Knitting Needles and Accessories

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,503
    Knitting expert Toni Lipe demonstrates how to knit a gauge swatch, including some advice on knitting needles and accessories.

    Toni Lipe: Hi! I am Toni Lipe of Toni's Design Studio. Right now, we are going to talk about all of the available knitting needles that are on the market. There is such a wide variety, some needles are better for projects than the others and mostly it's personal taste. I enjoy collecting knitting needles, so I have a wide variety. First we are going to talk about the single point needles. Now, your knitting needles are your primary tool in your knitting projects. Your yarns change, your knitting needles pretty much stay the same except you might use that made of different materials, different lengths. Your basic knitting needles are made of either wood, bamboo, plastic, aluminum, some are even covered with nickel; they are nickel plated. These beautiful ones are made up of rosewood; these were aluminum; these are very inexpensive glittery plastic; these are bamboo and these are bamboo and these are some that just have pretty decorative tops that I just like.

    Different knitting needles are good for different projects. They come in a huge variety of sizes. We have very, very thin ones and then we have these huge thick needles that are wonderful for knitting big bulky fluffy scarves and they are also ten inches long, so that you don't have to worry about the extra width. These single point needles usually come in 10 inches or 14 inches. It's a personal preference. I started out with 14 inch needles and decided that there are a little bit too long and I was starting to put people with them. So, I generally use 10 inch knitting needles now, but some people like to put the knitting needle under their arm for knitting, for casting on for knitting with color. I even have a pair of knitting needles that I can use in a movie theater when it starts. The tips light up and they are just kind of a novelty item for me.

    Alright, so you have your basic needles in different materials. Knitting with fluffy fabrics is sometimes easier to knit with aluminum or a nickel plated needle. Some people think that you can knit faster with the nickel plated needle. On some yarns that are slippery, it's better to use the wood or the bamboo because it doesn't slide off the needles quite so easily, but like I said, it's a personal preference if you want to use wood all the time, you do what makes you comfortable and feels good to your hands. A lot of people don't like to knit with aluminum or plastic, because it doesn't feel warm in their hands and it hurts. So sometimes the bamboo does have a warmer feel or warmer hand to it.

    Now, those were our single point needles. We also have circular needles and circular needles are among my favorite. They also come in the same materials. They have cables connected to them. There is a tip at each end and a cable, very flexible cable in the middle. They come in all the sizes from very, very small to very, very large and are wonderful for knitting garments in the round. There is no seaming, which is wonderful and when you knit in the round, you can just knit all the way around and get your stockinette stitch with never having to purl. So these circular needles are also very, very good for large projects such as afghans because there is much more long cable to rest all of their stitches on and then they don't fall off the single point stitches. I use cable needles for a flat knitting as well. If you are traveling, it's nice to have the cable needles because if for some reason they should slip out of your knitting they won't fall to the ground if they are connected to the other. With the single point needles, if one falls you have to go find it. The cables kind of ensure that they are going to stay together all the time, which is comforting on an airplane.

    Another type of knitting needles is the double point knitting needles. They come in a variety of sizes and usually come in sets of four or five. These are larger ones. These are made out of a plastic material and are just a tiny bit flexible, which is nice. These knitting needles are made out of bamboo. They come in six inch, eight inch and some even in smaller as four or five inches. The double point needles are called that because they do have a point on each end, not connected to anything and they are wonderful for working small, small projects and the round, such as a sock. This is the top of a sock that I am working on and you divide the stitches among the needles and then just keep knitting around and around. It's not as hard as it looks and it's a lot of fun. Double point needles are also used sometimes for cuffs on sweaters. They are used for hats, anything that you wouldn't want a seam in. So, these are another group of my favorite knitting needles. So we have our single point needles, our cable needles and our double point needles. We have nickel plated, bamboo, aluminum, plastic, take your pick; let's just knit. Now, we are going to discuss yarn weights and how to choose yarn for your next project.