We are so lucky to have many wonderful knitting needles. Not only are today’s knitting needles excellently crafted but many of them are beautiful and some just plain cute. It can be hard to choose.
Double Point Needles were most likely the earliest type of knitting needle. These were used (and still are) for knitting socks, hats and sweaters in the round.
· Perfect for knitting in the round. Especially good when there are only a few stitches such as decreasing a hat when there may be only two stitches on each needle.
· Two double point needles are nice for knitting an edging back and forth onto a lace scarf or shawl.
· They are generally inexpensive.
· The needles disappear one by one. (Let me know if you know how this happens.)
· They fall out of the knitting especially the metal ones. Point protectors help.
· Changes between needles cause loose stitches or gaps. To avoid these “ladders” pull the yarn tight when you work the second stitch at the beginning of each needle. Using a set of five needles helps. The knitting is on four and the fifth as the working needle.
Single point needles are used for knitting flat – that is back and forth. It is the knobs that are so appealing – cute little critters, simple but lovely woods and even jewels.
· Easy to make and use especially for a beginner.
· Relatively inexpensive.
· Can cause physical problems such as tension in the shoulders, elbows and wrists.
· Can also be annoying to someone sitting next to you.
· Dropped stitches when the knob catches
Circular Needles. are for knitting in the round. Before circulars, traditional knitters used very long double point needles to knit those incredible Fair Isle and Gansey sweaters. Circular needles are definitely a step up in technology for knitting needles.
· Faster and more even knitting when knitting in the round
· Can also be used for knitting flat, i.e. back and forth.
· Ergonomic: Weight is distributed around the cable - less strain on the knitter.
· Two socks at a time with 2 circular needles. No Second Sock Syndrome.
· Stitches stored on the cable. Point protectors not necessary.
· Cable join can catch stitches especially with fine yarns – improved now on some brands.
· Kinky cables twist making it difficult to move knitting along – also improved now.
· Multiple lengths of the same needle size needed – a 16 inch for a hat, a 24 or 36 inch for a sweater, a 60 inch for a shawl – all in size 6.
· Keeping track: Circular needles are not always labeled – keep a needle gauge handy.
This is a bigger topic than I thought. Next blog will be more about needles and choosing the right needle for the yarn and project.