Cast on with the best knitting needles for beginners
It's important to have the right tools when you're learning to knit. We explain which needles are best for beginners, and why.
So you want to learn to knit? Then you need some needles! In this guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know about choosing the best knitting needles for beginners.
We'll cover the different types of needles that are available, look at their advantages and disadvantages, and pick some of our favourites for you to try.
In our guide you'll find:
- 6 of the best knitting needles for beginners
- The best size knitting needles for beginners
- What makes a good knitting needle for beginners?
The best knitting needles for beginners
There's no "one size fits all" with knitting needles – you may have to try a few before you find the best ones for you.
Below we've chosen a range of our favourite beginner needles so you can pick up a selection and decide which ones you prefer.
1. Pony Children's Knitting Needles
Best for little knitters and colour coding your pins
These needles are perfect for introducing kids to the art of knitting. But don't be put off if you're a bit older than that – these needles are suitable for adults too, and they're especially good for beginners!
They're made from lightweight plastic and measure 4mm diameter, so they're best for working with DK yarn.
The needles are different colours to help you remember which one is which – and who can resist those cute cat faces?
2. Clover Takumi bamboo needles
Best for grippy stitches
Clover's beautiful Takumi needles are a great choice for new knitters – and you may find they remain an essential in your toolkit far beyond those initial stitches.
Warm, lightweight and a joy to handle, these 23cm pins come in a wide range of sizes from 2mm to 10mm. There's also a 33cm version for all your larger projects.
If you find that these are the needles for you, make sure you look out for the circular and interchangeable options in the same range.
3. Addi Linos Children's Fixed Circular Needles
Best for circular knitting newbies
If you want to try circular needles, these children's ones from Addi are a great place to start. They have colour-coded tips to help you remember which hand to hold each needle in, and the tips are shorter than usual for easy handling.
These needles are 60cm long with 3.5mm tips, ideal for use with fingering or light DK weight yarn. Why not use them to knit a hat pattern?
The best size knitting needles for beginners
Knitting needles come in all different diameters, from tiny 1mm pins to 25mm broomsticks and beyond!
The best size knitting needles for beginners are small but not too small. We'd recommend 4mm, 5mm or 6mm needles paired with DK, worsted or aran yarn respectively (see our yarn weight guide for what these terms mean) as a good starting point.
Don't forget to check the length of the needles too. Shorter straight needles tend to be better for learners as they're compact (less likely to poke you in the ribs!) and easier to handle. Look for 25cm needles, or seek out children's needles, which can be even shorter.
Note that you always want your needles to be at least a few centimetres longer than your project, so you have plenty of space for all your stitches.
Check out our guide to knitting needle sizes for more on common needle sizes and how to measure them.
4. KnitPro Trendz Single Point Needles
Best budget all-rounder
KnitPro's Trendz needles are made from smooth acrylic that offers a great middle ground between the slipperiness of metal and the grip of bamboo.
These eye-catching needles are colour-coded, so you can see which pair you're using at a glance, and they're inexpensive too – perfect when you want to experiment with a variety of yarn weights.
5. Deramores Single Point Metal Needles
Best for tight or speedy knitters
Made from durable aluminium, Deramores' single-point needles are 25cm long and available in sizes ranging from 2mm to 10mm.
If you find you work at a tight tension and have trouble moving your stitches along grippier wooden or plastic needles, give these sleek metal ones a try.
6. KnitPro Karbonz
Best for more experienced beginners
So you've tried a few budget options and decided that knitting is definitely the craft for you. Perhaps it's time to upgrade your needles?
For anyone who likes the sound of carbon needles, KnitPro Karbonz are the ones to buy.
These brass-tipped pins are super strong (so no worries about bending or breaking) but lightweight and warm too. Find them in sizes from 2mm to 6mm and a handy 25cm length.
Tip top tools
Take your hobby to the next level by investing in a set of the best interchangeable knitting needles.
What makes a good knitting needle for beginners?
You may have already checked out our guide to the best knitting needles, but needles that are recommended for more established knitters aren't always ideal for beginners. In this section we'll explain why.
The best knitting needle style for beginners
When you first start knitting you'll be learning how to work back and forth in rows – otherwise known as 'flat' knitting. As you progress, you may move on to knitting 'in the round', making tubes of knitting for socks, sleeves and more. You'll use different needles for each technique.
Here are the three main types of needles you'll see:
1. Single-pointed needles
These have a point at one end and a head at the other, to stop the stitches falling off.
Use for: knitting flat.
2. Double-pointed needles
These have two points and no head, so it's easy to slip stitches off either end – great when you're working in the round, not so great if you're working flat!
Use for: knitting in the round.
3. Circular needles
Circular needles have two needle tips, joined by a cable. They can be used for flat and in-the-round knitting, and many knitters love them for their versatility.
Use for: knitting flat and in the round.
Working out which side of your project is which on circular needles can be tricky for a beginner, so we'd advise sticking with straight needles at first.
Look out for straight needles with different coloured heads that show you which hand to hold them in (alternatively, consider sliding a stitch marker onto one of the needles, or marking one with a knot of yarn, so you can tell them apart).
What’s the best knitting needle material for beginners?
There are four main types of knitting needles: wood, metal, plastic and carbon. They all have unique properties that can affect how you knit, and you may find you prefer different materials for different projects.
Wooden needles are warm, light and (depending on the wood) inexpensive. They have more grip than other needle types, so your stitches are less likely to slip off the end. These qualities combined make them really good for beginners.
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On the downside, they don't have the durability of other materials and are more easily broken or splintered.
Smooth, sleek metal needles are a popular choice for knitters who want to knit fast. Their slipperiness can be a problem for beginners, though – it's easy to drop your stitches when they move along the needle so quickly.
Some metal needles come with extra-sharp tips, which is handy for lace knitting or if you work at a particularly tight knitting gauge.
For some knitters these are the best of both worlds: plastic needles are durable like metal and grippy like wood.
They also come in fancy colours and patterns, and can be very inexpensive. Plastic needles are light too, which makes them a good option for large, heavy projects.
Carbon needles are lightweight and durable, and feel warmer than metal in your hands.
Carbon offers good friction to keep your stitches moving steadily, and these needles often have metal tips to allow you to work quickly too. However, they do come at a price.
Once you've found your favourite needles, keep them organised with our guide to the best knitting bags.
Finding your best knitting needles
The truth is, there isn't one single perfect pair of knitting needles out there. Every knitter is different, and we all need different needles too! It's worth trying a range of styles, materials and sizes to see what suits you best.
And don't forget – your go-to knitting needles may change as your knitting improves and you take on a wider variety of projects. So why not spread the love and pass your outgrown beginner needles on to another newbie?
Get ready to cast on
Now you've got some needles, you need some yarn. We recommend that beginners start with a smooth DK weight option, such as one of our favourite merino wool yarns.
As well as spending her working life thinking about yarn, Sarah designs knitting patterns in her spare time, too!
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