Knitting needles and crochet
hooks are as varied as the crafters who utilize them. There is no
right or wrong when you select a one. Needles and hooks have
specific attributes based on the material they are made from and
the manufacturers specifications. Only you can decide what type of
needle or hook you like best and you may find that, depending upon
the yarn you are using, you'll reach for a different type than you
used for your last project. If you can afford it, buy several
different types so that you can experiment and find your favorite.
Some needles have very blunt tips while others have sharper tips.
Some hooks have rounded heads and others have pointier heads. The
shank (the smaller part of the needle or hook prior to where the
sized portion begins) varies in length. You may never find these
factors of much importance, or you may find it’s the difference
between a tool that allows you to work swiftly and one that just
seems to hang you up. Tip:
If you find your yarn to be "splitty" with a hook or needles that
have sharper tips, try tools with more blunt tips.
These tools are made in a
wide variety of materials. You'll find them available in plastic,
aluminum, bamboo, rosewood, ebony, and much more. When selecting the tools for a
project, you should consider three factors based on materials: weight,
temperature, and how slippery they are.
Plastic and bamboo is lighter while aluminum is heavier. This is
more of a factor in knitting than crocheting because you have two
needles you are using and they are longer than hooks. You might
prefer aluminum overall, and if you are knitting something light
such as booties, the weight of the needles will probably be of
little or no consequence. However, with a larger project, you may
choose to use a different set of needles.
Bamboo and wood remain at a fairly constant temperature. They
will not feel cold to the touch on a cold winter night. Aluminum
conducts heat and cold so they might feel hot if you are knitting
in the sun or cold if it’s cool wherever you may be knitting.
Yarns can vary in terms of how "sticky" or "slippery"
they are. You may find your slippery yarn sliding right
off aluminum needles, which tend to be quite slick.
Bamboo, which has more grip, would be a better choice
here. On the other hand, if you are knitting with a yarn
that tends to stick, you might want to use a more slippery
needle. Tip: If
your needles or hook is too sticky and you don't have
others to select from, rub some wax paper over it and the
yarn will glide much easier.
In addition to the above, circular needles and some Tunisian
hooks (also called Afghan hooks) may pose yet another factor
to consider. The joins, where the needles or hook meet the
cable, are different depending upon the brand. Some may
catch the yarn while others are much smoother. Some swivel,
making the tool more flexible. One last tip: To straighten the cables, put
them in hot water for a minute. The kinks will come out of
Note: If you're finding that you're having trouble
achieving the gauge in a pattern and you're between hook or
needle sizes, try a hook/needles made of a different
material, as the "stickiness" or "slipperiness" may affect
how tightly or loosely you knit or crochet. Remember, an
accurate gauge is the key to getting an accurately sized