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Old 11-26-2012, 01:23 PM   #1
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Knitting Needles

Talk to me about knitting needles, I'm going to restart knitting and want to know what size/ type you find the most useful. I will likely be using mostly worsted and bulky yarn. I want to make hats (those long pointy elf ones), maybe try socks (I know this is usually in a thinner yarn), longies, kid sweaters, that kind of stuff.

So, do you use circular or straight more often? If circular, what size cable do you find most useful? Can you decrease down to a point on circular needles? I am afraid of DPNs because I am not very coordinated and that thought of keeping stitches on all those needles while knitting is very intimidating. Is there a large learning curve with them or am I worrying for nothing?

I am currently trying to decide between a very cheap set (includes 13 sizes) of bamboo needles or getting one or two sizes of knitpicks harmony straight needles. I would consider circular if I knew what size cable to get. Also, I will be teaching my kids using whatever I get so I don't want to get anything that would be frustrating to use. Anything else I should be thinking about when choosing a few sets of needles to start with?

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Old 11-26-2012, 01:34 PM   #2
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Re: Knitting Needles

For a true beginner I think wood and plastic are a better choice because the drag helps slow down movement and prevents slippage. When I restarted knitting after taking a hiatus for a couple of years, I just jumped back into metal knitting needles because I like the speed and how well the yarn slides on metal.

I prefer interchangeable kits because in the long run it is cheaper and more convenient to have most common needle sizes on hand. No running back and forth to the craft store, I just pick some yarn from my stash, attach the cables to the needles and off I go.

I use nickle plated interchangeable kit from Knit Picks. I haven't had any major problems. I am actually on my second set with this kit since the last one was lost in the 4/27th tornadoes. Knit Picks sells a trial kit with their interchangeables here so you can try out all three of their needle styles at once.

Last edited by mekat; 11-26-2012 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:46 PM   #3
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Re: Knitting Needles

Mekat, do you usually knit flat on your circulars or do you usually knit in the round?
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:50 PM   #4
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Re: Knitting Needles

I like bamboo (no particular brand) better than metal or plastic. In general, I find metal too slippery and plastic too grippy. Although I did just get an Addi turbo metal circular and found it very nice.

I like to use circular needles better because I have carpal tunnel. Instead of using them as criculars I just knit back and forth. The weight is on your lap instead of your hands. I usually buy a 16 or 24 length. I think with the interchangable sets, you get different length cords to customize, but I've never really looked at them.

For socks, you really need double points. Really you are only working with two needles at a time (just like regular knitting) and the stitches/needles hang out on the back. I've never really had much trouble with them falling out and you can get needle protectors until you're more comfortable. You can use two circular needles (I think it's called the magic sock method or something) but it's really more hassle than it's worth (just MY opinion).

If you're going to make hats, you can start on a circular but you'll need double points once you get to the crown/ long pointy part (unless you knit it flat and then sew a seam).

I have always bought the cheapest bamboos I could find. I have needle sets that are probably 20 years old. I sometimes look at beautiful ebony/specality wood sets and think I should probably buy them since I keep them so long.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:06 PM   #5
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Re: Knitting Needles

I knit flat and circular items on them. You can actually make them straight needles by attaching a cable to one needle and an end cap and then attaching another cable to the other needle and an end cap so each needle has a cable and an end cap attached. Does that make sense? Hopefully it does. I prefer to use them as circular needles because as Animommy above said it is easier on your wrists when the weight of the project is in your lap, using them the other way is always a struggle for me and slows me down. I can't knit with dpns well at all I end up with laddering and tension problems so for small projects like gloves (don't knit socks but I assume it would be the same since they are of a similar diameter) I use the magic loop method.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:17 PM   #6
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Re: Knitting Needles

I started with KnitPicks rosewood and I still love them. I tried plastic and bamboo when I was first starting but it wasn't until I bought good yarn and good needles that things started clicking for me. I also have heard that a lot of people like Hiya Hiya more than Addi when going to metal.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:56 PM   #7
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:24 PM   #8
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I've always just bought whatever size needles a specific project calls.for. But mostly I use size 1, 5, and 6 DPNs. I like bamboo best. I like the grip I get. I used to watch my sister knit socks and think it was so complicated. But once I tried it I realized it looks much harder than it actually is. I would love to get a set of interchangeable circulate, and so I don't have a good supply of circulars. I'm just waiting to splurge on them someday.

Probably typing one handed while breastfeeding. My smartphone can't fix it all.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:25 PM   #9
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Re: Knitting Needles

Thank you everyone, I am getting a set of carbonized bamboo needles and will add higher end needles and circulars as they are called for in patterns.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:29 PM   #10
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Re: Knitting Needles

the only thing i don't like about the interchangeable sets is that none that i have seen include a 12" or 16" cable. being that i mainly started knitting to do projects for my LO (and now several of my friends that are expecting) it seems pointless to spend $60+ on a set and then still have to go out and buy more needles for the projects i have planned. then again, i could do magic loop but i really haven't gotten the hang of that yet (and why mess with it when you can get the right size needle for $5??). i'm in the middle between bamboo and metal. being a novice knitter i like that the yarn doesn't slip as easily as on the metal but i love how smooth the metal needles are to knit with, much more fluid. (though i did buy the cheap susan bates color coated ones and i HATE all the knicks and scratches already on the needle from one use)

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