Learn about Knitting Needle Sizes! Whether you have been knitting for a while or you want to start knitting, understanding the basics of this craft will help you succeed. If you're newly stepping into the world of knitting, the number of options there are in the market may confuse you. There are so many different types of needles in the market that you need to know which ones will work best for what you want to create. There are not only different materials and types of knitting needles but also different sizes. Knitting needles are essentially the most important part of knitting and this guide is going to help you with all the questions you could ever have.
Knitting Needle Sizes
Understanding the different sizes of knitting needles in the market will help you pick the best one for your project. There is a measurement in knitting known as gauge which is how many stitches you can fit into an inch of knitting. The size of needles you use will affect the gauge of your project and depending on what you want from your finished product, you want to be careful of this measurement. One of the best ways to figure out if you have the perfect size for your project is to always do a test patch before committing.
US vs UK Sizing
Two types of sizes are widely accepted when it comes to knitting needles. There are the US sizes and the UK sizes. The American sizing system starts with low numbers for needles that have smaller diameters and goes up as the diameter goes up. With the British sizing, however, the smaller the diameter, the larger the number of the size. These differences can make it difficult for you to choose which needle you need if you only have a size number. There is one commonality between the two sizing charts - they have the same size for the 4.5 mm knitting needles.
Knitting Needle Guage Tools
A knitting needle gauge is a measuring tool that looks a little like a ruler with holes cut out in various sizes. You use the gauge by inserting the needle into the correct sized hole and reading the relevant measurement. These tools are useful for determining knitting needle sizes where there is nothing marked on the end of the needle.
Knitting Needle Sizes - Conversion Chart
While two different types of sizing can be difficult to wrap your head around, there is a conversion chart that you can refer to. This knitting needle sizes chart will help you compare the different size numbers between the two sizing styles and figure out what you need. This conversion chart uses the metric system to keep a common ground between the two sizing styles. With this chart, you can also see what kind of sizes you can get and if a needle size you need doesn't exist in your preferred sizing, you can always use the metric measurements.
|Metric Measurement||American Sizes||British Sizes|
|3 mm||Does Not Exist||11|
|3.5 mm||4||Does Not Exist|
|7 mm||Does Not Exist||2|
|7.5 mm||Does Not Exist||1|
|11 mm||17||Does Not Exist|
|19 mm||19||Does Not Exist|
|25 mm||20||Does Not Exist|
Types of Knitting Needles
There are many different types of knitting needles that you can find easily in the market. Some are made of different materials that can affect how easy it is for you to handle the yarn and make different stitches. There are also different levels of sharpness of the needle points which can help you with the type of stitches you may want to use. Understanding the different types of needles and what they can do for you is a great way to ensure the success of your next knitting project.
One of the most common types of needles you'll find in the market is straight needles. These are also the types of needles that you probably associate with knitting the most. These needles are made from all different materials such as wood, metal, plastic, and even poured resin or glass. Straight needles are the easiest to use as they are very beginner-friendly. These needles are best for small flat projects such as scarves, washcloths, afghan squares, and sweaters made by joining separate knitted pieces.
One of the most versatile types of knitting needles is circular needles. While these needles can be made from many various materials, they are usually made from metal. Circular needles are essentially two short pointed ends that are joined together by a plastic cord. The plastic cord can be permanently joined to the two shorter needles but can also be flexible in some needles. When you want to knit seamless sweaters or items that are rounder in shape, you should be using circular needles. You can knit hats, cowls, and even socks with these needles and you can also work on flat projects that are a bit on the larger side such as shawls and blankets.
Unlike other needles, double-pointed needles have points on both ends. These needles usually come in sets of four to six needles and are great to use for smaller projects that are more round-shaped. These needles are usually made from a whole host of different materials but the most common ones are made from metal. Some double-pointed needles have a flexible middle portion that allows for more maneuverability when you're knitting. Though not the most beginner-friendly, these needles can make your knitting experience a lot more fun with enough practice. You can make gloves, hats, and mittens from scratch with these needles or you can finish off a project started on circular needles.
Cable needles look a lot different than other knitting needles because they are shaped to resemble a hook. These needles are great for holding stitches when you are making knitted cables. Cable needles are a great thing to have when you’re trying to keep active stitches safe when moving around. These needles have a specific purpose which makes them great for every knitting project that you want to do. It will also always serve you well to have them in your knitting needle arsenal.
Another type of needle that does not have a specific use but will always serve you well when knitting is interchangeable needles. Even though these needles look like circular needles, they have one major difference that sets them apart. They have pieces that can be changed to different sizes and flexibilities. They come in a pack with all the variations of parts you could need. Interchangeable needles can also be used as straight needles and have a lot of versatile uses.
How to Match Knitting Needle Sizes to Yarn?
Just like there are variations in the sizes and types of knitting needles, there are a few options of yarn in the market for you to choose from. Knitting is not an exact science but matching compatible materials together can help you get the best chance of success from your knitting project. Knowing which types of yarn will work the best with the sizes of knitting needles you have is important.
One of the most important things that you need to know when choosing knitting needle sizes and yarn is gauge measurement. If you don't want to get into the numerical values, you can always you're your yarn around the needle you have and figure out if it will work for your project or not. The chart below will show you how to best pair your yarn and knitting needles together, including the gauge measurement.
Best Knitting Needle Sizes for Yarns
|Yarn Weight||Yarn Name||US Sizes||UK Sizes||Gauge Size|
|1 – 3 Ply||Lace, Light Fingerling||0 – 2||14 – 12||33-40|
|4 Ply||Fingering, Sock||1 – 3||13 – 10||27-32|
|5 Ply||Sport||2 – 4||12 – 9||23-26|
|8 Ply||Double Knit||3 – 6||10 – 8||21-24|
|10 Ply||Medium Worsted Yarn||6 – 8||8 – 6||16-20|
|12 Ply||Bulky, Chunky||8 – 11||6 – 0||12-25|
|14 Ply||Super Bulky, Super Chunky||11 – 17||0 – 000||6-11|
Knitting Needle Sizes – In Conclusion
Knitting will help you create something practical while having fun. You also get the satisfaction of making something by yourself, all from a few needles and some yarn. Knitting is something you can go back to when you have free time and if you master it, you can even make some beautiful gifts for your friends and family. With the different knitting needle sizes and the variations of yarn in the market, it will always serve you well to understand what your project needs and then invest in those materials only. Some needles are more beginner-friendly and some are more suited for novices in the world of knitting. No matter who you are, this guide is perfect to help you figure out knitting needles sizes, types of different needles, and which yarn will work the best with the needles you end up choosing.