How should you choose the right knitting needles for your project?


Quick Answer

Choosing the right knitting needles for a project depends on the project, personal preference and, most importantly, the gauge. The gauge determines what size needle should be used. The gauge is how many stitches per inch are knitted with a particular yarn and needle size, and it is affected by how tightly the stitches are made. Most patterns include a gauge for the project.

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Full Answer

Choose the correct gauge by knitting a test swatch, measuring the number of stitches per inch and adjusting the needle size until the gauge matches the pattern. The lower the number for a needle's size, the thinner it is and the tighter the stitches are. Patterns usually include a needle size, as do most yarns, but both are just suggestions.

Next, choose the type of needle based on the project and personal preference. Knitting needles can be straight, circular or double-pointed and made from wood, metal or plastic. Straight needles look like pointed sticks with a flat knob on one end to keep the stitches from falling off. They are best for smaller projects that don't require too many stitches on the needles, such as baby blankets and scarves. Circular needles have two short, pointed ends joined by a cord. They are better for larger projects such as blankets and sweaters because the cord allows more room for stitches, but they are used for smaller projects as well. Double-pointed needles are short and have points at both ends. They are used for projects without a seam, such as socks and hats.

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