Knitting Needle Buying Guide
RECOMMENDED NEEDLE SIZES FOR EACH YARN WEIGHT
Lace — US 000–1, 1.5–2.25mm (8+ sts per inch)
Fingering/Sock — US 1–3, 2.25–3.25mm (7–8 sts per inch)
Sport — US 3–5, 3.25–3.75mm (6–6.75 sts per inch)
DK — US 5–7, 3.75–4.5mm (5.25–6 sts per inch)
Worsted/Heavy Worsted — US 7–9, 4.5–5.5mm (4–5 sts per inch)
Bulky — US 9–11, 5.5–8mm (3–3.75 sts per inch)
Super Bulky — US 11–17, 8–12mm (<2.75 sts per inch)
Novelty — recommended needle and gauge vary
Of course, you'll need to knit a gauge swatch before starting your project to be sure your needle and yarn combination give you the correct gauge for your pattern!
KNITTING NEEDLE MATERIAL
Wood or bamboo knitting needles are warm in the hand. Needles made from wood or bamboo maintain a grip on the yarn, perfect for giving new knitters control over their yarn or for using with slippery fibers, such as silk, bamboo, or rayon.
Plastic or acrylic needles are sturdy, smooth, and cost-effective. Plastic knitting needles are frequently available in fun, bright colors for children learning to knit.
Metal needles are strong, lightweight and made of either aluminum or brass plated with chrome or nickel. Smooth metal needles slide easily across yarn fibers that stick to themselves, such as wool, mohair, alpaca, and cotton.
Carbon fiber knitting needles are made of the same material used in aerospace engineering. These needles combine the best properties of wood and metal needles—they feel warm in the hand and give control over the yarn while their high tensile strength makes them durable and lightweight.
TYPES OF KNITTING NEEDLES
The traditional knitting needle, single pointed needles have a point on one end and a cap on the other to keep stitches from falling off. These needles are sold in pairs and usually come in 10" and 14" lengths. They are used for knitting flat pieces of fabric.
TIPS FOR SELECTING NEEDLES
Knitting needles are all about personal preference. Some knitters can't stand wooden needles and others find metal too slippery. If you're just starting out, try out needles made of different materials to get a feel for what you prefer. Just because your friend likes a particular type of needle doesn't mean you will as well.
Find straight needles a little cumbersome? That's okay! You can knit flat on circular needles; just turn your work at the end of the row and remember not to join.
Have trouble wrangling DPNs? Try knitting on two circular needles or the magic loop method with one long circular needle.
Knitting Needle Sets and Interchangeable Circular Needle Sets are a great buy once you find a needle you tend to favor. Needle sets include several sizes, so you don't need to purchase them à la carte. They usually come in a storage case to keep all the needles together, and some sets even include other accessories. Although they can be expensive, interchangeable circular needle sets are also economical—it's much less expensive to buy one needle set with 10 pairs of tips and the cords to make three lengths of circular needles than to buy 10 sets of circular needles each in 24", 32", and 40" lengths!