Best Knitting Needles For Beginners

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In this post, you will see the best knitting needles for beginners.

Knitting needles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and materials.

What you need most from the needles that you choose is to be able to work with them comfortably.

yarn and needles

The Best Knitting Needles For Beginners

When you are starting out and learning how to knit, you will need to buy some supplies to get started.

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This means getting your first pair of knitting needles, some yarn, scissors, a tape measure and darning needles.

For those of you in the US, I highly recommend using Knitter’s pride wooden needles or Susan Bates Aluminium.

If you are in the UK I recommend using KnitPro’s wooden needles or their Zing range which I love to knit with.

Susan Bates knitting needles

The needles you choose need to be smooth and strong so that you can get on with making your projects with ease.

Before you buy any needles, you should think about the different yarn fibres you will be working with.

Plus your gauge/tension and knowing that one pair of needles will not do for all of the projects that you want to make!

You will probably invest in several pairs of needles in a range of different sizes over time.

wooden knitting needles

Sizes + Thickness

The first thing you need to know about knitting needles is that they come in different sizes and thickness.

When you are knitting, it is important to choose the right size needle to knit with whichever yarn weight you have chosen.

For example, if you have chosen a super bulky weight yarn, you will need to use a thicker needle size 9mm (US 13) or above.

If you use a smaller size needle with a super bulky yarn you will have trouble knitting with it and it will be hard work for your fingers!

Knitting needles bamboo

How To Know Which Size To Use

When you are first learning how to knit, it is always best to look at the information on the yarn label to see what size needle has been recommended.

For example, DK yarn will normally recommend that you use a size 4mm (US 6) needle.

Once you get more confident, you can vary your needle sizes to achieve different effects with the yarn that you want to use.

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Knitting Needle Conversion Chart

Most needle sizes are measured in millimetres (mm) but on some vintage patterns, you may see tradition British Sizes (in numbers from 000 to 14) and traditional US sizes (in numbers from 0 to 50).

Here is a handy knitting needle size chart below so you can see the numbers and the conversions.

Knitting needle conversion chart

What Needle Sizes Are Best For Beginners?

You don’t need to have a collection of all of the sizes you can find in order to begin knitting.

You’ll find it handy to have a pair of 4mm (US 6) and 5mm (US 8) needles and perhaps a pair of 9mm (US 13) if you want to start off with a super bulky weight yarn, while you practice.

If you have any vintage needles that your grandma or neighbour gave to you, these sometimes don’t have any numbers on them so it can be hard to tell what size they are. 

This is where you can invest in a needle gauge – an inexpensive tool that will help you to determine the size of your needles.

Needle gauge

Addi Counting Frame and Needle Gauge

Knitting Needle Guide

  • The most commonly used needle is the straight needle, they are easy to use and perfect for knitting pieces flat – back and forth.
  • Double pointed needles are used in sets of four or five, these are used to knit in the round.
  • Circular needles – two needles joined by a flexible cable are also commonly used to knit in the round.
  • They are also great for knitting garments or shawls flat if the project has a huge number of stitches.
  • You can buy interchangeable needle sets that have cables and needles in a range of lengths and sizes.
  • The standard length for straight needles are 25cm, 30cm and 35cm and from 20cm to 100cm for circular needles.
  • The best length for you to use will depend on your project.
  • Crochet hooks are also useful to have as they can be used to pick up dropped stitches, weave in yarn ends and to add edgings to your knits.

Best knitting needles for beginners

1. Straight

Perfect for any beginner knitters straight needles come in pairs and can allow you to create large, flat pieces of work.

They come in a range of lengths and materials – from wood, bamboo, plastic and metal.

Knitting needles

KnitPro Ginger Single Point Needles 25cm – 1 Pair

2. Double Pointed Needles

Sold in sets of four or five, they enable you to knit in the round.

It can be a little tricky to get used to but you will only knit with two, as the others hold the work.

Double pointed knitting needles

KnitPro Smartstix Pink Double Pointed Needles 14 cm – Set of 5

3. Cable Needles

Used for creating cables, these needles come in various sizes and are great for holding a small number of stitches when you are knitting your cable designs.

If you don’t have a cable needle then you can use a spare needle instead.

Cable needles

Addi Cable Needle (2.50mm and 4.0mm)

4. Circular Needles

Made of two-needle tips connected by a cable, circular needles can be used to knit in the round or knit flat (back and forth).

If you knit flat with circulars the cable can take the weight of the fabric if you have many stitches.

circular knitting needles

KnitPro Zing Fixed Circular Needles 100cm (40in)

5. Interchangeable Circular Needles

Circular needles come in various sizes and lengths.

Interchangeable needles allow you to mix and match needle tips with cables so you don’t have to buy one of every thickness and length.

You can buy sets as well as individual parts.

Also great for having many projects on the go at once, you can screw the end caps onto the cables and use the needles for another project with ease.

Interchangeable knitting needle set

Lykke Gift Set 12 Pairs of Driftwood Interchangeable Wooden Needles In Pouch.

Beginner Knitters May Also Be Interested In…

For those of you who are learning how to knit, you may also be interested in these posts:

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4 Comments

  1. I really appreciate all your patterns and tutorials! Thank you so much for helping this beginner knitter. I recently purchased your pattern for snow mountain mittens. Is there some other yarn I could use?

    1. Hello Connie,
      Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m so happy you like the patterns.
      You can substitute with any yarn that is super bulky/super chunky/14 ply.
      Have you looked at Paintbox Yarns from Love Crafts?
      They have some great colors and have acrylic or wool/acrylic blends.
      Happy Knitting!
      Louise

  2. I really enjoy all your helpfull tips, charts and free patterns!
    I’m always excited to get your e-mails!
    Thanks so much 🙂
    Patricia

    1. Hello Patricia,
      Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m so happy you enjoy the patterns and emails!
      Happy knitting 🙂
      Louise