So you’ve decided to learn how to knit.
It is a wonderful and rewarding hobby that allows you to experiment with different techniques and be as creative as you’d like. You’ll be able to make highly practical and beautiful creations for your loved ones as well as to spruce up your home.
The first critical step when you first learn how to knit is to pick up the right tools that can assist your learning. When it comes to knitting needles, there are so many different types, sizes, and materials that it can be daunting to pick out your first pair.
There are so many sizes with different numbers to navigate – along with the yarn which has its own size and type system. Plus, there are different kinds of needles to contend with. What’s a new knitter to do?
So what are the best knitting needles for beginners? A set of multiple sizes is ideal for a beginner. The best needle types will vary by preference in terms of material (metal, plastic, or wood) and needle type (straight, circular, or double pointed). Straight or circular needles made of lighter materials are common choices.
In this article, we will walk you through every type of knitting needle and help you pick out the perfect pair for you. You can get a feel for the benefits of each type. Then we’ll show you some of the best options out there which will be perfect for the knitting basket you’re sure to fill up soon!
There are three main types of knitting needles: straight needles, circular needles, and double-pointed needles. Each is specifically designed for knitting, and, while technically able to be used with other crafts, is not at all ideal for anything else, even crochet. Let’s look at each.
Straight Knitting Needles
When you think about knitting, a mental image comes to mind of two straight sticks clicking away to make long garments. Straight knitting needles are the most common types of knitting needles and the perfect type of needles for beginners.
Straight knitting needles look like two straight sticks, each with one pointy end to pick up the stitches and one capped end to prevent stitches from falling off. Knitters use straight knitting needles when they want to work back and forth (on the right side and the wrong side) to make flat garments.
Although straight needles are the most commonly seen in knitting, they are not the most versatile. You can only make flat garments, such as scarves or baby blankets, with straight needles. To make things like sweaters, you have to make flat pieces and sew them together.
Since most straight needles are about 10 inches long, they also cannot hold a lot of stitches, so making big garments like blankets are out of the question.
However, since working with straight needles are fairly straightforward, beginner knitters can still benefit from practicing with straight knitting needles before moving on to more advanced types.
Double-pointed needles (DPNs) look like straight knitting needles, except that they have two pointy ends, which allows you to knit with both ends.
DPNs come in sets of four or five, which allows you to knit in the round to make small garments like hats, socks, and mittens. You will use three or four needles to hold the stitches in a circle and use the remaining needle to knit in the round.
A variation of the DPN is a cable needle, which has a U curve in the middle of the needle to prevent stitches from falling off one end.
DPNs can easily be converted into straight needles to knit a flat garment by using a stitch stopper on one end to prevent stitches from falling off. DPNs are usually shorter than straight needles because they are usually designed to hold a small number of stitches at a time.
Although DPNs are highly versatile, it can be difficult for complete beginners to maneuver because you may risk dropping stitches. DPNs take some getting used to, especially if you knit in the round, so we recommend them for those who already know the basics of knitting and want to expand their skill set.
Circular needles have two straight needles connected by a cord in the middle. They are highly versatile – you can use them to knit flat as well as in the round.
Circular needles can be used to make very small or very large garments with ease.
Even if you want to knit small garments like baby socks, you can still use the magic loop method with long circular needles to create tiny circles. You can also make large garments like blankets and sweaters without having to sew the pieces together.
Compared to other types of needles, circular needles can hold more stitches with less weight, thanks to the lightweight cord that connects the two needles.
If you are someone who tends to lose things, risking having a bunch of mismatched needles in your collection, circular needles will ensure that you always have two needles of the same size to make anything you’d like.
Circular needles come in different lengths, most commonly 40 cm, 60cm, and 80cm. You can also purchase interchangeable circular needles. These sets allow you to swap different sized needles and often different length cords to create a wide range of sizes and lengths.
This feature makes them highly versatile, suitable for almost every project imaginable.
Circular needles are beloved by beginners as well as expert knitters since they are suitable for learning the basics and allow you to experiment and expand your skillset as you learn more knitting methods. They also tend to be easier and lighter on your hands for larger projects.
Knitting needles come in a variety of different materials, each with its own characteristics. We will introduce you to the most popular materials below.
Wood or Bamboo
Wood or bamboo knitting needles are preferred by many knitters since they have a natural texture that allows you to hold the stitches firmly in place. They are great to practice with because they help you create just the right tension for really even stitches.
Skilled knitters love wood or bamboo needles because they hold up great even after years of usage. However, you should be highly selective when it comes to buying wood or bamboo needles. Some poor quality needles may have splinters that may damage your yarn and even your skin.
Aluminum needles are a great choice since they are perfectly smooth and super lightweight. Skilled knitters love aluminum needles because stitches can easily be picked up and slid off the needles.
Although beginners may have problems holding the stitches in place since it’s so easy to drop the stitches.
Plastic needles are the most recommended for beginners since they are also lightweight and very smooth. But they are not slippery, so they can still hold the stitches in place while you work.
Needle sizes can be confusing even for the most advanced knitters. You should think of needle sizes as how big your stitches are going to be – the larger the needle, the larger the loop. Needle sizes range from 0 (2mm), which is very small, to 17+ (12.75mm+), which is very big.
The size of your needle also depends on the yarn weight that you are using for your project. When you buy yarn, you will often find the recommended needle size on the yarn’s label – the thicker the yarn, the bigger the recommended needle size.
You don’t always have to use the recommended needle size. You can switch up the needle size to create different effects for your knitting. Using smaller needles will make the stitches tighter, and using larger needles will make the stitches looser.
For beginner knitters, we recommend using DK or chunky yarn with needle sizes 5mm (US size 8) to 8mm (US size 11). These needles are big enough so that you can easily see the stitches and pattern, but not too big that maneuvering the whole project would be difficult.
When you are more familiar with knitting, you can experiment with different-sized yarn and knitting needles to create different effects in your work.
The Best Knitting Needles For Beginners
Now that you know the differences between the different types, materials, and sizes of knitting needles, below are some of our recommendations for the best knitting needles for beginners:
|Boye Aluminum Knitting Needle Set
|Celley Bamboo Knitting Needles
|KnitPal Large Knitting Needles
|cuteDIY Circular Knitting Needles Set
|Circular, stainless steel
|Lykke Driftwood Circular Knitting Needles
|Love2Knit Interchangeable Knitting Needles
|Addi Turbo Circular Knitting Needle
|Boye Double Point Knitting Needles
|Double Pointed, aluminum
|Clover Bamboo Knitting Needles
|Double Pointed, bamboo
We’ll go over all of these in more detail below, splitting them up by needle type (straight, circular, or double pointed) so you can go straight to your preference if you like.
Straight Knitting Needles
1. Boye Aluminum Knitting Needle Set
Boye knitting needles are so high-quality and affordable that we wrote a full review for their products.
This set of aluminum knitting needles are perfect for helping you learn your first moves as a knitter. These straight knitting needles will allow you to practice casting on, knitting back and forth to create flat pieces, and practice different types of stitches.
Since they are straight needles, you don’t have to worry about dropping stitches or working in the round. The set comes with three sizes of needles: US size 8 (5mm), US size 9 (5.25mm), and US size 10 (5.75mm), which are perfect for knitting with DK or worsted weight yarn.
With these sizes, you will be able to see the stitches clearly to pick up and knit, and you’ll be able to spot any mistakes while you practice. The aluminum material makes the needles super lightweight, so your hands won’t feel tired even after hours of knitting.
These aluminum needles are very smooth and strong, so stitches can easily glide on and off the needles. Some beginners may find it difficult to work with aluminum needles, but with some practice, you will be able to enjoy all of the benefits of this material.
This set is perfect for beginners who are just learning to knit for the first time since they are so easy to work with and can get the job done quickly. When you have mastered the basic techniques, you can move on to other types of knitting needles to learn more difficult moves.
2. Celley Bamboo Knitting Needles
This set of bamboo knitting needles is an amazing addition to any knitter’s collection, but it is especially a great starting point for beginner knitters. The set is a great investment for dedicated knitters who plan on making a wide range of projects in different sizes.
This set comes with 18 pairs of needles in a comprehensive range of sizes from US 0 (2mm) to US 15 (10mm). You can start with the medium sizes (US sizes 8 to 11) first before expanding your horizon to smaller or bigger needles. The set comes with a pouch that can hold all of the needles when they are not in use.
These bamboo needles are not only environmentally friendly, but they are also amazing knitting tools. The bamboo material makes them highly lightweight. They are smooth with some natural texture to hold the stitches in place but still allow you to slide the stitches with ease when you knit.
We love how comprehensive this set is, and bamboo is definitely a beginner-friendly material. These straight needles allow you to practice your knitting to make a wide range of garments so that you can improve your knitting skills before trying more advanced needles.
3. KnitPal Large Knitting Needles
These extra-long plastic knitting needles are highly recommended for beginners who want to experiment with making larger garments like sweaters or blankets. These needles are 16 inches long (which is 1.6 times longer than regular needles), which allows you to hold more stitches and expand the width of your garment.
These needles come in a set of three sizes, and you can opt for smaller sizes (US 10.75 to US 13) or larger sizes (US 15 to US 19), depending on your needs. If you are making a chunky scarf or blanket, opting for larger needles will make the knitting process much faster, and you’ll get the desired chunky effect.
Of course, the plastic material is quite beginner-friendly since it can fix the weaknesses of both aluminum and wooden needles. They are lightweight and smooth, but they can still hold your stitches in place. You don’t have to worry about dropping or missing stitches.
We recommend this set of plastic needles because they are beginner-friendly and quite versatile. Even if you are a complete beginner, you will find that working with these needles quite easy, and you will get a completed blanket or scarf in no time!
4. cuteDIY Circular Knitting Needles Set
Whether you are a beginner who is just learning the first stitches, or a skilled knitter who wants to learn knitting in the round, this set can benefit you. Circular needles can be employed to knit a flat garment or knit a seamless circle in the round. So knitters of every skill level can find benefits from working with these needles.
The set comes with six circular needle sizes from US 0 to 13, each with a total length of 16 inches (40cm). The set allows you to create flat garments as well as small rounds, perfect for hats or sweater sleeves. This is a perfect starter set if you want to practice knitting in the round with small and lightweight needles first.
The needles are made of stainless steel, which is very smooth and slippery. The material is also not prone to rust, which allows you to use them for a long time as your knitting skills progress. If you love the feel of stitches gliding off the needles easily, this is a perfect set for you.
The needles are 4.5 inches long, connected by a seven-inch-long nylon tube. The tubes are quite sturdy and lightweight. You can bend and maneuver the needles with ease, without permanent damage to the tube. The joint between the tube and the needles is quite seamless. The stitches can slide easily across the length of the needles.
One small warning is that the needles may smell strongly of steel when you first purchase them, but the smell can be eliminated quickly when you air out the needles. Overall, this is a highly practical and recommended set for beginners and advanced knitters alike.
5. Lykke Driftwood Circular Knitting Needles
If you have to purchase just one pair of circular knitting needles, we definitely recommend these ones. The Lykke circular knitting needles are made of driftwood, which is strong and sturdy, yet still perfectly light and smooth.
There are size options from US 0 to US 11, and you can choose the size that is the most suitable for your project. These circular needles are 16 inches (40cm) long, with two short needles connected by a small but very strong cord. The needles blend seamlessly with the cord to create a smooth effect, allowing the stitches to glide easily as you work.
Driftwood is a highly durable material that is preferred by many knitters. You can enjoy their many benefits, and they will hold up for a long time, so you can even pass these needles down to your children and introduce them to the joy of knitting.
6. Love2Knit Interchangeable Knitting Needles
If you are looking for a set of knitting needles that can satisfy every project imaginable, we highly recommend these interchangeable knitting needles.
With six sets of needle tips sizes US 5 (3.75mm) to US 15 (10mm), as well as three cords size 9”, 12”, and 14”, you can have up to 18 combinations of stitches with various lengths and needle sizes. This set is amazing and highly versatile for a wide range of projects and skill levels.
The needles and cords are made of plastic, which is friendly even for children. The plastic needles are lightweight, smooth but still offer some resistance to prevent stitches from sliding off. The joint between the needles and the cord is quite secure, so you don’t have to worry about the needles becoming undone as you knit.
This set is the ultimate set of knitting needles for beginners as well as skilled knitters since they can accommodate a wide range of needs and projects. This set is perfect if you want to gradually expand your range as a knitter, practicing a variety of different techniques and making a lot of different garments.
7. Addi Turbo Circular Knitting Needle
When you have mastered knitting in the round, one essential technique that you will need to learn is the magic loop method, which allows you to knit in the round to make various sized circles, from the smallest to the largest. This technique saves you so much time and money since it allows you to knit seamlessly in the round without having to buy more needles.
The magic loop method only requires a pair of long circular knitting needles, preferably 80cm, which is why we recommend these Addi knitting needles size US 8 (5mm). They are highly versatile, allowing you to make flat garments as well as knit in the round to make socks, mittens, sweaters, hats, and more.
Some reviewers call these needles “the best knitting needles in the world” because of how smooth and sturdy they are. The joint between the needles and the cord is also quite seamless, so you can easily glide the stitches on and off the needles with ease.
Overall, these needles are highly recommended, even if you are a complete beginner. You can grow your knitting skills by practicing various techniques and methods with these needles since they are quite versatile and accommodating to various skill levels.
Double Pointed Needles
8. Boye Double Point Knitting Needles
Even though double-pointed needles (DPNs) are not the most beginner-friendly, we still want to include them in this list since they can be employed in a wide variety of projects. After you’ve had a couple projects under your belt, you may be ready to give them a go.
This set of DPNs from Boye is a perfect starter to introduce you to the world of knitting in the round with DPNs. These needles are made of aluminum, which feels cool and smooth, and highly pleasant to work with.
The set comes with five 7-inch DPNs sized 8 (5mm). They allow you to knit in a large circle, with four needles holding the stitches and one needle to work in the round. When you want to knit a flat garment, you can use them as straight stitches by capping one end with a stitch stopper to prevent your stitches from slipping off.
Some beginners may struggle with holding the stitches in place with these aluminum DPNs, since the stitches can slide off if your stitches don’t have the right grip. However, with some practice, you can enjoy the many benefits of aluminum needles while improving your knitting skills.
9. Clover Bamboo Knitting Needles
These bamboo DPNs are amazing if you are just being introduced to the world of double-pointed knitting.
These needles are a lot lighter than metal or plastic needles, so they are easy to maneuver as you knit. Since they are very lightweight, your hands won’t get tired even as you hold all five needles to work in the round.
The package includes five DPNs sizes US 9, which is the perfect starter size for you to work with DK yarn. The needles are smooth but still offer some grip to your yarn, so you can easily hold your stitches in place as you knit. The more you practice with them, the smoother they will become.
These needles are amazing if you are looking for something supportive to help you learn double-pointed knitting. They are the perfect starter needles to help you make socks, mittens, and hats seamlessly in the round.