommendation. The gauge is the number of stitches that fit into a one-inch section of knitting. The US needle sizes correspond to the gauge. With an 8-gauge knitting pattern, you should use a size 8 US knitting needle.
Understanding the British and Metric Needle Sizes
The US knitting needle sizes are the sizes that you will most commonly deal with. However, some patterns may list a recommendation based on metric or British units of measurement.
The various types of measurements can make it difficult to find the right size. The most common US size is 8, which is a UK size 6 and 5 mm with the metric system.
Depending on the pattern that you find, you may need to convert the knitting needle sizes. Wikipedia has a conversion chart to help find the right size.
Which Knitting Needles are Best for Beginners?
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to knitting needles. We agree with YouTube user Studio Knit that bamboo needles are the best option for beginners. Watch the rest of her video to learn more about selecting knitting needles for beginners.
The main benefit of these needles is that the bamboo material makes it difficult for yarn to slide off the needle. When you are first learning to knit, the traction provided by the material can be incredibly helpful and prevent frustration.
For most projects, you will likely want a pair of straight bamboo needles. You do not need to buy a lot of different pairs of varying sizes. Start by selecting a knitting project and choosing the size based on the recommendation included in the pattern.
In the end, finding the right knitting needles should not be too hard. The three main features to look for include the material, shape, and size. However, the best way to determine which set of needles you require is to look at the pattern that you plan to use.