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My Favorite Knitting Needles

Updated on June 24, 2015

Plastic Needles

Use the Right Tool for Each Knitting Project

Using the right needles for a project can mean the difference between hours of relaxation and hours of aggravation. Over several decades of knitting, I have learned which needles work best with different types of yarn and different types of projects. I have also found some needles more comfortable than others for extended knitting sessions, especially as the hands get a bit stiff with age or cold.

Allow me to make suggestions in three categories: straight needles, double-pointed needles, and circular needles. Use these suggestions as a starting point in your quest to find your own favorites.

All photographs in this hub are my own.

Wooden Needles

Alice Cullen Scarf on wooden needle
Alice Cullen Scarf on wooden needle

Favorite Straight Knitting Needles

Basic Tools of the Trade

Needles for sweaters: Inox needles are strong and coated with Teflon for the fastest knitting imaginable. Stitches glide effortlessly along the needle as you knit row after row. The perfect points are great for getting into stitches to execute twists and cables, too.

Needles for travel: Children's plastic needles from Lion Brand are short enough that you can keep them in a purse. These are perfect for a cotton dishcloth to be knit on the train or in the doctor's office. The plastic points won't poke a hole in your purse or tote bag. You might even be allowed to take them on an airplane, but check with your airline beforehand.

Needles for beginners: For a student's first knitting lessons, I recommend wooden straight needles in one of the larger sizes, e.g. U.S. 10 or 11. Large needles make big, easy-to-see stitches and wood is less slippery than aluminum or teflon. While this slows down an experienced knitter, it helps the beginner by making it less likely stitches will accidentally slide off the needle.

Best Learn-to-Knit Book for All Ages - Indispensable Resource for Knitting Teachers

Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of all Ages
Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of all Ages

I use this to teach anybody to knit, old or young. It's just that good! Clear photographs and illustrations make knitting crystal clear. Great projects include spiral ribbed socks, beanbags, hats, scarves, and a sweater. It teaches the continental method of knitting.

 

Best Double-Pointed Needles

Seamless Knitting in the Round

Double-pointed needles come in sets of 4 or 5 needles. I definitely prefer sets of 5 so I can arrange my stitches in a square on 4 needles and knit with the 5th. Th triangular arrangement necessary with a set of 4 is fine, but I don't like my stitches crowded on the needles.

Budget sock needles: Susan Bates makes a sock needle set that is very affordable and practical--4 sets of 5 needles in sizes 000 through 1 (U.S. sizing.) I do all my fingering-weight socks with these needles.

Better sock needles: For knitting with sport weight or worsted yarn I like Swallow needles, made of casein. Casein is a plastic made from milk protein. These needles are strong, yet flexible enough to be comfortable to the hands. Many knitters with arthritis prefer these needles.

Knitting in Art

A Knitting Madonna
A Knitting Madonna

Favorite Circular Needles

Addi Turbos Win!

The Madonna in the picture above did not have circular needles. She would have needed double-pointed needles long enough to hold all the stitches in the seamless garment she is knitting. Knitters today can still use long double-points, but most opt for the convenience of circular needles.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons: Detail from Visit of the Angel, from the right wing of the Buxtehude Altar, 1400-1410)

Addi turbos are my absolute favorite circular needles. The joins between the needles and and cables are so smooth they don't even register as I knit around and around for hours. The points and the slick finish enable me to work at "warp speed" even with textured yarns. I own the lace turbos and use them for lace and for knitting two socks at a time.

I've used plastic, aluminum, and bamboo circulars in all price ranges. Addi turbos out-perform them all.

Links About Knitting

Expand your knitting universe by checking out these helpful websites and articles for knitters.

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    • kimberlyschimmel profile image
      Author

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      @julieannbrady: Yes, they should be passed down! I treasure the knitting pattern books from my husband's grandmother--she made so many afghans and now I have the patterns for all of them in case they need repairs or I want to make more of them for other relatives.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 4 years ago

      Oh my, now you made me wonder if my one sister still has grandma's knitting and crocheting needles. I think they should be passed down in the family.

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image
      Author

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      @catbehaviors: I got some Clover double points on sale a while back and haven't yet needed to use that particular size. Maybe I'll like them, too. If so I will certainly update my list!

    • catbehaviors profile image

      catbehaviors 4 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading about your favorite needles! I like the Addi turbos as well, however I use Clover Takumi double points. Hopefully I'll remember to knit in public on the 8th!