View Full Version : Newbie Needle Questions

06-09-2009, 08:55 PM
Will the average knitter eventually end up with every size? How do you know which sizes you need? I think the pattern will tell you, correct? Are some needles better for some yarns than others?

06-09-2009, 09:15 PM
If you knit a little of everything - socks to bulky - you'd need more or less all sizes, which are stated in the pattern. Though you may knit tighter or looser than the designer and have to use a size larger or smaller. I don't knit on anything smaller than an 8 (I have something on a 7, but I don't like using a needle that small, that's why it's still on the needle) and have every size between 8 and 15, usually more than one. I've been adding the sizes sizes for years, but a good way to go is get an interchangeable set. You can knit flat on circulars and that way you'd have every thing you need. Sticky yarns aren't so good on bamboo needles, and slick ones are a hassle on some metal ones, so it's not a bad idea to have some of each.

06-10-2009, 10:02 AM
Yes, if you stick with knitting chances are you will at some time need most of the needle sizes. I started out buying one set at a time depending on the project I wanted to knit. Eventually, I bought the Knit Pick Options set and later the Harmony tips. I now have every size I need. And yes some yarns slide better on metal and some really slippery yarns are easier worked on wood or plastic needles. if you don't want to invest in a set of interchangeables right now I would just buy the size you need when you start a new project.

06-11-2009, 01:32 PM
When I first started knitting, I came on here and asked much the same question and got much the same answers. I decided, after some experimental knitting on different kind of needles, that I preferred metal, so I got a set of interchangeables of those -- also, I knew that I'd sooner or later want to try knitting lace, and people told me that I would probably want wood for that, so I got a set of interchangeables of those as well. (I'm traveling, you see, so I wanted to get everything I might need all at once.) I also have a few wood straights that I couldn't quite resist (Lantern Moon, get thee behind me!)

I'm really glad I got the interchangeable metals, which have been terrific and have used almost all of the sizes, and I haven't gotten quite to the point of doing the lace yet (just mainly lace-like and larger gauge lace), so haven't really used the wood ones much, but I'm glad to have them for the future.

I'd say that I've saved quite a bit of money, aggravation and time having gotten the metal interchangeables right away, since I'd done enough knitting on them to know I preferred metal. (If I'd been strapped for cash, I'd probably have gotten them separately as I could afford them rather than as a full kit.)

That said, some people knit almost nothing but socks or baby clothing or hats or what have you -- in that case, since many of those items tend towards certain sizes of yarn, I'd probably advise just getting those sizes at first if you know you're going to be that kind of knitter -- but that usually takes a while of knitting, to settle on one sort of knitting.

06-11-2009, 02:25 PM
I've been knitting off and on since I was about 12. I bought needles by the project (plus picked up some garage sale finds) and have a little of everything from about size 2 or 3 to 17, with a few sizes missing there. Some of those are bamboo, some metal. I have some 7" straights, some 14" straights. I have circulars of various lengths (16" for hats, 35" for afghans). I have some very cheap needles, and some expensive ones. Each is useful for a particular type of pattern and different kinds of yarns. It takes some experimentation to figure out what kind of needles you like the best. Until/unless you decide that XYZ needles are the absolute best for you, I'd buy them 1 pair at a time.

06-11-2009, 05:07 PM
I don't knit on anything smaller than an 8 (I have something on a 7, but I don't like using a needle that small, that's why it's still on the needle) and have every size between 8 and 15, usually more than one.

I'm practically the opposite. I don't really knit on anything bigger than an 8. But for a newbie, I think 9 is usually a good number. I've made LOTSA projects on 9s. :thumbsup:

06-11-2009, 08:45 PM
If you're not sure that you will be knitting long term, then I would just buy the needles as needed. I did that for a long time and hubby found some needles at yard sales as well. I don't use the straights anymore and so have had to buy more circulars and ended up with the interchangeables. They tend to be too large so now I'm filling in with smaller diameter circulars as well as smaller size dpns. As you can see from the responses it depends on the individual.

06-13-2009, 08:11 AM
When I first started knitting a year ago, I didn't want to spend a lot of money but I wanted to try soooo many different things. So I went on eBay and bought a grab bag of different random needles for a steal (less than $10).

I ended up with good mix of really good needles and just a few not so great (yuk, plastic). But I didn't spend a lot of money and I had a variety of things to work with. Because times are tight now for me, I can't afford to buy the interchangeables myself. However, so far, I've found that my eBay stash is serving me well.

Another upside to my eBay stash and my shortage in my bank account is that I learned to do Magic Loop with my circular needles, instead of going to the store and getting the needles called for in the pattern.