facebook icon

Choosing the right needles for your project is important. Today Miss Matty shares her tips in understanding which needle to use for your first knitting project. 

When teaching an art form, I find it is important to first understand your tools. I once taught a needlepoint class and was amazed that many of my students did not even know how to thread the needle.

The size of your needle is very important. The pattern will suggest a size, but we all have different knitting styles. Some people are very tense and knit tightly, while others are much more relaxed knitters.

The finished sweater could be like the three bears; much too small, much too big or just right.

There are many sizes of needles, but most of us will knit in a range of U.S. 5 thru 10 when we start out.

Your pattern may say mm (millimetres), but the package will give you both U.S. and mm.  This number is referring to the diameter of the knitting needle—how thick or thin it is.

Do not presume that the pattern’s recommended size will necessarily be the right size for you. It is so important to knit the suggested swatch before you begin a knitting project. If it is too small compared to the suggested swatch, you should increase the size of your needle until you reach the suggested measurement. If the swatch is too big, decrease the size of your needle. 

Circular Needles

Now let’s discuss some of your choices of needle types.

Straight: This is exactly what you would expect.  

Circular: A circular needle is essentially two straight needle points connected by a cable. I do a great deal of my knitting on this type of needle. Firstly, it means you never lose its mate. Secondly, you can fold your knitting into a smaller, neater piece to put in your bag to take with you. This needle is generally used for knitting large pieces in the round.

Double-pointed: Then there is the double-pointed needle, which comes in sets of four.  This needle type is designed to knit in the round for small items like socks, mittens and hats. 

Let’s talk about the various materials that you will find the needles available in. It is very often a matter of personal choice, and it is always your preference as to what colour you would like to choose.

Bamboo: Many people like bamboo needles. They are warm, natural and very easy to work with. However, they do not work quite as smoothly as plastic.

Plastic: Plastic needles are inexpensive. They work very smoothly but break easily.

Metal: Metal needles are used by many. They are not as smooth as the others, but many people prefer their weight.

Next blog: know your beginner yarn.