There is an ocean of different knitting needles out there and every knitter seems to have a drawer full of them at home. Still most of the time when you open that drawer and look through your needles you just can’t seem to find the right one. That’s when a knitter thinks about going for a quick trip to Walmart or Michaels but then you know the saying: Buy cheap, buy twice… I think having a good set of great knitting needles handy is the right way to go if you are a serious knitter.
I have quite a bunch of needles and honestly there are some bad ones among them too. You might have experienced the same thing: Some needles keep on “surviving” as you use them over and over again while others break on the first project. So what should you look for when buying knitting needles that fit YOUR personality and knitting style? Here are a few tips based on my experience:
Some knitters prefer wooden needles over metal needles because of the feel or if they suffer from arthritis. First of all: whatever you prefer you should go for it. Wooden needles should be made from hard wood or bamboo so that they won’t split or wear off fast, especially on the tips. Metal needles are OK, but make sure they’re made of stainless steel or nickel-plated. Forget the old ones from aluminum, they will corrode sooner or later.
Straight or circular
Using straight or circular needles is another decision you have to make. I’ve always preferred circular needles, because I strongly dislike long needles – my neck would start to get stiff and the ends of the needles would always fight the armrests in my chair or even my neighbors when sitting on an airplane. As you surely know, round needles are handy for knitting in the round but there is more: Knitting back and forth on a circular needle always gives me the pleasure to know that I’m doing it right.
Circular needles with a wiry lace between the actual knitting parts (making up the size) can give you a severe headache throughout your project. Using the wrong needles you’ll never get rid of the spirals the needle will make. The knitting process will become tedious. My recommendation is to always watch for a soft lace, you will spend more money, but it will be worth it and it will guarantee joyful knitting. Another point is the connection between the needles and the lace. It needs to be very smooth and strong. I recently had to repair one with scotch tape to finish my project. You can also buy a set of interchangeable circular knitting needles. They will work fine if the quality is good.
Long or Short
Making a decision about the length of your circular needle is easy. When you knit a scarf the long way you don’t need a very long needle. Think about the yarn – you can push the stitches together. A third of your actual project width will give you the right length. Here’s another tip I find particularly useful: Sometimes I just use two needles from a set of double pointed needles to knit a scarf. They’re just fine in length. I put a larger bead or a cork on one end to keep the stitches from falling off the needles.
So that was my little knitting needle class # 101. What are your favorite needles? Do you know any other tips and tricks related to knitting needles? Let me know in the comments-section!
And as always,