Choosing the perfect knitting needles can be a bit of a struggle if you’re new to knitting. What was supposed to be a nice time can quickly turn into utter frustration in the attempt to find the right knitting needles for your current project, because they come in so many different sizes and shapes. There are circular needles, interchangeable needles, jumper needles (also called single-pointed needles), double-pointed needles and cable needles.

Despite all this, I will try to guide you through the jungle in the hopes that you’ll have an easier time choosing the perfect needles for your projects in the future. 

What type of project are you starting?

First things first, you need to consider what type of project you want to start. It may be that all knitting needles do the same job, but there are obviously many different ways to get that job done. Some knitting needles are best suited for one particular form of knitting, while others can do several different kinds. Below, you will get a quick overview of what attributes the different knitting needles have: 

  • Jumper needles: The needle most people are probably familiar with is the jumper needle. Here, one end serves the purpose of adding new stitches onto the needle, whereas the other end, which often has a knob at the end, makes sure the stitches don’t fall off the needle. These knitting needles are always used in pairs and can only be used to knit flat.

  • Circular needles: Circular needles are made with two, straight knitting needles that have been linked by a flexible nylon cable, which come in different lengths. This type of needle is meant for knitting in the round, but can also be used to knit flat and, therefore, some people prefer to knit with this type of needle, since it can be used to knit several different types of projects like hats, neckbands, body or shawls. 

  • Double-pointed needles: Double-pointed needles are the well-known knitting needles where both ends are pointed. They’re often used in sets of 4 or 5 and are very well suited for knitting socks as well as sleeces or hats. 

  • Cable needles: Cable needles are used to add crossed stitches into your pattern. Cable needles are useful, because they can hold the stitches that need to be crossed behind or in front of the piece while the crossed section is knit. If the stitches are held in front of the piece, they will cross/twist left, if they are held behind the piece, they will cross/twist right. 

  • Interchangeable needles: The interchangeable needles are actually very cool. With these, you can, as the name indicates, change out the tips of the knitting needles as well as the cable, so as to let you knit different lengths. If you plan on continuing to knit for a long time, there’s no doubt that these are a great investment. 

What size should the knitting needle be?

When you’re trying to decide what size knitting needle you should use, it all depends on your current project. Below, I’ll talk you through the different factors that influence what size to pick. 

  • Diameter: The thickness of your knitting needle affects both the size and the look of your finished piece. The thicker the knitting needle, the bigger the stitches, adding more elasticity and making the finished piece looser. Whereas, if you use a thinner knitting needle, the stitches are narrower, and your finished piece will seem tighter and closer-knit.

  • Length: Even though stitches can be squashed together on most sizes of knitting needles, it’s definitely ideal to find the perfect length to match the length of your project. A larger knitting project usually demands a longer needle or cable. A small, flat project can be made on most lengths. But be aware that a small, round project needs a small circular needle, a double-pointed needle, or a technique that can be used to circumvent the extra lengths of cable on a long circular needle. Another factor to consider, is the yarn you’ve chosen to work with. If you, for instance, have chosen to work with a thicker yarn, it’s only natural that the needle can’t hold as many stitches, compared to using a thinner yarn. 

What type of material should your knitting needle be? 

Knitting needles aren’t just two sticks made of wood - no, they’re so much more. Knitting needles come in many different types of materials, and it can be hard to know, which material to choose and what type of material is best suited for the project you’re starting. 

The most popular materials are bamboo, plastic or aluminum. But your skill-level and what type of yarn you use also matter, when it comes to choosing the optimal knitting needle material for you. If you’re a novice, I would suggest you choose a material that isn’t too smooth because it will prevent the stitches from sliding off too easily. If you’re more of an experienced knitter, however, you can take advantage of a needle made from smooth materials that will help the stitches move more easily. 

  • Bamboo: Bamboo is an extremely strong material which is actually lighter than aluminum. With bamboo knitting needles, you can be sure that your stitches won’t fall off, making them a great choice for novices. Bamboo is well suited for most yarn types, but light and airy yarn types especially suit this type of knitting needle. In addition, bamboo needles are more flexible than metal ones, but less flexible than plastic. 

  • Metal: Metal needles are comparatively heavy, but are also the strongest and, therefore, don’t bend as easily. Most experienced knitters prefer metal needles since the stitches slide easily on the smooth surface. In addition, this type of needle is great for all types of yarn, but wool, wool mixes and acrylics are essential. 

  • Plastic: Plastic knitting needles have the same effect as metal needles, since they also have a completely smooth surface, which makes it easy for the stitches to slide on the needle. This type of knitting needle is great for all types of yarn. 

  • Wood: Wooden knitting needles have a smooth surface, but not in the same way as metal or plastic since the stitches cannot slide as easily on the surface. This fact makes them ideal for novices.

Get the right measurements

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you measure what you’re knitting. If you, for instance, need to knit a sweater or a skirt, it’s extremely important that the measurements fit you or the person you’re knitting for exactly, and it doesn’t end up being too small or too big. If you, on the other hand, need to knit a scarf or a blanket, it might not be as important whether the measurements are precise since the size might not really matter. 

To avoid mistakes in regard to knitting tension, it’s always a good idea to knit a sample. You could actually make this sample larger than the example given in the pattern, since you, in this way, will find out how many stitches you knit in a given measurement. 

I hope you’ve become wiser as to what type of knitting needle will be ideal for your project, and that you’ve been inspired to get started right away. You can actually find many different knitting needle sets from Knitpro at our web shop. We have something that suits everyone.


Karoline, Hobbii