i am a new (but confidant!) knitter. my dh's grandma wants to learn. her dear friend (who has passed) had started to teach her. she still has a bunch of yarn (it looks like acrylic), and showed me a cool scarf/hat combo she made. so my question is, she is 75 (or about that) and has arthritis, what size needles should i buy? i was thinking 13US and circular to help support the wieght of her knitting, and in a short (16"??) and med lenght(36"), and plastic or bamboo to help 'grip' the yarn.... any advice would be great, i wouldlike to bring her the supplies along with an easy to learn book and a simple scarf and hat pattern! THANKS A MILLION!!!!
I would go for the smaller needles also. Older people frequently find that larger needles cause more hand fatigue. I'd say size 8 since you can use that with worsted weight yarn. Nothing larger than a 10. I prefer 24" length for circs (not that I'm 75 you understand!). Some people find 16" cords are too short and their hands get cramped.
Wood or plastic are good choices for materials. As far as a book goes, you could just pick up one of those pamphlets they have in crafts stores.
I'm in my 50s and prefer larger needles; it's easier on my tendonitis. Also, when I do magic loop on small diameter stuff it bothers my hands/wrists more. Size 10s can be knit up wonderfully with worsted yarn and I'd definitely suggest a 24-32" circular needle.
I have moderate arthritis in my hands and find that large needles tend to make my hands cramp. This is also true of smaller needles. I find the sizes between 6 and 10-10.5 the most comfortable. (Takes me forever to knit socks with 3's)
I use circs for almost everything because they can be rested on the lap and not cause extra tension on your hands.
I also have to hold the yarn an entirely different way than anyone I've ever seen.
As for length of circs, it depends on the project you are doing. I use the 16" or 24" for hats.