A Cornucopia of Knitting Know-How, Part 1

I have very vivid memories of working in a German restaurant called The Cornucopia. It was in an old, brown house which was large enough to be an Inn, but was now just a place to get a really good meal. The dining room had tablecloths and cloth napkins, there were pretty plants in the windows, and all sizes of glassware and fine china would come out with your food order.

The kitchen was a maze of confusion. At least, at first glance, that is what it appeared to be. In one corner were all the makings for desserts, in another corner you could use the dishwasher, and in another, prepare the bread baskets and salads. Silverware, plates, bakeware, sinks, refrigerators, and the all-important food station where orders were given, all had their place. But if you wandered in without knowing, it was a food jumble for sure!

Knitting can be just like that. Even to an experienced knitter, there is so much to know and so many new “inventions” and processes, that it may start to look a bit overwhelming.


Three knitting yarn sheep

So, in this post, I want to introduce you to some of knitting’s basics. Even if you know everything there is to know about knitting needles, there is always something new being added. And being that knitting is so much more than just knitting needles, we’ll start there and then future posts will reflect other knitting aspects.

So follow me through the maze of our knitting kitchen, as we sort through some of knitting’s know-how’s.

No place like home! Let’s start at the beginning. With knitting needles. Knitting needles come in three different types: straight, circular, and double-pointed.


Knitting needles and yarn

Straight knitting needles are usually sold in pairs and come in many different sizes. These have the little knob or pearl on one end that prevent your yarn from falling off.  If you’re knitting something very lacy and fragile, then a size 0 or 1 will do; if you’re going for the big, chunky look, then use a size 15 or larger.

Circular needles are used when you need to carry many stitches at once on your needle. Say you’re knitting an afghan and need to cast on 230 stitches. Those will never fit on a straight knitting needle!  Circular knitting can be done back and forth or continuously around. For this type of knitting, you would place markers so as to know where your beginning and end points are.  Circular knitting needles, too, come in a variety of sizes and lengths.

Double-pointed knitting needles have points at each end. They are short needles and are used in making socks, hats, mittens and the like. Many times you will use three,  and even four double-pointed needles at one time.

Knitting needles come in different materials. You can purchase them in wood, bamboo, aluminum, and plastic. Some materials are easier to knit with, such as bamboo. My preference has always been the straight aluminum knitting needle. There isn’t much you can’t knit with it!

Before we leave off with knitting needles, remember that there are two types of points on your needles. Some knitting needles are very sharp-pointed, while others are more blunt. It’s really your preference which type you will knit with. Never knit with knitting needles that are jagged at the ends. You’ll just ruin everything!

There you have it! Everything you need to know about knitting needles to start knitting successfully! I recommend using what is called for in project instructions, and then when you feel comfortable with doing things your own way, you may modify those directions for yourself. Or not. Knowing the proper needles to use, will make a big difference in how your knitting projects turn out.

Remember, to take your knitting to heart!





Author Signature