Choosing Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks


Jumpers, scarves, blankets or mittens - with the right tools you can turn yarn into almost anything!

Knitting Needles

When choosing your knitting needles, make sure you know what size and type will work for your yarn, your pattern, and your personal taste.


Materials

Knitting needles can be made from a range of materials, each with their own merits.

  • Plastic needles are the most economical variety, so they're great for beginners who are trying knitting for the first time. Often colourful, and always found in the widest range of sizes, you can experiment with these needles as you try new ideas and techniques.
  • Metal needles, most often made of aluminium, are smooth and light, making the knitting process quicker for experienced knitters.
  • Wooden needles are generally more expensive than others, but they feel particularly nice in the hand, so prolific knitters often favour them. Yarn doesn't usually slide over them as easily as metal or plastic, so while progress might be slightly slower, you're less likely to drop stitches when using wooden needles.
  • Bamboo needles are a cheaper alternative to wooden ones, and have similar qualities.

Type

Different needle shapes lend themselves to different projects, and it's important to choose the right ones for the job.

  • Straight knitting needles have pointed tips, and stoppers on the ends to prevent stitches from slipping off. They vary in length, usually from 18 to 40cm, and the larger your project, the longer you will want them to be.
  • Circular needles are a pair of needles joined by a flexible cable. These allow for knitting 'in the round', but can also be used for regular knitting. They are good for holding all the stitches in a particularly wide project like a blanket. The cables can vary in length, so you can choose longer ones for larger projects.
  • Double pointed needles are also used for knitting in the round, but they're used when the project you are working on is too small for circular needles. As they don't have stoppers on their ends, many knitters like to use point protectors to ensure stitches don't slip off the ends of the needles.
  • Cable needles have bends in them, usually giving them a 'U' or 'J' shape, and are shorter than double pointed needles. They are used in conjunction with other needles in order to create cabled patterns.

Size

  • A knitting needle's size is determined by its diameter. Small needles create small stitches, and large needles create large ones.
  • In Australia, a needle's diameter is measured in millimetres, but U.S. and UK needles are assigned size numbers.

Shop Knitting Needles

Choosing The Right Needles & Hooks For Your Knitting Project
Using The Right Needles & Hooks To Match Your Yarn

Size in millimetres (AU)

U.K.

U.S. size

2

14

0

2 1/4

13

1

2 1/2

12

-

2 3/4

12

2

3

11

3

3 1/4

10

3

3 1/2

9

4

3 3/4

9

5

4

8

6

4 1/2

7

7

5

6

8

5 1/2

5

9

6

4

10

6 1/2

3

10 1/2

7

2

-

7 1/2

1

 

8

0

11

9

00

13

10

000

15

12

-

17

15

-

19

20

-

35

50

-

50


  • The ratio of yarn thickness to needle size will change the gauge of the knitted fabric you produce. For example, fine yarn knitted on large needles will produce a loose knit, and vice versa. When knitting a fitted garment, gauge will affect the finished measurements. It is recommended to knit a 'gauge swatch' before starting your project to ensure you have the right yarn/needle combination. Gauge measurements are provided in patterns and on most yarn.
  • Many knitting projects require a combination of needles. For example when knitting a hat, you may use circular needles for the wider portion, and switch to double pointed needles as you work towards the crown. Make sure you read the pattern carefully to ensure you have everything you need.
  • The pattern will indicate the type of needles and yarn required for a project.
  • Similarly, the packaging of most yarns will also suggest a needle size for use as a guide.
Different Knitting Needles For Your Projects

Crochet Hooks

Just like with knitting needles, there are several important variables to consider when choosing crochet hooks.


Materials

  • Crochet hooks come in the same range of materials as knitting needles, and have the same pros and cons.
  • Some crochet hooks have shafts made of one material, and handles made of another. For example the shaft and hook might be made of aluminium for ease and speed of working, while the handle is made of wood for greater comfort in the hand.

Hook shape

  • Some hooks have pointier ends than others. Sharper points make it easier to guide the hook through stitches.
  • The depth and sharpness of the crook of the hook will make a difference to how easily the yarn slips over the hook as you work. If you're working with slippery yarn like silk, it's a good idea to work with a sharper and deeper crook.
  • The shape of a crochet hooks handle will have an effect on how easy it is to work with. Most of the time this will come down to personal preference. Try holding a hook in your hand, or even having a little practise with it before you buy, so you can decide what feels best for you.
  • The length of the hooks shaft will determine how many stitches you are able to fit on it. If you're working a particularly large project, consider using a longer hook.

Shop Crochet Hooks

A Variety of Crochet Hooks For Your Projects

Size

  • Just as with knitting needles, the size of crochet hook required for a project will be indicated on the pattern. The packaging of most yarns will also suggest a hook size for use as a guide. Varying either yarn or hook size will result in a tighter or looser gauge in the fabric you produce.
  • In Australia, hook sizes are measured in millimeters, in the U.S. they are assigned a letter/number combination, and in the UK they are assigned a number.

Size in millimeters (AU)

U.K.

U.S.

2

14

0

2 1/4

13

B/1

2 3/4

12

C/2

3

11

C/2

3 1/4

10

D/3

3 1/2

-

E/4

3 3/4

9

F/5

4

8

G/6

4 1/2

7

US7

5

6

H/8

5 1/2

5

I/9

6

4

J/10

6 1/2

3

K/10 1/2

7

2

10 3/4

7 1/2

1

-

8

0

L/11

9

00

M/13

10

000

N/15

12

-

O/17

15

-

P/19

16

-

Q/19

19

-

S/35

25

-

50


As with so many arts and crafts, learning what you like can take time and experimentation. As you go you will most likely build a collection of hooks and needles that will become a fantastic set of tools for your growing yarn crafting skills.

Shop Our Great Range Of Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks


Still looking for craft & hobbies inspiration?

Check out Spotlight's range of Craft & Hobbies available online, visit your local store or contact one of our experts for assistance.


Shop Craft & Hobbies

altText

BECOME A SPOTLIGHT VIP

Get VIP discounts, attend exclusive events and more