What do knitting needle sizes mean?
How to measure knitting needle size
Most new needles have the size printed somewhere on the end or side of the needle, but what about those hand-me-down or charity shop pins where the number was rubbed off years ago, if it ever existed in the first place? To determine the size of these mystery needles, you need a knitting needle gauge.
These handy tools are an essential part of any knitting starter kit, and many also offer other functions such as enabling you to measure knitting tension squares or even cut your yarn. They are made from sturdy wood, plastic or sometimes metal, and feature a collection of holes, from small to large, each with a number next to it. All you need to do is push the point of your mystery needle through each hole in turn, until you find the one where it fits perfectly. Then read off the number next to the hole and this will tell you the knitting needle size – easy!
Knitting needle gauge: 3 to buy
Pony Knitting Gauge
We love how many tools Pony have crammed into this clever needle gauge! As well as measuring needle sizes from 2-10mm it also has a ruler, and a blade for cutting yarn. There’s a separate version for measuring larger needle sizes too.
Knit Pro Needle View Sizer
This little gadget measures needles from 2-12mm, and also comes with a ruler in both centimetres and inches. There’s a clear window in the ruler that enables you to measure your knitting gauge – handy when swatching for a new project.
Cat Needle Gauge
A must for cat lovers, this cute gauge from Under the Olive Tree Knits measures needles from 2mm to 12mm in size. It’s made from plywood and varnished for a natural finish. Stash it in your project bag to measure needles on the go.
Knitting needle conversion chart
These are the most common needle sizes you’ll see, but if you’re in doubt about your needle size always check it using a needle gauge.
Knitting needle conversion chart printable
Here’s a handy version of the conversion chart for you to save and print:
More knitting tips
Take a look at our how to knit section for more knitting advice and inspiration. Find out how to choose the right knitting needles for your project and learn all about knitting tension squares to get accurate results. Plus see our knitting abbreviations for all those hard-to-remember knitting terms, and how to cast on knitting for all you need to know about this crucial technique!