View Full Version : Newbie with questions - needles, yarn
10-09-2008, 10:45 AM
Hi, I've crochetted for 15 years. I'm learning to knit and I love the videos on this site! I'm already working with the knit stitch! I bought a 'learn to knit' kit so I just have 2 needles (6 and 8).
I'm wanting to start getting more needles. I plan to make some dishcloths and scarves before going on to more ambitious projects. I'm interested in making a baby blanket, a toddler sweater (size 4T or 5T), and maybe trying out some socks.
What kind of needles do you recommend? Metal, plastic, bamboo? I actually prefer plastic crochet needles but have seen some criticism against plastic in earlier posts. I'm hesitant on getting bamboo as I have two kittens that might chew them all up.
Do I need circular needles? Are those for larger projects? I have 30 st on my needles right now and they really fill up my size 8 needles.
Are there any needle sets that anyone recommends? I saw one post about Denise needles but I don't understand the descriptions I saw on them (interchangable?!?).
And I'm working with worsted weight yarn. I love crocheting baby blankets with Homespun (Lion Brand) yarn, is there any problems with knitting with this yarn? Is there any other very soft yarn that might be better to knit with? For baby blankets, I love super soft yarns.
Thanks for all your help!
(I know that I'm just starting but I was surprised that I worked all evening last night and just had this little square... I'm used to being able to crochet a whole skein in an evening...)
10-09-2008, 10:58 AM
Welcome- hope you love knitting! Tons of help is always available here for your questions. My mom crochets & I am trying to teach her to knit.
What kind of needles do you recommend?
I like Knit Picks www.knitpicks.com for needles- I have the Harmony interchangeable set. I would like to try the nickel plated ones too- the wood are a little more grippy. I started on the Boye aluminum ones. It's really personal preference. Metal makes the yarn more slippy which is good unless you are dropping stitches off (which I did A LOT when starting). Wood ones are more grabby- the bamboo ones I tried I threw away but some people love them. I haven't tried plastic- some people love them. Get a few different kinds and see what you like. You might use different types with different yarns.
Do I need circular needles? Are those for larger projects?
You don't NEED them for everything, but I use mine for everything. It's so much lighter because it keeps more of it in your lap. For larger projects it's necessary unless you have big muscles and really long needles. You can knit back & forth on them, or join in the round and knit a big tube (like the body of a sweater, or a hat)
Homespun (Lion Brand) yarn, is there any problems with knitting with this yarn?
Homespun is fine to knit with although it's wibbly and splitty and a general pain- but if you can successfully crochet with it (I always thought it was hard to see where to put the hook) then you'll be fine. I have made 2 shawls with it- it washes up so nice and soft and the colors are beautiful. I used size 13 needles. That yarn also hides all manner of mistakes (which was a plus since my 2nd project was with it!)
10-09-2008, 11:05 AM
Hi, and welcome.
An interchangeable needle set is one that has several different size tips from smallish to large and a few different cord lengths so you don't need to buy different needles. Besides Denise, there are Boye, Addi and KnitPicks sets. The materials of the needles - plastic, metal, wood - are an individual preference, though slick yarns are better with wood, `sticky' yarns knit better on metal ones. Circular needles can be used to knit large flat objects as well as tubes like socks, sweaters, hats or mittens. Many of us don't use straight ones anymore, the length gets in the way and since you're used to a short hook, you may like them better too. The needle size depends on the yarn you use and the item - socks are usually knit on very small needles with thin yarn, but you might want to use thick yarn or 2 strands together to knit a throw and would need very large needles.
People either love or hate Homespun, though I'm neutral about it; the trick with knitting it is to have a loose tension and use size 11 needles with it. Since it's fuzzy, you might want to use it after you have some experience in knitting with smooth yarns. Caron Simply Soft is nice for baby items, RH Soft yarn, vanna's choice and most of the baby yarns in general are very soft.
Crocheting does go faster, but uses more yarn, so there's one tradeoff for another.
10-09-2008, 11:25 AM
I reccomend you buy one of each type of needle. Knit something with each type, you will then know what you like. It is VERY personal. I don't like metal because I hold the needle too tight and it dents my finger in. I normally don't like plastic either, too soft/bendable.
I use bamboo/wood needles and then I have a set of Dennis Interchangable which after 4 years of knitting, that set is my bread and butter. I always know I have the sized needle I want. I think anyone who likes wood would be okay with the dennis set, it's plastic but it just isn't as "bendable" as some of the other plastic ones I tried and did not like. There are stiff plastics and soft plastics. Dennis is in the middle.
So I knit with clover or crystal palace straights, addi natura circulars (because I bought a lot and realized Iw as spending too much money to get each size and width) and then got the Dennis set so I never spend money on needles anymore.
I can't remember what holiday it was but my husband got me the entire set of knitpicks.com Harmony Double Pointed needles, so now I have all of those as well. I wish years ago I had just gotten full sets (seemed like so much money at the time) but in reality I have wasted a lot of money buying duplicate needles because I didn't really know what I had or didn't have when I was out and wanted to cast on when I got home).
10-09-2008, 11:43 AM
Thanks so much for the info on the needles! After that info on what 'interchangable needles' means - I looked back at those sites and I really understand them now! I can see the benefit of buying one of those sets. I also was thinking "$45 + bucks?!? That seems outrageous!" But it makes sense when I think back on my numerous crochet needle buys. I could see buying a ton of different needles as I need them and end up spending more than just buying a set off the bat. And I can see that I would keep them forever. I still have crochet needles from my mom, who gave them to me 15 years ago. I also liked the Denise needles hint that you can have one larger needle on one side to keep the stitches looser if you knit tight (which I'm finding myself doing). :)
Looks like I found a Christmas gift for myself!
Thanks for your answers and tips!
10-09-2008, 11:45 AM
Duplicate needle sizes aren't such a bad idea though, if you have a lot of different projects started and you typically use just a few sizes.
10-09-2008, 02:38 PM
I bought mine for my b-day. It really is SO nice to know you have the needle size you need. And if you aren't too (ahem) faithful with your projects- with the interchangeable kind that screw onto cables- you can slide your work to the cable part, unscrew the needles, screw endcaps onto the cables, (I also got the little ID tags to remind me what needle size I had on there) then off you get on a new project with the same needles!