A Guide to Different Knitting Needles

I for one, have a ridiculous number of knitting needles in my collection. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

The thing is, whenever I’m embarking on a project, I always seek out a specific pair before I begin. I do it without even thinking about it.

Recently, I’ve got to wondering why that is. Well, needles come in a variety of different materials and they are indeed all suited to different projects. I’ve just picked this up from experience, but it makes sense that I explain to you what is what when it comes to needle selection.


Bamboo and Birch are very porous, which makes them light and perfect for use in the summer because they breathe. There’s nothing worse than sweaty hands while you’re knitting in hot weather. Bleugh.

The lightly textured surface lends itself well to holding slippery fibres in place and prevents any unsightly tension issues. As a result, bamboos are great for slinky fibres like silk and mercerised cotton. They do have a habit of tightening your tension a little, which is fine if it’s intentional, but I’d watch for it to avoid any annoying surprises.

And for gawd sake, don’t sit on them, as the thin ones will definitely snap!


Metal needles are probably my least favourite. They’re slippery, cold to the touch, noisy (my fella can’t stand the noise when we’re watching the telly) and they’re usually a dull and uninspiring grey. They can also be quite heavy, compared to their lightweight bamboo and plastic counterparts.

Saying that though, there are some great colourful versions available now, which look amazing, but I do find that the colourful finish has a habit of chipping away over time. So save them for the special projects if you’re a fan.


Definitely my favourite, these can be incredibly difficult to find.

Having grown up buying knitting needles with my pocket money, the charity shop remains king in the search for vibrant synthetic pins. With a surface that is smooth, but not quite as slippery as their metal counterparts, plastic needles knit with a whispery quietness and keep your tension behaving at the same time.

Instagram friendly, coloured needles are always fun for a project and if you’re really clever about it, you can pick a high-contrast shade to the yarn you’re using for ease of visibility. Yeah!