Rather than just lecture on needles, i.e. knitting needles (not the other kind), I am doing an FAQ and try to answer some of my own frequent asked questions.
What types of needles are there?
For kntting we use straight needles generally for a pattern that will go back and forth and perhaps have a seam in it. Also many people use them for small projects. They look like this:
Then there are the double pointed which are usually used in sock making and sometimes in mitten making. These have point on each end like these:
An finally my favorite, circular needles. These needles are attached by a wire
and are used for patterns that would work best without a seam break. Also I, like many people, do all my projects on them which saves losing a needle as you all know I would. Here they are:
What materials are needles made of?
Needles always used to be sort of an aluminum in the past and then wooden needles and plastic needles became popular. Plastic tend to lose shape over time. Wood are best for airplane travel, they never beep for me. I use the harmony wood interchangeable circulars from Knit Picks.
What about needle size?
Needles in the US are sized from 0 right up to 19 and in Europe and the UK are sized in mm and there is a conversion chart on the web. Needles are sized differently to be compatible with different types of yarn and to achieve a certain gauge of stitch in the pattern. Oftentimes you don't use the size suggested in the pattern because you need a larger or smaller size to achieve the all important gauge of the pattern.
This has been a little dry and there is more say about needles, so look for it in the upcoming Z to A blog challenge.