Beginner’s guide : material choice of knitting needles

Christelle ABC's knitting, Resources Leave a Comment

You have decided to get into knitting and now is the time to buy knitting needles.

You are confronted with the terms: circular needles, straight needles, double-pointed needles but also with the different materials available on the market!

So how to find the right material and the right needles for you?

In two articles, I’ll help you unravel the knitting jargon and help you find your way around!

Knitting Needles - material

Metal, bamboo, wood … the composition of knitting needles

If you thought that only the size of the needles mattered, you’ll soon realize you’re wrong!

The material used to make knitting needles will have a real impact on the way you knit. It has been proven, with swatches to prove it, that an experienced knitter can have a different gauge when using metal needles or wooden needles!

I’ll even tell you that depending on the needles finish, you can have a different gauge and look! So a wooden knitting needles of Brand x won’t necessarily be the equivalent of a wooden knitting needles of Brand y.

Let’s start with the material I prefer: metal.

1. Metal knitting needles
Interchangeable knitting needles kit – Chiaogoo


  • they are smoother so they allow to knit faster
  • they are solid (don’t ask me how I know)
  • they can be cheaper than wood (which is not always the case because personally, I use Signature which are metal needles from aircraft industry. And the price is about 40 euros per pair – if you are lucky enough to avoid customs because they are produced in the USA).


  • they are cold to the touch
  • they are noisy (they can drive people crazy cause of their clicking noise)
  • they are not flexible

In addition to these advantages and disadvantages, you will find different finishes on metal needles. Some finishes are matte and tend to stick. Others have a glossy finish. Some may have a nickel finish (this is the case with some metal Addi’s).

You will have understood it, I like the metal needles because they are smoother than wood and it allows me to have a more fluid knitting but also because they don’t break easily! I don’t count the number of times I’ve sat on my needles and when it’s wood, it breaks!

2. Bamboo knitting needles
Fixed circular needles Tulip Knina


  • they are sharper than wooden needles (but not as sharp as metal needles)
  • they are lightweight
  • they don’t make noise
  • they are warm to the touch
  • they are cheaper than wood knitting needles


  • they are fragile
  • they have a grip on the yarn
  • they aren’t sharp enough

I would say that bamboo is what I prefer after metal needles.

Especially for silk laceweight yarn. Because stitches slip easily from metal needles and it is easier to manage the tension when knitting a very fine silk with bamboo than with metal. But all this is obviously only a matter of point of view.

On the other hand, I don’t like them at all to pick up stitches or for yarns that tend to catch because they aren’t smooth enough and aren’t sharp enough.

I discovered Tulip Knina knitting needles two years ago at the H+H trade fair in Köln and I must admit that I was seduced by the finish. The cable turn on itself, they glide well for bamboo needles, they are sharp (but not sharp enough for me – I had made a review to the brand to point out that they could be a bit sharper). So for me, it’s a good alternative to metal needles for those who are metal fans, too bad they’re so hard to find.

On the other hand, a peck of my green check conure and good bye the bamboo needles tip.

As no question of forgetting them in the couch

3. Wood knitting needles

Symfonie Interchangeable Knittng Needles Kit – Knit Pro


  • they are warm to the touch
  • they are lightweight
  • they aren’t noisy
  • they are prettier than bamboo


  • they are fragile
  • they have a grip on the yarn
  • they aren’t sharp enough
  • they are more expensive than bamboo (again, it depends on the finish and the brand)

The characteristics of bamboo and wood are relatively identical. But I would say that the wooden needles are slightly heavier.

They are just as fragile as bamboo needles so they will not survive a parrot’s beak, sitting on them or even sometimes falling to the ground with the tip first.

When I started knitting again, I invested in the Knit Pro Symfonie kit and they were my favorites for a long time before I switched to metals with Hiya Hiya.

I gave them up because I didn’t think they were slippery enough, but what mostly made me give up those needles was the fact that the cable didn’t turn on itself!

4. Plastic knitting needles


  • they are lightweight
  • they are cheap


  • they don’t slip, it is a real penitence to slide your stitches on these needles.
  • they are sticky
  • they make an unpleasant noise
  • they break easily

You will have understood it, I don’t like plastic needles at all, they have all the possible and imaginable inconveniences.

And frankly, if you want a good knitting experience and you don’t have a lot of money, it’s better to buy a cheap pair of metal or wooden needles rather than plastic ones!

That’s it for today, I hope that these few infos have already helped you to clarify some things and to orient you towards this or that subject.

But of course that’s not all, next week I will help you to distinguish the difference between straight, circular, double-pointed needles etc.

If you want to know a little more, I share my knowledge in the YouTube video below (in French)

If you want to share this article with other people, don’t hesitate to relay it via social networks (just click on the buttons here below).

See you next week,


Leave a Reply