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Ask the Expert: Wooden Needles

January 9, 2012

Our last Ask the Expert I didn't have time to answer a question on wooden needles and I promised to touch on it next time. Well, I decided to dedicate a whole posting to wooden needles since the types of wooden needles are vast and varying. I recommend wooden needles for every level of knitting. If you are a beginner or just getting started wooden needles are a smart "first needle" purchase because they will last your whole knitting career. Wooden needles are great for beginners because they are forgiving. They are smooth but slick like metal needles. This means they will slighty grip the yarn which will be helpful for a beginner. Most beginning kits provide metal needles which is like teaching someone to drive in a Porsche; metal is just too slick for a beginner. Wooden needles have benefits for intermediate and advanced knitters as well. Since intermediate knitters are looking to branch out and try new technique the soft and smooth characteristics will help prevent fatigue and will keep your yarn where you need it, when you need it. Advance users will appreciate that there are no allergies associated with wood. Wooden needles also vary in strength, durability and flexibility which makes it easy for an advanced knitter to find just the right wood for their preference. Below is a list of common wood types for knitting needles and their attributes. Some knitters might even prefer one wood to another based on the aesthetics of the grain alone.

Rosewood- Strong and sturdy better for small gauges, beautiful grain

Birch- tight grain and flexible

Ebony- Hard and durable

Blonde- Strong and warm

Coconut- Very strong (great for those who knit tight)

Surina- Very hard but very light

You could also include bamboo needles in this article because the attributes of bamboo in a knitting needle is so similar to wood: it is light and strong but the most flexible of "wooden" needles. Bamboo is also less expensive than wood so it makes the best beginner needle. Bamboo is a great choice for an eco-conscience person because bamboo is a grass, it grows back very quickly and the environmental impact of its harvest is minimal.  

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This page contains a single entry by published on January 9, 2012 9:34 PM.

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