How do you decide which needles are just right for your next project? Just as there is no one right way to knit or purl, there is not one best kind of knitting needles. If you're a new knitter, experiment. If you're an experienced knitter who has never used bamboo or birch needles, you may find their somewhat springy, warm feel appealing, and a welcome change from plastic or aluminum. Not too pointy, not too short. Not too long, not too slippery. We're looking for just right.
Sometimes I default to the set that I have in my collection,
sometimes I use whichever needles are handy, especially when it comes to unplanned
casting on. Over time, knitters do develop
preferences, but they can prove to be remarkably unstable. Not the
knitters, their preferences!
You may find that when you are learning a new technique, working with wooden or bamboo needles allows you some extra control, that the texture of the needles holds your work. We describe these needles as having some tooth, or a little bit of grip. This can really benefit a first time dpn sock knitter or ease the transition to working a complex fair isle pattern in the round, freeing your attention up to focus on the new technique.
Over time, this benefit can erode. As your technical expertise rises, you may be ready for faster needles, like a nice stainless steel set. Steel needles are often described as slippery, and if you are a fast knitter, this quality lets your work move!
We have a variety of needles in the shop, including Takumi Velvet Circular needles from Clover, gorgeous straight and double pointed birch needles in several lengths from Brittany, and circular and double pointed Nova Needles from Knitter's Pride.
I'm currently working on a pair of socks using four different yarns, two gauges and multiple stitch patterns. I've used Brittany US#2 birch dpns for the cuffs and a nice pointy set of US #1 Nova steel dpns for the Fair Isle section. Knowing which needles to use and using the right ones for your project, can transform your knitting as much as a gauge swatch or proper blocking. Play around, try a few different types of needles, see what you think! We think you can find a set of needles that are 'just right.'