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Knitting Toolbag: the needles

Every skill comes with it’s own set of tools and know-how. This posting is especially for the newbee who is overwhelmed with the options of needles in the craft store or online. Other knitters might read on just to see if they learn something new, or you might have some valuable knowledge to lend us in the comments!

I am not endorsing any particular brand, nor do I get any compensation from any brands that I mention that I like below. The examples I provide are purely because they are found at pretty much any popular craft store and I want all newbee knitters to attack the knitting aisle with confidence!

What I have learned, is that learning to knit on long bulky needles is not a good idea. And really have no place in most knitters toolbags.

It’s awkward and makes a person feel very clumsy in the new skill set they are trying to acquire. Long knitting needles are good for the experienced knitter who is planning on making a large blanket, and doesn’t have kids who will pick up the knitting causing the stitches to fall off.

I am recommending to my students, that you start with either double-pointed needles, or Circular needles.

Double-pointed needles (DPNs) are shorter in length, and come in packs of 5 or 6. These are a very valuable set to have. You can use just two to knit a small flat piece of work, such as a dishcloth or they are used to knit in the round to make the simplest has or the most complex socks.

Circular needles (circs) are two needles connected by a flexible cable.They have been designed to knit in the round on larger projects such as a sweater. However, recently I have discovered that these are the best all-in-one type of needle to have in your toolbox. Again, you can knit straight flat projects with these but larger projects than the DPNs, such as a blanket. They also still work great for knitting in the round on smaller projects when you use the magic loop method. Learning Magic loop, literally changed my knitting life. I was a avid DPN-er, and hated trying anything in the round with the circs, until I learned magic loop. BUT, I learned right away that you have to have a good set with a nice flexible needle. The stiff ones just won’t work. The other plus side to Circular needles is that you can safely slide your work to the center far, far away from the tips. This way when you throw down your knitting to get a goat out of the house (see below link, yes it really happens) and the toddler decides to help with the project, you are less likely to loose your stitches.

Here are a few tips on searching out the right kind of circular needle at your local craft store:

Most packages have a pocket type closure so you can totally open it up and check it out. I really recommend doing this with a circular needle that has a cable you are unsure of. Bend it around and back and forth, it should flex easily. (just be sure to put it back neatly, we want knitters to be known as respectful shoppers.)This is the most flexible from a local craft store that I have found:

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The other brand from Susan Bates works well too. These ones have a really nice join from cable to needle.

 

If you have really committed to using circular needles, I recommend investing in a set of inter-changeables. You will never need to buy any other needles. One of these sets can do everything, as long as you choose a set that has the sizes you think you will need.

 

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These are what I have. They are the ChiaoGoo brand. The reason I went with these is because they go all the way down to a size 2 needle which I need for knitting socks and baby booties.
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This was my second choice, due to the reviews. They are the HiyaHiya brand. The smallest size in this set is a 5, otherwise they seemed like a good option.

There are many other brands including ones from Addi, and Knitpicks. It was hard for me to choose, but like mentioned above, the reason for my choices was based on the sizes I needed and I found the ChiaoGoo to have the largest range. Actually, I only requested the small half of the set, but my hubs went all out bought me the full set for Christmas! I really just read reviews on several different sites which narrowed the quality  I was looking for and then it narrowed by my needs.

Picking out your DPNs:

In this category I have found that I prefer anything BUT the aluminum type. This means I usually go for wood.These from Clover are usually what I have in my toolbag. I do find that the tiny ones have fragile tips and they have broken in use before. The reason my first choice isn’t aluminum is because they are too slippery. With DPNS you run the risk of you work falling off the ends more than other needle types. So the wood has a surface that grips the yarn a little better for staying in place.IMG_0808.jpg

My last trip to the store these caught my eye:

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I couldn’t resist the beautiful wood grains and a size 4 (or was it 5?) ended up in my cart.

Don’t forget to check the craft area of your favorite Thrift shop! I have often found a bargain there.

Happy needle shopping!

P.S.

This week our kitchen was invaded by goats! Check it out here:

Don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel so you can always have the latest animal antics or knitting helps. 🙂

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