How well do you know your knitting needles?

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9 Questions

What is the main function of a knitting needle?

To hold the active stitches of the fabric

Which type of needle is used for circular knitting?

Circular needles

What is the Guinness World Record held by Elizabeth Bond?

The largest knitting needles

What are the materials commonly used to make knitting needles?

Bamboo, aluminum, steel, wood, plastic, glass, casein, and carbon fibers

What is the purpose of a needle gauge?

To determine the size of a knitting needle

What is the difference between the US and UK sizing systems for knitting needles?

The UK system uses the metric system, while the US uses a different system

What is the advantage of using circular needles for knitting in the round?

They create a more seamless finished product

What are some options for storing knitting needles?

Cylindrical containers, fabric or plastic cases, and hanger devices

Who helped popularize knitting in the round with circular needles?

Elizabeth Zimmermann

Study Notes

Knitting Needles: Types, Sizes, Materials and Storage

  • Knitting needles are used in hand-knitting to produce knitted fabrics. They have a long shaft that holds the active stitches of the fabric, and tapered ends used to form new stitches.
  • The size of the knitting needle determines the size of the new stitch. Large stitches can be made with large needles, whereas fine knitting requires fine needles. The length of a needle determines how many stitches it can hold at once.
  • Single-pointed needles are the most widely recognized form of needle. They are always used in pairs and are usually 10-16 inches long. The knitting of new stitches occurs only at the tapered ends.
  • Double-pointed needles are tapered at both ends, which allows them to be knit from either end. They are typically used in sets of four or five and are commonly used for circular knitting.
  • Circular needles are composed of two pointed, straight tips connected by a flexible cable and may be used for both knitting flat or knitting in the round. The two tapered ends, typically 4–5 inches long, are rigid, allowing for easy knitting, and are connected by the flexible strand.
  • Double-pointed needles and circular needles are typically made of bamboo, aluminum, steel, wood, plastic, glass, casein, and carbon fibers.
  • Elizabeth "Betsy" Bond holds the Guinness World Record for knitting with the largest knitting needles. Her needles are 14 feet long and made of 35 pounds of machine-knitted, hand-twisted cotton material.
  • Antique knitting needles were sometimes made from tortoiseshell, ivory, and walrus tusks. Modern needles are made of various materials, including bamboo, aluminum, steel, wood, plastic, glass, casein, and carbon fibers.
  • Needle storage options include cylindrical containers, fabric or plastic cases, and hanger devices. Circular needles may be stored with the cables coiled in cases made specifically for this purpose or hung dangling from a hanger device with cables straight.
  • A needle gauge makes it possible to determine the size of a knitting needle. Some may also be used to gauge the size of crochet hooks. Most needles come with the size written on them.
  • In the UK, the metric system is used to size knitting needles. In the current US system, smaller numbers indicate smaller needles. There is also an "old US system" and a system used in continental Europe that predated the metric system.
  • Knitting educator and authority Elizabeth Zimmermann helped popularize knitting in the round specifically with circular needles.
  • Numerous techniques have been devised for the production of narrow tubular knitting on circular needles. One common method is to use two needles in place of the four or five double-pointed needles traditionally used, while a newer technique is to use one circular needle that is significantly longer than the circumference of the item being knitted.

Test your knowledge on knitting needles with our quiz! Learn about the different types, sizes, and materials of knitting needles, as well as how to properly store them. Discover interesting facts, such as the Guinness World Record for the largest knitting needles and the history of antique needles made from walrus tusks and ivory. See how much you know about knitting in the round and narrow tubular knitting on circular needles. Take our quiz to become a knitting needle expert!

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