There is an unwritten rule in most hobbies that bigger is usually better. You might even be thinking this also applies to knitting. Stop right now.
While you’re right in thinking that bigger knitting needles do exist and have their place, they’re not always the best option when it comes to knitting a hat. Larger gauges don’t generally yield the tight fit you’re looking for when it comes to a hat and thicker needles usually knit looser finishes.
This doesn’t always mean that smaller needles are the best way forward either.
Knitting needles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and they are arranged according to a number scale. As a general rule of thumb, finer needles will usually be categorized by smaller gauge numbers and subsequently will require you to use much thinner yarn.
(P.S. If you’re trying to decide what yarn to use, you can check out my guide on that here.)
However, this is where things can quickly become confusing. It’s important to know the difference in sizing conventions because a size 7 needle isn’t the same as a metric 7 mm. To further confuse the matter, there is an increasing presence of British and European sizing systems where it’s completely reversed and you’ll find smaller numbers will correspond with bigger knitting needles.
Yeah, I didn’t think that was a good idea to introduce either!
Fortunately, patterns and project designs will almost always tell you the gauge of needle you need for it. Following this sort of guidance will almost always result in the correct needle size you’re looking for when it comes to knitting a hat.
Similarly, the yarn you’re looking to use will almost always list the correct needle size. This simplifies matters quite a bit and you can rest assured that you’re making the right choice by choosing to stick with the manufacturer’s suggestion.
Choosing The Right Needle For Knitting A Hat
Choosing Needle Materials
Like other aspects of your project, you’ll find knitting needles made out of a variety of materials. It is usually best to choose a needle that is made out of bamboo or other woods.
Choosing bamboo ensures you’ll have a bit of drag on your yarn and stitches, which prevents accidental slippage when you’re trying to knit a rather precise pattern or design. Bamboo needles are also useful when switching between yarns as the greater majority of fibers will show similar levels of cooperation and malleability.
Metal and plastic needles are also common in the knitting world but aren’t all that wise when it comes to hats. They are quite slippery when compared to wooden needles, which is more useful for quick stitch projects like sweaters and blankets.
However, they’re not all that useful for hats when trying to stitch towards the crown of the hat when precision plays a key role in the end result.
Circular needles are also a wiser choice compared to straight needles. The versatility of a circular needle means knitters can design just about anything: flat items, circumferential items like hats, and round items.
Circular needles that are at least 36” in length will prove themselves the most versatile option for knitting hats and most other garments, so is an excellent starting point when it comes to choosing the right knitting needle for your hat project.
Hat patterns will usually call for sportweight yarns. These aren’t particularly thin so very fine sock needles won’t be useful for handling a thicker yarn. However, they’re not the densest of materials either
. A knitting needle size selection between 3 and 9 will be the best result for any hat.
Needles sized between 7 and 9 are common beginner knitting needles and handle a good variety of common yarns like cotton and wool, so do make excellent choices for knitters who are just starting out in the hobby and looking for their first needle set. Smaller numbers won’t hinder yarn selection significantly, but require more nimble fingers.
Beginners may find handling needles between 3 and 5 in particular will cause their hands to cramp quickly. Choosing a size is therefore ultimately down to personal preference and experience levels.
So, what needles should you be adding to your hobby kit for knitting hats? These are the best choices available today:
Best Needles For Knitting Hats
|1.||ChiaoGoo Circular Needle||Bamboo, strong and sturdy, lightweight|
|2.||Takumi Needles by Clover||Bamboo and metal, angled|
|3.||HiyaHiya Circular Needles||Smooth metal, lifetime warranty|
|4.||Knitter's Pride Basix||Birch wood, affordable price|
|5.||U-nitt Double Point Bamboo Knitting Needles||Year warranty, bamboo, durable|
1. ChiaoGoo Circular Needle
One of the most hotly rated manufacturer of knitting needles on Amazon at the moment is ChiaGoo and their circular needles are no exception to this rule. They are made from Moso bamboo that’s native to China, so the ChiaGoo circular needle is one of the sturdiest and strongest needles on the market today.
However, this isn’t at a cost of weight as many reviews report it is a lightweight and robust knitting needle that’s a true joy to use.
Each ChiaGoo needle is handmade by skilled craftsmen in China prior to distributing to a central point in the United States. It also comes with a manufacturer claim that each needle is made to strict environmentally friendly processes and are 100% recyclable where facilities exist.
Most users report that yarn doesn’t snag when using the cord at the top of the needle, which is something you’ll find essential for hats as you’re knitting the circumference.
This usually frustrating task will become a thing of the past when choosing this needle as your top pick.
2. Takumi Needles by Clover
Takumi needles have a novel angled design that is just starting to become more common in today’s knitting world.
However, the angled design is exactly what makes them suitable for hats. Stitches that go towards the crown of the hat will often call for circular DPN knitting needles, which are sometimes loathed among enthusiasts.
However, the design of Takumi needles allows knitters to continue their pattern without having to stop and switch needles as they reach this difficult point in the pattern. It’s convenience at its peak!
Takumi needles benefit from manufacturing processes that include the use of Chinese bamboo and metal castings for a non-stick finish.
This can result in a bit of a more slippery experience when compared to ChiaGoo needles, but skilled knitters will find the speed and accuracy that they’re able to gain from these needles is a very welcome experience.
3. HiyaHiya Circular Needles
HiyaHiya is one of the more well-known brands of knitting needles on the market today. Offering a variety of builds, designs, and sizes, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to find the perfect needle for your project made by this brand.
When it comes to hats, these circular needles are hard to beat thanks to the very smooth metal tips similar to the Takumi needle that makes angled areas far easier and speedier.
HiyaHiya needles are one of the very few knitting needles on the market that offer a lifetime warranty, too.
This warranty protects owners against manufacturing defects and sometimes extends to accidental damage under use if owners can prove genuine accidents while knitting as opposed to intentional damage or misuse.
Those seeking a lifetime buy-once tool option will likely find HiyaHiya needles to be the best choice.
4. Knitter’s Pride Basix
The Basix needle range is the entry-level circular needle from Knitter’s Pride. It is made of a dense birch wood that is quite cost-effective against bamboo, which makes it a good option for those seeking the best value for money without sacrificing on the overall build quality.
Knitter’s Pride is a renowned brand with excellent user reviews and a history of customer satisfaction.
As you can plainly see, build quality plays a pivotal role in choosing the right knitting needles for your hat. There is no justifiable reason to choose a “best value” needle from the local hobby shop that’s only available because of its low price tag.
You’ll end up needing to buy new needles anyway, so these are the perfect ones that deliver high quality at an affordable price.
5. U-nitt Double Point Bamboo Knitting Needles
At the more expert-level of knitting needles are U-nitt double pointed needles.
While these are classified as a circular needle, they’re strikingly similar to straight needles and this will require more traditional handling when compared to the very forgiving nature of most circular needles.
This is especially true towards the more delicate and intricate parts of hats where circular needles are far superior options.
This brand is backed by a one year warranty against breakage, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll find the needle breaking thanks to the very durable Moso bamboo construction.
Many users have commented on the fine construction of the knitting needles while reviewing the product, but have also made references to the very sharp points on the ends of each needle. This is quite beneficial for knitters, but it’s important to handle these knitting needles with care. These needles can break skin quite easily!
Choosing the right needle is as simple as narrowing down your choices to the high-quality options above. You’ll find each of these needles is durable and up to the task, but is designed just differently enough to find the level of precision that your unique hands and skills require.
From there it’s just a matter of knitting the hat that’s waiting to be made!