How to choose your knitting needles?

This article has been planned for a long time but ... I forgot ... 😥😥 It is therefore time to address the other hot topic when knitting: needles. We tackled the subject of wool: its quality, its structure, its weight, the name we give to the different formats ... It is possible to knit without needles but it is finger-knitting or arm-knitting and the projects are quite limited ...

Again, there is a frightening amount of needles: they are straight, wooden, bamboo, metal or aluminum, with a more or less long cable for knitting in the round, with the magic loop or even with 2 points in set of 5 ; 4 or only 3 needles 😵😵 ... In short, it's time to put everything flat to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The first thing to know about needles is that their size is defined by the diameter of the needle. It can range from 2mm for working fine and lace threads to 25mm (2.5cm) or even more for chunky, jumbo and other threads.

For some reasons that I don't know, in the US they came up with their own system :

Needle Gauge with US metric

Normally, the diameter of the needles is written on it. But it can happen that it disappears, it is then possible to use needle gauges. When needles are sold as a kit, the gauge is part of the kit. I found this beautiful little sheep last year at the Salon du Fil in La Valette du Var (#naayacolletion).

wooden gauge in the shape of a sheep.
Needle gauge

The needles

Straight Needles

They are the best known and easiest to get, no matter what every yarn store or shoud have them. Their lengths (from 30 to 60 cm) will allow you to work more or less stitches and to work any project called "flat". A rectangular scarf, shawl, sweater or cardigan with seams.

The advantage of these needles is that the stitches will not slip since the needles have a closed end. They are also easy to find and often very inexpensive.

However, I find that they are more disadvantages than advantages

  • Their length makes them bulky and difficult to handle since they will knock on the arms.

  • The number of stitches is limited (especially for shawls). When there are too many stitches, the project is packed along the needle, the stitches are then tight and it is possible to miss them or they willby themselves from the needle ... This problem can be solved by having several pairs of the same size but different lengths, but that takes up space ...

  • The larger the size, the less it is possible to cast-on stitches. Who says large needles (7 to 25mm) says thick thread, it will take up more space on your needles and therefore it will be more difficult to make large projects.

  • The whole weight of your project is on these 2 needles. When you work your project, it ends up on your hands and shoulders. Some pain may appear.

Set of permanent or interchangeable circular needles, straight or double point taken together