Knitting needles are like shoes--they can make or break your desired look. Some outfits require heels, some knitting projects will require a sharper point. If the shoe fits, wear it! If the needle gets you gauge, use it! I can go on and on with the analogies because I love shoes and needles, but I think you get the point. Bottom line-you can never have too many shoes and needles!
Knitting sounds like such a simple concept--You use two pointed sticks to pull loops of string through one another. But, there are so many different kinds of yarns and needles on the market. From plain plastic needles to metal, glass, bamboo, woods and many other materials-the choices are plentiful. Then, there are straight needles and circular needles (not to mention double-pointed needles). And further more, there are the varying lengths. All of this can be pretty confusing to a beginner. So, how do you know what needle is right for you and your project? Answer: Ask a Knitwit!
Knitting needles are generally divided into three types: straight (with one pointed end), circular (with two needles connected by a cable), and double-pointed. Each has its purpose.
Needles come in thicknesses from 0.75mm to 25mm. Most commonly you'll find needles also marked with U.S. sizes that correspond to the metric numbers, but to make matters even more confusing, various manufacturers use different metric equivalents for U.S. sizes.
Different knitters like different needles for different reasons. We stock only what we think are the best needles on the market. They may not always be the cheapest option.
Many knitters love bamboo or wooden needles because of their warmth, the natural feel in the hands, and the comforting but quiet clicking sound they make. They’re also good for knitting slick yarns because the needles have a bit of friction, which can help keep the stitches from sliding off the needles. Our Clover Bamboos and Velvets are a great choice for beginners.
Metal needles are smooth, can be found in both sharp and blunt tips, and are wonderful for yarns that otherwise tend to stick, but can be used with all yarns. We really really really like the Addi Turbos and Addi Lace Needles and find that they really improve the speed and the appearance of your knitting. The Addis are slightly more expensive but if you're planning to have a lot of knitting in your future they are worth the investment.
Plastic needles are like eating with plastic utensils. They get the job done-but...you deserve better!
To start your needle collection, I suggest buying circular needles with 24-40" cables. You can knit anything on circular needles. As the need arises, buy the DPs for hats, socks and sleeves, the shorter cables for the same reasons. If you're doing a lot of knitting, buy Addis. I prefer the Addi Lace for the sharper points but I do a lot of yarn overs, k2togs and I use a lot of textured and splitty yarns.
A common misconception is that you'll only need one pair of needles in each size. The truth is, you can never have too many duplicate sets of needles. Not only do needles have a habit of disappearing, but they also like to stay in unfinished projects. If you like to work on more than one project at a time, or if you like the freedom of being able to sort through your stash and begin a project at 3am, you'll need lots of available needles.
Because they spend so much time in your hands, needles can quickly become as cherished as your favorite pet or piece of jewelry. Many knitters, once set on a favorite needle type, will defend it with the same vigor usually reserved for religious or political debates.
Some will touch nothing but birch or rosewood, others cry, "Give me bamboo or give me death!" And many Addi fans would rather switch to decaf than use any other type of needle.
You may find that you prefer several types of needles depending on your project.
Now, if only we could find an attractive and organized way of displaying our knitting needle and shoe collections.