If it is your first time to pick up knitting and really decide to start a project, choosing the best knitting needles and yarn can be the biggest concern for you. This is because a good start will give you a lot of confidence to move on. However, don’t expect too much of your first works and, after all, the complicated, fine works require a high level of knitting skills. So, don’t easily give up, or your project will always remain semi-finished.
As for choosing the best knitting needles for beginners, this is a fact that different users come up with different views. So, I’m not going to give a direct recommendation but simply share you with my own knitting experience here. And hopefully you will do your homework and get the most comfortable tools.
Commonly used knitting needles
Bamboo needles are commonly used, thanks to its warm, comfortable hand feel, good toughness and flexibility, and lighter weight. It can be apply to almost all yarns, in particular lighter and smoother ones. For that reason, this is one of frequent choices for the newbies. However, the bamboo ones are not smooth enough, which make the yarn easier get caught. In addition, the uneven thickness and easy-bending quality can sometimes create unnecessary trouble to you.
Solid stainless-steel needles are the latest alternative to the aluminum needles, which had been popular but now are phased out because it is easy to fade. I ever tried it once but soon gave up because I am simply not comfortable with them. Maybe it’s because I have used the hollow ones for too long periods of time.
Hollow stainless-steel needles are now more common on the market. Currently there are a lot of brands out there. Since many sizes are available, you’d better not mix them up when picking. And it is common sense that the bigger number it has the bigger its size is. For example, what benefits a beginner are the medium size needles, such as U.S size 8, 9 or 10. If converted them to the metric equivalence, they are 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 mm; if converted them to the UK/CANADIAN standard, they would be 6, 5, or 4. As you can see now, they are quite different.
The question of how to choose the correct size of knitting needles is often asked. Besides of the thread or yarn with special requirements, the rule of thumb is to buy a needle that is up a size than the yarn chosen. But a size smaller one makes sense to knit hem, collar, and cuffs. And doing so can make your project look better. In view of the beginners tend to get the closer stitches, it is suggested to buy a little thicker needle. Otherwise, the finished product will be tighter than you expect it to be.
Besides of diameters, knitting needles can be available in different lengths too. The shorter ones are usually used for knitting the sleeves, socks, and other small projects. But personally I seldom choose it simply out of habit.
You can also consider buying a full set of needles, whose price is inexpensive. More importantly, you don’t have to change them for many years to come.
Circular needles are composed of 2 straight needles and a connecting plastic cord in between. If you’ve ever involved in a bigger project, you will find that a little carelessness could make the needle slip from the project you are working on. This could be a big mistake. And this is where a circular needle comes in.
And for a beginner, you are very likely to leave a seam when you use 3 needles for flat stitches. This seam is ugly but a circular needle can save you a lot of trouble if you choose it. If you are going to knit a coat, a circular needle is preferable since it is good at knitting the entire piece. In addition, since its easy portability can make you resume your project, anytime and anywhere.
How to hold the needles in knitting?
It is a good habit to hold a needle properly. But there is no such a thing as right holding hand in knitting. You have to adjust according to your habits and find out which way is most comfortable for you.
Knitting is a really tiring job, which may cause stained wrist, arm numbness, stiff neck, sore shoulder, lower back pain, and the like. So, a good posture, regular breaks, and proper hand and wrist exercises do matter to your health. By the way, knitting is not a good idea if you are pregnant.