The art of knitting has been in existence for centuries now, and despite the commercialization of the textile industry over the past couple of decades, the art is yet to lose its momentum. In fact, if one might broadly say, the art of knitting has seen a subtle yet gradual transition towards the younger generations as of late.
Knitting is a binding force that keeps the community, and family, connected under one art form. In fact, in some rural households even today, grandmothers, mothers and their daughters spending quality time together knitting.
For newbies venturing into this artform, knitting can be a daunting task. Especially if one is not aware of the basics such as the different types of knitting needles and needle sizes.
So, here’s where Muezart steps in.
Types Knitting Needles
If you’re new to knitting, you’re probably familiar with knitting needles. But did you know that there are more than one type of needles?
Each knitting needle has its benefits and features and knowing the difference and usages amongst the needles is really helpful.
Fortunately for you, Muezart has a team member who is absolutely skilled in this fine art. She fell in love with this art when she was just 7 years old and has been perfecting the craft ever since.
With years’ worth of experience in knitting, Ioanizza or Sasa as everyone lovingly calls her, was more than happy to share her insights on the different types of knitting needles, when and how to use the right one with the right yarn.
Sasa mentions that there are 3 basic knitting needles that you definitely need to know about, especially if you’re new to knitting.
Straight Knitting Needles
Straight needles (also known as single ended needles) are the most popular of the lot and they are one of the easiest ones to use. Just as the name suggests, straight needles have a straight shaft with one pointed end and a knob at the end which makes sure the yarn doesn’t fall off while you’re knitting.
Straight needles are used to make smaller projects and are usually flat pieces such as mufflers and scarves. Sasa also mentioned that you can even knit a sweater in pieces, but you have to sew the open ends after knitting each piece.
Depending on the size of the needle and the yarn, the number of stitches also vary. For example, a straight knitting needle measuring 9.5 inches long or more, the maximum number of stitches that the needle can hold is 200.
Circular Knitting Needles
Prior to joining Muezart, Sasa never knew circular knitting needles existed. Now, they’re one of her favourite needles to use when knitting.
Alternatively, circular knitting needles are one of the most popular types of knitting needles as they are not only efficient for working in rows but for rounds as well. Circular knitting needles have cables attached to the ends of each individual needle thus forming one large needle from end to end.
Sasa noted that for projects that require you to work in the round, circular knitting needles work perfectly for projects such as sweaters, beanies, socks, and caps.
Sasa also mentioned that when it comes to circular knitting needles, the number of stitches can go over 200 which also makes it quite efficient in making large projects such as blankets and shawls.
Double Pointed Knitting Needles
DPNs as they are popularly known, double pointed knitting needles are shorter and are pointed on both ends.
Double pointed knitting needles are usually used to make small projects such as beanies, socks, and baby apparels such as baby sweaters.
Sasa also highlighted that prior to the introduction of circular needles, she would make a blanket out of double pointed needles, but the process was not easy.
What are Knitting Needles made of?
For an old school knitter like Sasa, bamboo or plastic knitting needles were not popular. In fact, when one thinks about grandma’s old knitting needles, the image that usually pops into one’s mind are weighted metal needles made of silver, aluminum, or brass.
Today, apart from the old school knitting needles, bamboo, wood, and plastic needles can also be found.
All of them have their pros and cons, with the texture playing an important part in the knitting process. Too smooth of a surface and the yarns might fall off while knitting.
Knitting Needle Sizes (with size guide infographic)
The size of a knitting needle is characterized by two important factors— the length and width of the needle.
It is important to know the needle size so as to determine the type of yarn to be used.
To help you better understand which knitting needle to use for the different yarn sizes, Sasa has generously listed a few examples knitting needle sizes below:
This needle size range works best with a 15/3 fingering yarn.
This needle size range works best with 3/3 worsted yarn.
This needle size range works best with a 2 ply worsted handspun yarn.
An important point to note is that you can use a particular needle size on any yarn size, depending on the kind of stitch that you want.
For instance, you can use the 15/3 yarn on a 6-10mm needle size range if you’re looking for a more lacey pattern with wider gaps or holes.
To give a better understanding of the other knitting needle sizes, Sheep&Stitch’s size guide can help do the trick.
Which knitting needle is the best to start with?
All three needles have their own pros and cons, and for an experienced knitter like Sasa, choosing just one favourite is not recommended.
It all comes down to the design or pattern, when choosing the right needle to use. If one could say, one needle supplements the other in terms of characteristics.
For instance, though one can knit a sweater using straight needles, the advent of circular needles does make the job easier for a knitter.
Now that you’re all caught up with the basics of knitting needles and how to use them, its time for you to start your first project. The first step is deciding which project you want to make. It could be muffler, scarf, or beanie and so on.
Next comes the pattern, which is the design or look that you want to go for.
Finally, choosing the right needle that compliments the pattern you have chosen.
And now you’re all set. Get started with your project and don’t forget to tag us using our socials as well.