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How To Choose A Knitting Needle

When choosing a needle for your project there are two main things that you will need to consider.  First, you will need to decide which type of needle you need.  The second thing you will need to decide is the material of the needle. 

The main types of needles are circular, double point, and straight needles.  We will cover the reason for using each type.

Circular Needles- These might be the most versatile knitting needle out of them all.  Circular needles are the perfect choice for knitting in the round and also knitting flat pieces.  They consist of a needle tip on each end with a cord joining them. These are used for projects like hats, sweaters, socks, sleeves, mittens and more.  One thing to consider when selecting your circular knitting needle is length.  For example, when you are knitting a hat you typically start at the bottom and knit your way up to the top.  If you are using a 16-inch circular needle to start out with, that it going to be much too long for the top of the hat.  You have several options- you can switch to double point needles when the stitches get too tight around the circular needle (see below for info on double point needles); you can use a long needle to knit the entire hat using the magic loop method; you can knit the entire hat using two circular needles at the same time.   Circular knitting needles can also be used for knitting flat projects.  If you are knitting a large project like a sweater or a blanket you will most likely need to use circular needles to accommodate all of your stitches.

Addi Rocket Knitting NeedlesAddi Circular Knitting Needles

Double Points Needles- Dpn (double point needles) are also used for knitting in the round.  They typically consist of 5 needles but this can vary by project and type.  They are needles that have points on both ends.  They are used for projects like hats, socks, sleeves, mittens and more.  Unlike circular needles you can’t knit flat pieces and you can only knit in the round with dpn.  You will typically have your stitches arranged on 4 of the needles while using the 5th to knit.

Addi Double Point Knitting NeedlesDouble Point Knitting Needles

Straight Needles- Straight or Single Point needles are used for knitting flat pieces.  They consist of two needles that have a point on one end.  These are used for knitting sweaters, scarves, blankets and more. 

addi straight knitting needlesAddi Straight Knitting Needles

Now that you know which type of needle you’ll need, it’s time to decide what material to use.  All knitters are different and some may just prefer one type over the other and that’s totally fine!  We will just cover the different materials and their common usage below.

Wooden and bamboo needles-  These needles offer a slight grip when knitting, so they work great with slippery yarns like silk.  They are also preferable to new knitters who are getting the hang of keeping their stitches on the needles.  The bamboo wood has a warm feeling and is slightly flexible.  

 

Metal needles-  These needles are slick and can allow for very fast knitting.  This makes them a favorite for experiences knitters.  They are also great for knitting wool yarns that might be more prone to catch on a bamboo needle.  Metal needles may offer another option in the form of different sharpness of needle tip.  The sharper tips are great for projects like lace knitting.

Plastic needles- These are the typically the least expensive option so they are good for new knitters who might not want to invest in a more expensive needle.