As a knitting instructor, I get this question all the time. There’s no single answer to this question, rather, it triggers a barrage of questions of my own:
Are you a loose knitter or a tight knitter?
- A loose knitter may be better off with bamboo or plastic – something with a bit of friction
- A tight knitter may prefer metal, to allow his or her stitches to slide more easily
What kind of yarn are you using?
- If you use a slippery yarn, like silk, you may be happier with a “grippy” needle.
- If you use a grippy yarn, like wool, you may be happier with a slick needle.
What are you making?
- I nearly always recommend circular needles to people knitting anything wider than a scarf (or hats, socks, gloves, you get the picture).
What have you used before? Did you like them?
- If you learned with 14” long metal needles and were comfortable with them, by all means, keep using them, unless you really want to try something else.
- There’s no reason for a beginner to buy needles in a range of materials, unless you really want to. It’s more important to spend your knitting money on yarn and on the correct size of needle
- Inevitably, if you keep knitting, you’ll have all the needles. Trust me.