In a previous article, I covered some of the differences between knitting and crocheting, but now I thought I’d focus in more detail on a specific one, so over my next few articles I am going to be covering the basics of knitting. In this particular article, we are going to be looking at the needles used for this craft and where you can find them as well as specific things to think about when choosing them.
For the purposes of this article I will mostly be discussing things of relevance to hand knitting, as opposed to machine knitting, since for this you should refer to the instructions of your machine, in order to get specific guidance.
Choosing your needles is a particularly important stage, since your needles are pretty much your only piece of equipment in making knitted products. There are many different sizes of needle, which correspond to how tightly woven you want your knit to be, and what sort of wool you are using. When you buy wool, the label will often suggest what size needles to use with it. As a beginner knitter, you can work out what you want to make first and choose wool, and then just get the needles required for this project, rather than investing in a set of various sized needles prematurely. When starting a new craft, I know from experience that there is a certain temptation to go out and buy every piece of equipment that you could possibly need for that craft straight away. After all, it is this excitement and drive that is leading you to take up the hobby in the first place, but sometimes it is best to hold back from buying too much stuff until you’ve given it a go, since this way, if you change your mind you won’t have wasted all of your savings. Knitting also tends to work on a buy what you need basis, since it is impossible to own every wool colour and type, so you must wait until you have a design before you go out and buy.
There are several types of needle as well as sizes. These are each better for different things. Bamboo needles are perhaps the most professional, but metal or plastic varieties will be entirely suitable for the amateur and may be a good sort to begin with. Plastic are also probably the choice best suited for children’s use. There are circular needles, which are connected by a cable, to make an incomplete circle, and these are good specifically for knitting circular objects without leaving a seam, but can also be used for knitting any other objects as well. Perhaps the best kind of circular needles, are ones with replaceable wires, allowing you to change the wire length for making bigger or smaller circular knits. The double pointed needle is required when the circle you want to knit is too small to for using a circular needle, for example on objects like gloves or at the top of a hat. These are not something that you’ll probably need as a beginner knitter, but learning to use them will be an important step later in your journey to knitting fame, since to make more complex objects and items of clothing they are an essential. The cable needle is also an option for the more advanced knitter and these are used for making certain designs and patterns in knitted objects, such as those found in cable knit jumpers. However, many of these designs can also be done with a normal double pointed needle, and the needles are more of a preference than a required item.
Now that you have your shiny new needles, you will probably be looking to start buying the wool for your first projects, so in my next article I’ll be looking at choosing wool to use in your first knitted item.
Image from: http://www.bamboo-knitting-centre.com/ekmps/shops/yngvarion/images/15-sets-circular-bamboo-knitting-needles-sizes-2-10mm-us-0-15-181-p.jpg