5 Types of Knitting Needles You Should Know If You Love Knitting

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A wooden circular knitting needles next to a small ball of gray chunky yarn with a text overlay which says "learnknittingonline.com, Knitting Guide: 95 Types of Knitting Needles You Should Know If You Love Knitting, Learn which type of knitting needles are best suited for each kind of knitting project." followed by the LKO lettermarkThe first thing you need to know when you are trying a new hobby is what tools you need. In this case, that means knowing about all the knitting needles out there. If you do a quick Google search, then you may get a little freaked out with all the different types of knitting needles.

Don’t worry, though, here you will find a detailed guide to help you pick the right one. Sooner rather than later, you’ll be giving people advice on what knitting needles to pick. Remember, it takes practice, so don’t hesitate to try everything out first, before you decide.

Here Are The 5 Types of Knitting Needles That You Need to Know

Needle #1: Metal Knitting Needle

While many people think that knitting needles are all aluminum, some come in metal and fine steel. However, these days, aluminum is the most common material used. You may also see some steel, nickel, brass, and copper, which make knitting needles strong.

A pair of straight metal knitting needles
Check out Nova Platina from Knitters Pride

These types of needles are very smooth, so they allow you to knit faster. Still, this may be a disadvantage if you are just a beginner, as this needle can slip easily. Another point to consider, is that these needles tend to be pricier, but they do last much longer than other materials.

Needle #2: Bamboo Knitting Needle 

Recently, bamboo knitting needles have gained a ton of popularity because they are easy to work with. The grip is much stronger and allows the stitches to stay in place longer.

Clover brand circular bamboo knitting needles in its packaging
Check out these Bamboo Circular Knitting Needles from Clover

Bamboo is great for beginners, as it is durable, but not too slippery, and allows for the knitter to work at a slower pace. Another great advantage of bamboo is how environmentally friendly this material is. You can then feel better about purchasing these needles.

While bamboo needles may not last as long, they are relatively cheap and strong, so they are worth a look.

Needle #3: Wooden Knitting Needle 

These may be one of the oldest types of needle, so wooden knitting needles are worth taking a look at, if you like durable materials. Wooden needles are easy on the joints and hands for the most part, but the bigger sizes may be harder to handle.

A set of wooden circular interchangeable knitting needles in a black presentation box
Check out Knit Picks’ Cocobolo Options Interchangeable Circular Set

Wooden needles are solid all the way through, making them heavy, so this can mean slow knitting time. This is not good if you already suffer from joint pain, or want to improve your knitting time. If you don’t mind, though, these needles are reliable.

Consider that wooden needles are a bit more expensive too, especially if you pick one that contains an expensive and special type of timber. Some people like to collect these types of needles and go into great detail to find what wood to use.

Needle #4: Plastic Knitting Needle 

This may be the easiest type of needle out there, and it includes plastic and acrylic too. These two materials are very cheap and these needles are available everywhere. Plastic and acrylic are not slippery, but they are still smooth enough to allow you to glide yarn through without much trouble.

A pair of purple Lion Brand straight plastic knitting needles in its packaging.
Check out these Plastic Knitting Needles from Lion Brand

These types of needles are also very light, which is helpful when you need to use a large or jumbo size needle. Other materials don’t allow you to use jumbo yarn because they would be too heavy, but plastic and acrylic do thanks to their hollow interior.

Another great point to these needles is that they come in huge sizes, sometimes up to a size 50, which is 25mm. If you are a beginner or a pro, these plastic needles work equally well, and while they may not last as long, they are very cheap.

Needle #5: Carbon Fiber Knitting Needle 

This is one of the newest types of needles out there. Carbon fiber is less smooth than metal, but also smoother than bamboo, and it is extremely light, while lasting longer than other materials.

A black carbon fiber circular knitting needles
Check out this Karbonz Circular Needles from Knitters Pride

While you may still see these needles being sold for huge amounts of money, prices have dropped a bit lately to make them more competitive. Still, aside from fancy wooden needles, these are the most expensive on this list.

If you like durable and easy to use, then this is the needle for you. These also come in large sizes, so you can knit with jumbo yarn if you want.

Here are the 3 shapes of knitting needles you may find useful

Shape #1: Straight Knitting 

This is the most common type of knitting you need to know, which refers to straight and flat knitting. Some things you could knit with these needles include a scarf or a shawl. For this type of knitting, you need two straight knitting needles. Once you finish one row, you can turn the piece, and then repeat it over and over again.

A pair of straight bamboo knitting needles
Check out Clover’s Bamboo Knitting Needles 13 inch

These needles are the classic style, and they often come in sizes ranging from 9 to 15 inches.

Shape #2: Circular Knitting 

This type of knitting refers to circular rounds, which often results in a seamless tube. To go on with this type of knitting, you will need double-pointed needles (DPNs), fixed circular needles, or interchangeable circular knitting needles.

Double-pointed needles are those that have points on both ends, allowing the knitter to work in small tube rounds, like when making a sleeve, hat, or beanie. These needles often come in packs with varying lengths.

A set of colorful wooden interchangeable knitting needle with accessories
Check out Mosaic Options Interchangeable Circular Set Bulky Edition from Knit Picks

Fixed circular needles come with previously set sizes and cord lengths. These needles are good for those knitters that want consistency and need to avoid everything falling apart. Still, this same property can be constraining for some knitters that prefer more freedom of movement.

Finally, interchangeable circular knitting needles are just short single point needles, joined by a flexible cord. The needles can be about 4 inches long, and the cord can range from 8 inches to 40 inches. They are designed for circular knitting, but some people like to use them in flat knit as well. You can usually buy a single pair or a whole set, with various cords for all sorts of projects.

Shape #3: Cable Knitting 

Cable knitting is sort of a miscellaneous category because these needles are used to hold stitches when you are making cable patterns. You can find cable knitting needles in a hook, curve, or slash shape, all of which come in any of the materials we listed before.

A blue plastic cable knitting needle
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Why does this matter?

Picking the right types of knitting needles is essential for any good knitter. If you are just starting to knit, then it can make or break it for you. There are various options out there, some expensive and some cheap, but what matters is that you take the time to learn how to use each and what it can do for you.

You not only need good material, but you also need a specific shape and size. Not everyone has the dexterity and strength to handle some needles, while others see no difference. Take your time to learn about each type of needle, its length, shape, material, and weight.

Now, you have no excuse not to start knitting! Soon you’ll be an expert on what type of knitting needle to use and when to use it and could even give advice to other fellow beginners.

Enjoyed reading this article? Why not check out this article about the 9 things to know about knitting needle sizes?

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