It's the "Paper or Plastic?" question of the knitting world and can prove equally divisive! And as with all things yarn related, it really depends on personal preference as much as anything...
Wooden needles are where most people start and what we recommend for our Learn To Knit class. The advantage is that wood tends to be less slippery for newer knitters and therefore can be less frustrating to learn on. It's also often the go-to material for those that work with double-pointed needles for the same reason- you are less likely to have stitches slip off the ends. What's the downside? For those that want speed, they can be frustrating. And for those double-pointed needle fans, when you get to the smaller needle sizes they are sadly snappable.We carry the following wood needles:
- Hiya Hiya Bamboo needles in both circular, double pointed, and interchangeable tips
- Addi FlexiFlips
- Clover Bamboo straight needles
- Knitter's Pride Basix straight, circular and double pointed in larger sizes
- Knitter's Pride Cubics in circular and double pointed
- Knitter's Pride Interchangeable Dreamz tips
- Brittany Birch straight needles
As you may have guessed, most people like metal needles for their speed. They are also more durable at smaller diameters than wooden needles. You often have an extra choice of whether or not you want a sharp tip on a metal needle. This, again, is pure preference. Some of us like a sharp tip for complicated stitches or multiple-stitch decreases because it is easier to pick the yarn with a sharper tip. However! If you are the type of person that pushes down on the tip of your needle regularly, you will get poked. A lot.We carry the following metal needles:
- Circular needles in both regular, Turbo, and sharp, Rocket,
- Interchangeable tips in Rocket Long and Turbo Short
- Hiya Hiya
- Circular needles in regular and sharp tips and
- Double pointed in regular and sharp tips
- Interchangeable tips in both regular and sharp
There are also plastic and carbon fiber needles out there, too! We recently started carrying the Knitter's Pride Kabonz needles in both circular and double-pointed and wrote about them here.
The project sometimes can decide for you. Super slippery silk yarn may be less frustrating to work with if you have wooden needles. Extremely small needles sizes may require metal if you keep breaking them. And ultimately, try them all!
If you're local to Portland, you are welcome to test drive all of our needles in the store before you buy them. As long as you have the yarn and the time, the couch is always available for you to sit and swatch to make sure you have the right set of needles. Needles are not returnable - once they leave the store they are yours to love forever...