A Look at Tools: Knitting Needle Sets Keep You Prepared

knitting needles

It’s tough to knit without having a set of decent knitting needles that are the right size for the job.  If you’re just starting out, you will find that the needle used in knitting is not quite like the small and sharp sewing needle.  There are different types (such as straight or circular), different materials (aluminum and bamboo, for instance), and a lot of sizes.  The sizes can be the frustrating part if you are starting out and have just one set of needles.  In this article, we’ll explore different types of knitting needles.

The Shaft and Taper.

Most knitting needles have a long shaft and a taper at their end. Both the shaft and the taper play important roles in the knitting process.  The active (unsecured) stitches of the fabric are held together by the shaft. This prevents them from disentangling. The taper is used for forming new stitches.

Types of Needles.

The straight needle is common and used worldwide. This needle is capped at one end with a knob/head and tapers at the other end. It is used for knitting two-dimensional fabrics, mostly in squares and rectangles. The straight needle is also used extensively to create fabrics using extremely simple stitches. A popular variation is a short, straight rigid needle that is tapered at both ends.

Another knitting needle called the circular needle, which has two tapered rigid ends that are connected by a flexible cord. The long flexible cord holds the active stitches, whereas the tapered ends are used for creating new stitches.  They are great for socks.  A short, straight rigid needle tapered at both ends is a popular variety of knitting needle and is good for making variations in cable knitting patters.

Sizes and Knitting Needle Sets.

The size of a knitting needle is determined by its radius, which in turn determines the size of the stitch. The radius affects the length of the yarn loom drawn from the previous stitch. Fine needles are used for making petite stitches.  Large needles are used for making big stitches. In case of uneven knitting, you can use several types of needles. You can adjust the stitch size by wrapping yarn about a single needle for a multiple times. Large needles are used for large-scale projects.

Different countries use different sizes of knitting needles.  If in doubt, you can figure out the size of a knitting needle with the aid of a needle gauge. Although most needles have their sizes written on them, their size label fades out with the passing time.

If you’re using different patterns that call for various needle sizes, you can’t go wrong with starting off with a knitting needles set.  Depending on the kit that you decide to buy, you should have the right size on hand whenever  you need it.


Materials Used to Make Knitting Needles.

Contemporary knitting needles are made from materials like aluminum, steel, wood, bamboo, casein, plastic and glass. Plastic needles have no pointed edges and can be safely used by children. In the past, some needles were works of art. The beautiful antique needles were created using tortoiseshell, walrus tusks and ivory. They were eventually banned because their production threatened endangered species.


To avoid losing your favorite needles, there are attractive cases on the market. Straight needles can be stored in cylindrical containers.  Some have padding on the bottom, which helps to keep the needle points sharp. Others include additional pockets to store yarn or the project that you’re working on.  Circular needles can be kept dangling on hangers. In case they are coiled tightly, simply soak them in warm water before using them.



Deborah lives in rural Arizona, near the New Mexico border. She has a variety of interests, including water rights, writing/reading and web development. Her goal this year is to write consistently on things that she finds interesting.

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