Needle Size Question - Newbie Here


OK…I learned to knit about 15 years ago…did about 40 rows and never finished anything. Now, I’m pregnant with my first child and want to make a blanket…so I started up knitting again about 3 weeks ago.
So far it’s pretty successful…no problems remembering how to do it; almost like riding a bike. I’m using a basic pattern and circular (29", size 8, bamboo) needles - I really like the circular needles a lot.

I have an old pair of needles that are aluminum, size 8, 14"…I wanted to just do a small project on them to practice doing continental knitting (just for the variety since I am very comfortable with english style)…I’m finding that I HATE the length of the aluminum needles…Like I said, this is for nothing but practice… but for reference, does it matter what length needle I knit on? If/when I do other projects that call for different sizes can I use shorter needles? Maybe just continue using circular for projects and ditch the long needles? Is the length of the needle as important as the circumference (granting the project fits on the needles…)? Any info on needle length you can give me, etc would be great…

Thank you in advance!


Whether you knit with circular needles, straight needles or a combination of both is personal choice. I knit almost exclusively on circs even for flat projects, but some people actually prefer straights.

It doesn’t matter what the length is for practice, but you may find that your gauge changes when you switch. Always knit a gauge swatch with the needles you intend to use for the project. :thumbsup:

I can’t stand even the 10" straights anymore, I knit everything on circs. As for the length of the circs, a 29 or 32" is about the most versatile. They’re long enough to knit sweaters and most flat things like baby blankets, and you can knit hats or mitts with them using Magic Loop or a single loop. They’re also not a bad length for knitting smaller flat things on like scarves, not so much cord that it would get in the way. I also find 24"and 36" useful sizes too. 40" and longer have just too much cord unless you do ML a lot. You can still do a single loop with the shorter cords.

HI Newbie,
i also am i newbie here but not to the Art been coming to the site for 2 yrs buut just now joined the forum but i have a heads up you might be interested in with the straight and circlular needles it’s mostly for the stitchholding and ease of turn frequently as to why the long and shorts of it but when i have to do a project that i feel is easier to be done on straight i have a knit pick set and it has extra cables and end buttons and i biuld what my sons call mom’s " circular straights" so i can knit on a straight with the feel of a circular and you still have the ease if fast turning :woohoo: with baby and naps it will make for a wonderful start hugs to you and the new family

mama biker

I find that the 14" needles are difficult to use - they get weighed down by the project pretty easily. I can see how some people clamped one of those needles under an arm for support.

For small projects, I still like my straight needles (10" usually), and for big projects, I use circular needles.

We’ll save the great bamboo vs. metal debate for later. :wink:

Thank you ladies! :cheering: I get the knit picks catalogue b/c I bought my cousin some stuff from there a couple years ago…I just got their new one and saw the different needles and stuff - cool! Maybe I will go that way and get some more circulars as I continue to do more projects. I just really hate how huge the 14" needles are…very awkward…
So…bamboo vs aluminum? Love to hear this debate. So far I like my bamboo needles, though they do tend to hold onto the yarn that I am using and it’s a bit difficult to move my work to the ends at times…but being a beginner I think that is a better option then having my work constantly slip off…what about acrylic needles?
Opinions wanted! :stuck_out_tongue:


I’ve heard that KP’s acrylic Zephyrs are between the wood and metal ones as far as the ‘drag’. So you might want to try out a set of them to see how you like them. The tips are all interchangeable with the cords, so you can have some in acrylic and some with metal or wood.

Bamboo vs. metal - for me it all depends on the yarn. I like both of them. Treat yourself to a pair of Addi Turbos when you decide to try the metal ones.

I am on the circular side of the wagon, here. The straight needles cause far too much tension on my wrists to be comfortable. I have a few straights sitting around somewhere that I never use.

However, I will stress this, they are extemely good for learning, but once the basics are learned, toss them in favor of the circulars.

Another circular lover here. Even 10" needles put too much strain on my wrists. But I do have a few pairs of double points on 8" that I bought on vacation in Canada that I do use for flat knitting.

I think straight needles are easier for beginners. Cause they help with stitch tension. But once you have learned “how to knit”, then I’d switch to circulars.

I don’t think straights are all that great for learning on. I taught some basics to a coworker and she thought the circ I was using was cool and bought that for her first needle. Didn’t have any problem with them. I wanted to knit up a sample of a pattern last year and all I had empty were on straights. They were dang hard to use! I can see why new knitters have a big learning curve, having to juggle the needles along with learning stitches and hand movements and such. They’re far from ideal.