Pins and Needles.

Help choosing knitting needles.
There are many different kinds of needles on the market, from plain plastic needles to metal, glass, bamboo, wooden  and many other materials. There are straight needles and circular needles, double-pointed needles, cable needles, all of this can be pretty confusing to a beginner. How do you know what needle is right for you? It’s best  to experiment and descover your personal prefence. Different knitters like different needles for different reasons.
 Many knitters love bamboo or wooden needles because of their warmth, the natural feel in the hands, and the comforting but quiet clicking sound they make. They have a little more give and are also good for knitting slick yarns because the needles have a bit of friction, which can help keep the stitches from sliding off the needles especially if your using double pointed needles. Wood is a great choice for beginners  for the same reason but, be aware of cheap wooden needles as they can be rough!
Metal needles are heavy, sturdy and hard to break and are traditionally made from aluminium with a pearl grey finish and are sometimes nickel plated. Their slickness makes for quick knitting, but can also make it easy to slide your work right off the needles. Metal needles are also cold, so they’re not great for knitting in the winter. The metallic clicking of these needles can also be annoying  especially to your partner or family if you like knitting while watching  tv with them.
Plastic needles are similar to wooden or bamboo needles in terms of lightness and smoothness, but they lack warmth. They’re also very smooth like metal needles so they allow you to knit quickly and are more flexible than other needles. Larger size needles are often made from plastic to reduce their weight.
There are three basic types of knitting needle which each have a different function.
1.       Single point knitting needles are used in pairs to knit flat pieces. Straight and rigid, they are considered the standard needles.
2.       Double point needles have points at both ends and are used in sets of four. They knit seamless, circular items such as hats, socks, gloves etc.
3.       Circular needles are two straight needles connected with a flexible plastic cord. They are used to knit round, seamless garments like dresses or sweaters with a yoke and can also be used as straight needles  for large items such as afgans. They come in a range of interchangeable sizes, materials and bright colours. It’s worth investing a little as the more expensive types have really flexible inter-connecting cables so you’re not constantly wrestlingwith a rigid tangle of plastic and yarn!
      In addition there are also Cable needles which are usually made of metal, plastic or wood. They can be straight, have a bend in the middle or be what’s called a U-shape, which is really more like a J shape. Cable needles also come in different thicknesses to work with different weights of yarn and are short approx  4inches long. 
     There are also Square needles which are a fairly recent innovation and as the name suggests they have straight as opposed to rounded sides which you might find easier to grip. They’re available as straight needlesand square circulars.             
 If you are new to knitting first, go needle shopping with a project in mind. The pattern you choose to knit will say what sized needle was used to complete the project. That’s the size needle you should go looking for.  When you’re a more experienced knitter just looking to build up your supplies, you can buy needles with no particular project in mind, but when you’re first starting out, it’s best to buy only the needles you need.
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