Different types of Knitting Needles
There are many different types of knitting needles. Which ones are better to use depends on personal preference.
I will try to explain the differences and uses.
Knitting needles come in different shapes and sizes: Straight, Circular, Double-points, or Flex.
Knitting needles are made of different materials: metal, wood and bamboo, or plastic.
Straight needles are the most commonly used for knitting flat items.
They are handy and the most available type of needle. However, they cannot be used for circular items or large projects.
When working with straight needles, the weight of your knitting will be on your arm causing fatigue and strain.
In addition, they cannot be used for large items such as afghans and large shawls.
Circular needles are used for knitting in round and can be used for knitting back and forth.
They come in different lengths to accommodate small and large projects.
When you work with circular needles, the weight of your knitting will be on your lap that helps
to ease the pain of having the projectís weight on your arm.
Double-pointed needles are used for knitting in round.
They come in packages of 4 or 5 and different lengths for knitting different size items.
Some people do not like to work with double-points as they might lose stitches from the other end of needle.
These days with the use of techniques such as magic loop and knitting with two circular needles,
they can work their way around using double-points.
Flex needles are a cross between straight needles and circulars.
They look like short straight needles with a flexible cable and can accommodate larger projects than straight needles.
When you begin working on your new project, choose a needle that is suitable for your yarn and your method of knitting.
Do you like your stitches to slip off your needles or you like your needles to be sticky?
Do you like metal needles or you prefer the warmth of wood?
Metal needles are usually heavy unless they are made of aluminum.
It is hard for novice knitters to use them as the stitches slip off.
On the other hand, experienced knitters who knit fast enjoy using them.
The down side of using metal needles is that they are cold to the touch and noisy.
Wood and bamboo needles are warm to the touch and are quiet.
These needles are easier for the novice knitter to use, as stitches do not slip off the needles.
The other advantage of using wood needles is that they are easier on the hands if you have arthritis
or carpal-tunnel syndrome.
Plastic needles are noisier and colder than wood needles yet quieter than metal.
They are flexible and maybe better for people with arthritis. However, they may break easily.
Another issue to consider is the needles' tips.
Some needles have sharp points which are good for working on lace projects and cables.
In addition, tight knitters find it easier to work with sharper tips.
Blunt needles are better for working with novelty yarns and yarns that split.
I hope this article helps you to find the correct needle for your situation.
I will write about crochet hooks next month, and also will have tips for cleaning your hooks and needles.
Nazanin S. Fard
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