Knitting Needles

The Best Knitting Needles for Beginners

Which knitting needles do you need when you are starting out? When you are standing in a knitting shop, the choice can be overwhelming. I certainly didn’t know where to begin!

Let me give you some pointers because needles are an essential part of your knitting supplies. Hopefully, this short guide will help you choose the right ones for you and explain how you can store and transport your needles.

Needle Materials

Needles are made of three main types of materials:

  • Wood (or bamboo)
  • Metal
  • Plastic

Choosing the material of your needles is a matter of personal preference. Mine is currently metal!

When deciding which needles to buy, you might want to consider the following points:

– Wood is generally rougher than metal so the yarn will tend to stay put. Metal needles are very smooth and the yarn slides off very easily.

– Wooden needles tend to be more expensive than other types of needle. If you are a beginner, you might want to wait a while before investing in some.

– This might sound a bit odd, but metal needles do make the loudest clicking sounds. This is worth taking into consideration if you are planning on knitting in front of the TV etc. Luckily, in my case, the noise doesn’t seem to bother my husband!

Needle Sizes

A key point to note is that most paper bands on yarn show the size of needle that is best to use with the yarn.

Knitting needles sizes can be shown in one of three ways: in millimeters, old UK or US.

You might find this needle conversion chart handy:

knitting needle conversion table

Needle Storage

When you have started to build up a collection of needles you can store them in a tall cylindrical container or in a special knitting needle case with individual compartments for each needle. The advantage of knitting needle cases is that they often roll up for easy storage and you can keep your pairs of straight needles together.

It is a good idea to store circular knitting needles separately so the cables do not become tangled. Also, if circular needles are stored tightly coiled you may need to let the cables relax before starting to knit with them.

Can I take my knitting needles on the airplane?

The short answer (at the time of writing) is that yes, you can take knitting needles in either your hand luggage or your checked baggage.

However, there is a possibility that the needles will be perceived as a possible weapon by one of the Security Officers.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has some good tips:

  • They suggest circular knitting needles are less than 31 inches in total length
  • They recommend that needles be made of bamboo or plastic (Not Metal)
  • Scissors must have blunt points
  • In case a Security Officer does not allow your knitting tools through security they recommend that you carry a self addressed envelope so that you can mail your tools back to yourself as opposed to surrendering them at the security checkpoint
  • As a precautionary measure they recommend that you carry a crochet hook with yarn to save the work you have already done in case your knitting tools are surrendered at a checkpoint

My advice is to check the TSA website or equivalent before you embark on any air travel.