Knitting needle types explained

There are many different knitting needle types and sizes available on the market. The one you need depends on your knitting project and thickness of your yarn. In general, four different needle types are available: straight needles, double point needles, circular needles and cable needles.


Straight knitting needles are just straight, yes, it is that simple. They have a knob or stopper on one end, that prevents your work from following off and a sharp tip on the other end.  Straight needles come in pairs. Your knit project is on one of the needles while you knit with the second needle. Straight needles are used for flat projects such as scarves, washcloths, but also for knitting garment pieces that are stitched together in the end. 

Check out our straight knitting needles


Double point needles (DPNs) look like straight needles, but instead of a knob on one end, the needles have sharp points on both ends. Double size needles are available in different lengths and often sold in a set of 3, 4 or 5 needles. They can be used to knit flat projects but be careful that you don’t lose your stitches. Double point needles are often used for circular knitting. For example, when knitting socks your project is divided over 3 or 4 needles, while you use the extra needle to knit. The length of the needles should meet roughly the size of your project. For example, when knitting socks, you want to use needles no longer than 25 cm. In theory you can knit sock with longer needless, but it is just very inconvenient to have long needles stick out of your project. Double size needles are used for smaller projects like socks, beanies, mittens, toys, etc.  

Check out our double point needles


Circular needles are basically 2 straight needles connected to each other by a cable. This makes it possible to knit in a circle. The cables are either fixed or interchangeable. The fixed needles come in different lengths, and this length should meet the size of your project. The interchangeable needles are more expensive, but also more versatile as you buy a set with different cable lengths. Circular needles are used mainly for bigger projects like knitting sweaters. You can also use circular needles for flat projects, you just need to knit back and forth, the same way you would do with a straight needle.

Check out our Circular knitting needles


Cable needles don’t have any cables, confusing, yes.
Cable needles are used to knit cable structures and look like double size needles that are bent in wavy shape. When knitting cable structures, the needles are used to temporary hold some stitches. Yes, you could just use double size needles to do this job, but cable needles are just more convenient. Make sure that the cable needle has the same diameter (or smaller) as your regular needles.

Check out this 'How to cable knit: beginner’s guide'
Wij maken gebruik van cookies om onze website te verbeteren, om het verkeer op de website te analyseren, om de website naar behoren te laten werken en voor de koppeling met social media. Door op ACCEPT te klikken, geef je toestemming voor het plaatsen van alle cookies zoals omschreven in onze privacy- en cookieverklaring.