Deciding Which Knitting Needles Are Right For Your Project

Deciding Which Knitting Needles Are Right For Your Project

Some people who have never tried knitting themselves are quite surprised when they find out that there’s more than one type of knitting needles available to them. Most movies and television shows show characters using straight needles and nothing else, so when they actually decide to try out knitting for themselves they’re taken aback by the variety of knitting needles that are actually available. 

Deciding Which Knitting Needles Are Right For Your Project

Since different needles can be used for different projects and can have a profound impact on how the end product ends up, we’ve decided that it might be helpful to people if we took the time to talk about the different types of needles available. That way, all knitters can know some of the tools that are available to them, regardless of whether they’re first-time knitters or experienced pros. 

When it comes to knitting needles, there are five different types of needles available. There are straight needles, double-pointed needles, circular needles, interchangeable needles, and cable knitting needles. Let’s take a closer look at each one and see what they bring to the proverbial sewing circle. 

Straight Needles

Straight knitting needles are the ones that everyone thinks about when they picture knitting. These are the needles that have a knob at one end and a point at the other end. These needles are generally the best needles for beginners to use because they have a straightforward design and are easier for most people to manipulate. 

Straight needles are made from a variety of different materials from steel to wood, and they can be found in sizes from 7-inches all the way up to 14-inches. These needles are the best for smaller projects that are worked flat, so they’re good for scarves, afghan square, or other materials that are worked on flat or in pieces. 

Double-Pointed Needles

Double-pointed needles are great for small works knitted in the round. This includes projects such as small socks or tubular projects such as hats. These needles are good for knitting sweater sleeves and gloves as well. They are generally 6-8 inches long, but there are a few that fall on either side of this measurement range. 

Circular Needles

Another type of needle to think about are circular knitting needles. These are designed for completing large in round knitting projects. They are anywhere from 16 to 48-inches long and they have a long cord that separates any two of them. Unlike interchangeable needles, however, most circular needles’ cords can’t be swapped out. Most circular needles are made of the same materials as other types of needles, and the cord between the pieces is generally made either from coated steel or from nylon. 

Interchangeable Needles

Interchangeable knitting needles are very similar to circular needles. They allow the knitter to use them in much the same way as they would circular needles but also gives them a little bit more flexibility. They have a firm tip and a cord that’s flexible and can be replaced if necessary. Different types of interchangeable needles use different mechanisms to connect the cord to the needles, so the knitter should pay close attention to them before they purchase a set. 

Cable Needles

When people see cable knitting needles for the first time, they’re often confused by them. They have an odd shape and a look that is quite different from other types of knitting needles. They’re also shorter than other types of needles. The purpose of their design isn’t to confound new knitters, however. It’s designed to hold a small number of stitches for a short period of time. 

They’re also designed to help the knitter add twists to their patterns by adding groups of stitches over one another. It’s best when buying cable needles to choose one that’s close to the size of the needle that you’re using in order to achieve the best results possible. 

Other Knitting Needle Considerations

Before we conclude our article on knitting needles, we want to take a few moments to talk about some of the other things that consumers should consider when they’re purchasing new knitting needles. Although we covered the basic types of knitting needles available, the following are also important things to keep in mind. Of course, what you need out of your knitting needles will not only be informed by your knitting style but also the projects that you work on. 

  • Use sharp lace tips for lace knitting.
  • Softer cables work better for the Magic Loop technique.
  • Look for needles with smooth joins for better results.



* This post contains sponsored content.

About The Author


Danielle Holke is a long-time knitter, first taught by her beloved grandmother as a young girl growing up in Canada. In 2008 she launched KnitHacker, a lively blog and knitting community which has since grown to be a popular presence in contemporary knitting culture, reaching more than a million readers each year. As a marketing professional, Danielle advises and works with a motley squad of artists, yarn bombers, film makers, pattern designers, yarn companies and more. Learn more about her latest book, Knits & Pieces: A Knitting Miscellany.

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