In knitting, choosing the right needles is crucial for a comfortable experience. Knitting needles are made of various materials, each offering unique advantages. But, with all the options, how do you know which knitting needle to choose? That’s exactly what I’m going to help you figure out!
Let’s review the types of knitting needles and their pros and cons.
Metal knitting needles are popular for their durability and smoothness. You’ll find them in aluminum, brass, and stainless steel. Metal needles glide easily, perfect for speed knitting or for more intricate patterns. Their light weight adds to the appeal, reducing hand fatigue during long knitting sessions. However, some knitters find metal needles can be too slippery for certain yarns, causing stitches to slide off inadvertently. Metal needles also transmit cold or heat, which can be uncomfortable in extreme weather.
Choose metal needles when:
- You’re working with more complex stitches, such as twisted stitches or increases/decreases using a lot of stitches
- You have a need for speed
- The yarn you’re using is grabby or textured
- ChiaoGoo / RED Lace SS: nice sharp tips and smooth surface
- Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina: a rounder tip, but smooth and durable
- Signature Needle Arts: stiletto is queen
Wood and Bamboo Needles
Wooden and bamboo knitting needles are popular among knitters seeking a warmer, more natural feel. These materials offer excellent grip and control, ensuring stitches stay in place without sliding off. That’s also a bonus for beginning knitters. Over time, though, the surface can get rough and snag your yarn. They also are prone to breaking and for some reason, cats like to chew on them (ask me how I know).
Choose wood or bamboo needles when:
- You’re working with a slick yarn like silk, sea cell, or bamboo
- Your pattern is complex, and you need a little extra security
- You’re a beginning knitter
- Knit Picks Rainbow Wood: smooth, sharp tip and holds up well over time
- Chiaogoo / Spin Bamboo: not overly grabby with a great tapered tip
Plastic knitting needles, made from various polymers, are an affordable and lightweight option. They come in various vibrant colours, making them appealing to crafters who enjoy personalization. Plastic needles have a good grip, preventing stitches from slipping, so they are perfect for the beginning knitter. However, they are not as durable as their metal or wooden counterparts and can become bent or warped with excessive use or pressure. And, if you have sweaty palms, it’ll make the yarn more sticky.
Choose plastic needles when:
- You’re a beginner knitter
- The yarn you’re knitting with is slippery
- You need a lot of grip and tension for a complex pattern
- You’re making a bulky project and need big needles
Carbon Fibre Needles
Carbon fibre knitting needles are still relatively new, and I’ve really only found one brand that makes them: Knitter’s Pride Karbonz. They offer a unique balance of strength, lightness, and flexibility. Carbon fibre needles are a worthwhile investment for knitters looking for durability and a smooth experience. However, the higher price point can be a deterrent for some crafters.
Choose carbon fibre needles when:
- You’re an intermediate knitter
- You need a smooth glide that isn’t as slick as metal
- The idea of unusual materials appeals to you
It’s hard to know which knitting needle to choose, but hopefully I’ve helped simplify the decision-making process for you. Over time, you’ll gather an array of needles that will suit any project or need. Hop on over to the Community Forums and let us know what your favourite knitting needle is!