Many beginner knitters find sock knitting to be a daunting task. One sticking point for them is selecting which needle to use. It seems like there are hundreds of potential choices for each project!
But the reality is, the choice of which needles to use for that sock, hat, sweater, scarf, or whatever knitting project you’re working on, depends on what you are comfortable using. Unfortunately, you’ll probably have to try out a few if you’ve never done this before. But don’t worry!
Below, we review some solid choices to help you get started with sock knitting. Further on, we go over the factors you should consider when selecting the best sock knitting needles in case you want to do some research on your own.
- 1 Best Sock Knitting Needles Review
- 2 What are the Best Sock Knitting Needles?
- 3 Types of Knitting Needles
- 4 Best Sock Knitting Needle Material
- 5 How to Hold Knitting Needles
- 6 Parting Words
Best Sock Knitting Needles Review
HiyaHiya SHARP Steel interchangeable Circular Needles Sock Set
Like the name suggests, the HiyaHiya SHARP Steel has very sharp tips. This makes them great for lace knitting and working cables without a needle. Since the tips are made of steel, you can hold them as tightly as you want without worrying about bending or give. Even after repeated use, you’ll find that the tips stay perfectly straight.
The cables of the HiyaHiya SHARP are flexible and thin. They come in a reddish-pink color that stands out against the color of most yarns, helping you see exactly where it is.
One issue we had with this product is the interchangeable tool that tightens the tips. Perhaps our product was faulty, but one of the tips kept falling off and needed constant re-tightening. However, we found that the removable metal stitch markers fit perfectly into the hole of the needle tip to help tighten the tip even without having the tool nearby.
The case that houses the needles is sturdy with a nice design. The zippered pockets has more needle slots than needle tips and helps to keep the notions safe. If you want to purchase additional sizes to include in your collection, you’ll have some extra space to store them. To save space, the bag folds up and is easy to carry around in a knitting bag.
ChiaoGoo Red Lace
There’s a lot to love about this product from ChiaoGoo, the Red Lace has tips that are slim and sharp, but not so much that they’d hurt your fingertips as you’re moving your stitches along. The exact needle size has been laser printed on each tip to easily keep track of sizes.
ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles are made from stainless steel that has been lightly brushed so that you can easily grip it. This is nice, because if it were completely smooth your fingers would slide all over the place.
Many knitters have fallen in love with the ChiaoGoo Red Lace, partly because the join is so smooth, it is easy to forget you’re knitting with interchangeable needles! Just make sure to use the key to tighten the join after screwing the tip on, otherwise it will fall off. Furthermore, the flexible cord is made from a steel, multi-strand cable that has been coated with nylon. You’ll be pleased to see your stitches gliding over it.
When your product arrives, you’ll notice the beautifully designed, graphically printed case that holds the needles. We’ve found it to be snug and secure, and tried knocking it around in the knitting basket with no tips able to slide out by themselves. Lastly, on the outside there is a zipper pocket that holds the key, stitch markers, and cord ends.
Addi Turbo Sock Rockets
First of all, Addi Turbo Rockets and Sock Rockets are two products that are essentially the same, but with different names to denote different needle sizes. The Addi Sock Rocket has pointy tips with a nickel-plated brass finish that is very slick. All sizes, except for the smallest, have a translucent blue nylon cord.
These needles are strong enough to hold heavy projects without saggle, yet still flexible enough for you to knit delicate patterns into socks. The join is smooth, but if you enjoy swiveling cables, you’ll be disappointed to find out that the cable in the Addi Sock Rockets are fixed. If you like to rotate your fingers as you work, you’ll end up twisting the cord as well.
With that said, many knitters have high praise for both the Addi Turbo and Sock Rockets, claiming this is one of the best needles Addi have made. If you need precision and speed, can do without an interchangeable cord, then it is hard to beat this sock knitting needle at this price range.
What are the Best Sock Knitting Needles?
After many hours of research, comparing my experiences to others and learning the reasoning behind their choice, my conclusion is that the “best” depends on one’s personal preferences.
I’m sorry for such a vague non-answer, but it’s true. Every knitter is comfortable with their own set of needles and knitting machines that are the best for their tension, fiber type, and overall needs. Thus, the best sock knitting needles are the ones that have your most frequently used sizes on-hand. Furthermore, they should be within your budget, be easy to replace if needed, and made from material that works for your knitting project.
To find the right sock knitting needles for you, lots of hands-on research needs to be done. You need to actually hold the needle in your hands, play around with it, and use it to find the perfect fit. If you’re a beginner with no prior experience to draw from, we have reviewed some of the most commonly recommended knitting needles for beginners. Any one of these are a good starting point.
Below, we will go over some of the factors to consider to help you determine the best sock knitting needle for you.
Types of Knitting Needles
In this section, we will discuss the types of knitting needles there are, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they can help you on your knitting project.
If you like to undertake big projects a lot, then you should probably get circular needles. They are the optimal choice because of a flexible cable that connects its sharp, pointed ends.
They hold up the weight of your knitting project which makes things more convenient, especially if you have arthritic hands. They’re also great for travel knitting.
Circular knitting needles are often used to make scarves, blankets, sweaters, hats; any project that can be knitted horizontally. For sock knitting specifically, we recommend using nine-inch circular needles. You can purchase interchangeable circular needles, or fixed, based on your needs.
Straight needles are a great starting point for beginners. They are very simple – they have a stop or knob on one end and a sharp point on the opposite end. This design prevents stitches from slipping off. Straight needles are very affordable, and make the ideal knitting needles to learn and finish your first few knitting projects. You do not need anything too complicated, and this will boost your confidence.
You can try making hats, scarves, sweaters, dishcloths, and mitts using straight knitting needles. One downside of straight needles are how inflexible they are. You often find straight knitting needles in pairs, at various lengths from 7 to 14 inches.
Double Pointed Needles
Those of you who are looking for both straight and short needles need look no further than double pointed needles. Like the name suggests, they have points on both sides and can come in 5, 6, and 8 inches. In a pinch, you can simply cap one end of a double-pointed needle and use it as a straight needle instead.
You can often buy them in large packs which makes them a nice economical choice. You can use double pointed needles for knitting baby hats and socks as well as other basic clothing. However, it can be tricky to use double pointed needles and lots of practice is required, so you may have some initial frustration where the stitches keep slipping off.
In the circular needles section, we mentioned that they can be both fixed and interchangeable. If you are an experienced knitter, you’ll want to have interchangeable needles in your repertoire. Interchangeable needles can be purchased in sets with various cables and needle ends that can be attached to create needles of varying lengths and sizes.
If you have a project that requires big needles, small needles, and all the sizes in between, you can use interchangeable needles to adjust the size as required. You won’t need to own so many needles at fixed sizes.
Due to how versatile interchangeable needles are, you will have to pay a premium for them. With that said, they are well worth the price, and you can consider it to be a long-term, beneficial investment.
The best knitting needles for making creative patterns are cable needles. When you are making cables, cable needles help to hold the front or back of the project. Cable needles are fairly short, and come in straight or hooked varieties. Since they are only used for cables, they are cheap.
If you’re looking to complete your knitting needle set, then knitting needles may be included. However, not everyone knits cables, and therefore they should not be a high priority for most knitters who will never end up using them.
Best Sock Knitting Needle Material
Not only are the type of knitting needles important, but one should also consider the material that they are constructed from. This can further help you personalize your knitting needle set, and finetune any area so that you can sew optimally. Here are the most common materials:
Often made of ebony or rosewood, wood knitting needles are lightweight and can come in vibrant colors with cool designs. However, if you feel these designs are too flashy for you (and your cash is limited), you can get cheaper ones without them.
The biggest negative aspect of wooden needles is that they can break. Metal needles, on the other hand, and much less likely to do so.
Furthermore, it doesn’t matter how high quality the wood is, they will not last forever. Another downside of wood knitting needles is how slow it is compared to other needles because of how careful you need to be.
Bamboo is an amazing material because of how strong yet flexible it is. Many knitters enjoy the feel of using and holding bamboo in their hand. Thanks to its low weight, knitters with hand or wrist pain, or arthritis, find it easy on their hands.
Unfortunately, this material is not without its downsides. Yarn sticks tend to stick to bamboo more than other materials, but this resistance may mean the frequency of dropped stitches will be lower. Beginners may find the sticking ability of bamboo useful, but experienced knitters may be slowed down by it.
Many professional knitters agree that metal needles are the ideal material for knitting needles. However, some beg to differ, and at the end of the day it’s just a matter of preference. However, judging by how many manufacturers there are for metal needles, as well as how popular metal knitting needles have been in the knitting community, it surely says something. They are durable, stable, and affordable.
Some knitters dislike the clicking sound metal knitting needles make. Whether you are knitting a hat or socks, you should expect to hear clicking, and it could drive you up a wall if you have to listen to it all day. Furthermore, metal needles are not as flexible and are heavier than wood and bamboo needles. Below are the most popular types of metal needles.
Both strong and lightweight, aluminum knitting needles are a great choice for knitters who want a more durable material than wood or bamboo, but lasts much longer. However, if you were to step on one, aluminum needles can get damaged and bent out of shape, which coincidentally makes it seem quite similar to wood and bamboo.
If you’re a fast knitter looking to speed through multiple projects back to back, consider getting a stainless steel needle. The reason is that yarn is less likely to stick to this metal, making it less of a hassle to work with. Furthermore, it is quite durable, and is difficult to dent, scratch, or bend. If you want some reliable needles, make sure to keep some stainless steel needles in your knitting bag. Like aluminum needles, they hold strong even at small sizes. In comparison, wood, bamboo, and plastic needles are more brittle and prone to breaking at smaller sizes.
Plastic Knitting Needles
Plastic needles are a great choice for knitters that prefer using large needles. They are lightweight, easy to use, and flexible. Additionally, you can get plastic needles in numerous designs and colors to add some extra personality into your projects. Unfortunately, plastic can break and deform easily. If you absolutely have to use plastic needles on your next knitting project, then get the ones with a metal core inside.
Carbon Fiber knitting needles add an extra dimension to the already complex world of knitting. First, in terms of weight, carbon fiber is heavier than wood and bamboo but does not weigh as much as metal needles. In a set, even their needle tip points can have variances unless they come with a metal tip like brass. If you are a lace knitter, check the tips of carbon fiber needles to confirm that they meet your needs.
Casein Knitting Needles
Casein is a type of milk protein, and apparently they can also be used as knitting needles. It has similar properties to plastic knitting needles. You can get them in unique colors such as tortoiseshell and pearl.
Due to how unique they are, they are not very popular among knitters. If you leave them exposed to the sun, then they can potentially melt. Casein knitting needles also have short, blunt points. Actually, it is starting to make a lot of sense why they are not popular. Casein knitting needles seem more like novelty, gimmick items than a legitimate knitting needle.
You can potentially make basic items such as hats and socks with them, just to prove your skill as a knitter and just because you can.
How to Hold Knitting Needles
If you are an absolute beginner, you may be scratching your head wondering, “how the heck do I hold these needles?” In this section, we will guide you through the basic process step by step.
Step 1: Find your comfort zone. It is important that you find a way to hold the needles that feels the most comfortable to you. After all, if you feel uncomfortable the entire time you are knitting, then you won’t be knitting for long. Keep adjusting your grip until it feels more natural, otherwise you have to find a new approach to knitting.
We believe that the simplest way to hold knitting needles is to hold the left needle in your left hand approximately two inches back from the needle’s point, in a way similar to how you would hold a pencil to sharpen it. For your right hand, hold it as if you were holding a pen and about to write something. For left-handed knitters, switch the steps around.
Step 2: Be gentle with your yarn. You have to practice graceful movement. Be cognizant of how much tension you are applying. Wrapping the needles like you are trying to strangle them to death will make it complicated to slide the stitches. On the other hand, wrapping them loose will make the first row loose. There needs to be a perfect balance, and this requires practice to get right. Don’t worry if you mess up the first one, two, or even three times.
Step 3: Choose the right needle size for the yarn. This isn’t too difficult, as the label on the yarn should recommend a size of needles that is optimal for the yarn inside. Keep in mind, these recommendations are merely suggestions and you can skirt around the guidelines if needed. Even so, the yarn size and needle have to be compatible. If you are unsure of the size of your knitting needles or they are not labeled, consider using a needle gauge to confirm it.
Step 4: Choose the right knitting needle material for the yarn. We covered the most common knitting needle materials in the section above, such as wood, bamboo, plastic, metal, carbon fiber, and so on. You can read other people’s experiences using which needles with which yarns to find some good suggestions. You should also experiment on your own to find the optimal combinations that you prefer. For example, try yarns that are slippery and stretchy. Furthermore, cotton and synthetics won’t slip on needles or other yarn.
Lastly, if you find that you do not have the stamina to knit for a long time, then use circular knitting needles to help you hold up your knitting project. If they have been coiled up for too long, use a hairdryer to relax them.
Because of their versatility and benefits, interchangeable and circular needles are the most popular needles in the knitting community. With them in hand, you will be able to tackle the widest range of possible projects without being held back by hand pain or improper needle size.
Should more and more people decide to learn the craft, they will require durable and lightweight needles that can handle nearly any project. For those with fixed needles, nothing is more frustrating to find that the needles you have are too big or small for the project you’re attempting. Using interchangeable needles, you can adjust the size by changing the tips.
With knitting becoming more mainstream, manufacturers will surely produce more innovations among knitting needles for future release. With that said, the sock knitting needles reviewed in this article are currently the best ones currently on the market.