Choosing the right type of knitting needles for beginners can be confusing. Should I go for straight needles or double pointed? Those circular ones look like they might be easy to hold, but do I need interchangeable tips to switch between sizes? I’m feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it. Sometimes it’s so easy to just fall in a rabbit hole before you’ve even cast on your first project. So what do these different types mean, and how do you choose the right knitting needles for you? Here’s your knitting needles for beginners guide.
Knitting needle types
Circular knitting needles
Circular knitting needles are the most versatile, because you can knit pretty much anything on them. They can be used for both flat knitting in rows or knitting in the round. They consist of two short needle ends joined by a thin flexible cable of varying lengths. The length is usually 40, 60, 80 or 100 cm including the needle ends.
Tip: A short length is easier to handle and is more practical for getting started.
Double Pointed Needles (or DPNs)
Double-pointed knitting needles are sets of 5 short straight needles with points at both ends. They are intended for in-the-round knitting, where the stitches are divided over 4 needles in a circle, and the fifth needle is used to knit with. They are mostly used for knitting small circumferences, like socks and sleeves. You can learn to knit a few stitches by using 2 needles from a dpn set. The length is short and light, but your stitches will be sliding off both ends!
Straight knitting needles are two long, straight needles with one pointed (working) end and one end with a stop on to stop the stitches sliding off. I used these when I learned to knit. They have the advantage of not having a cable in the way of your hands while you are practising. The length of them can make them heavy to knit with (and easy to drop!) but they give you lots of length to knit away without being too confusing to pick up again. However, they can only be used to knit flat and not in the round.
Choose big needles
Big needles, about 4-7mm in size will be easier to hold and work with as you learn your first stitches. choose a yarn weight that matches your needles. the bigger the needles, the thicker the yarn used, the bigger the stitches are!