Knitting has always been a crucial part of clothing design. Many designers have expressed their design ideas in recent years through knitting in their designs. The history of knitting can be traced back to the 3rd to 5th centuries AD. Numerous archaeological discoveries indicate that knitwear spread in Europe in the 14th century, and knitted stockings are trendy.
Knitting needles are an indispensable tool for manual knitting with a long history. When starting a new knitting project, considering the size of the needles required is essential. Most knitting needle measurements refer to the diameter of the needle, and this measurement determines the gauge and size of the stitches you create.
Whether you are a knitting expert with years of experience or a knitting novice, choosing the right size of knitting needles can make a project much easier to complete. The following guide introduces everything you need to know about selecting the correct needle sizes.
Knitting Needle Size Guide
Most knitting patterns specify what size knitting needles you will need. When it comes to knitting needles, there are four systems of measuring: metric sizes, U.S. sizes, U.K. sizes (also used in Canada), and Japanese sizes.
It would be simpler if there were a standard for knitting needle sizes, but unfortunately, there are four. The diameters are roughly the same in the U.S. and Japan for most cases. The British and American knitting needle size charts are opposites, with the American system starting with low numbers for needles with smaller diameters. In contrast, the British system starts with high numbers for low diameters and low numbers for high diameters.
Knitting Needle Size Conversion Chart
The metric measurements indicate the diameter of the needle in millimeters.
|Metric Size (mm)||US Size||UK/Canada Size||Japanese Size|
|2.0 or 2.1 mm||0||14||0|
|2.4 or 2.5 mm||N/A||N/A||1|
|2.7 or 2.75 mm||2||12||2|
|3.25 or 3.3 mm||3||10||4|
|3.5 or 3.6 mm||4||N/A||5|
|3.9 or 4.0 mm||6||8||6|
|4.8, 5.0, or 5.1 mm||8||6||9 or 10|
|5.4 or 5.5 mm||9||5||11|
|6.0 or 6.3 mm||10||4||13 or 14|
|6.5 or 6.6 mm||10.5||3||15|
Old vs. New Knitting Needle Size Conversion Chart
Some people also prefer to use the older knitting needles because the older knitting needles and patterns usually come in smaller sizes. The challenge of using the older needles is that it can sometimes be hard to convert your old needle sizes to the new standard U.S. sizes or the metric sizes. The following size conversion chart will come in handy.
|Metric Size (mm)||Standard US Size||Old US Size|
|1.0 mm||00000||18 (dpn)|
|1.125 mm||N/A||17 (dpn)|
|1.25 mm||0000||16 (dpn)|
|1.5 mm||000||15 (dpn)|
|1.75 mm||00||14 (dpn)|
|2.0 mm||0||0 (standard)|
|2.25 mm||1||12 (dpn)|
|2.5 mm||N/A||1 (standard)|
|2.75 mm||2||2 (standard)|
|3.0 mm||N/A||3 (standard)|
|3.5 mm||4||4 (standard)|
|3.75 mm||5||5 (standard)|
|4.25 mm||N/A||6 (standard)|
|4.75 mm||N/A||7 (standard)|
|5.0 mm||8||8 (standard)|
|5.25 mm||N/A||9 (standard)|
|5.75 mm||N/A||10 (standard)|
|6.5 mm||10.5||10.5 (standard)|
Knitting Needle Length
There is also another dimension need to be considered when purchasing knitting needles. It is the needle length. Although the length of the needles you use makes absolutely no difference to the size of your stitches or the outcome of the item you are knitting, it can make a difference in how comfortable you are while you complete your project. In general, the more stitches you have, the longer your needles will need to be.
- Straight needles tend to measure between 7 and 16 inches in length, though they can be longer.
- Circular needles use a cable that can vary in length up to approximately 60 inches, but the most common lengths are 16, 24, and 32 inches.
- Double point needles are shorter and lighter than straight needles. They are typically about 6 to 8 inches in length.
Knitting Needle Size Recommendation
The knitting needle size you need will also depend on the weight of the yarn you are using. Generally speaking, heavier yarn will require wider needles.
|Yarn Type||Recommended Size|
|Lace, Superfine, and Fine Yarn||1.5 - 2.25 mm|
|Light and Medium Yarn||3.75 - 5.5 mm|
|Bulky and Super Bulky Yarn||5.5 - 8.0 mm|
|Jumbo Yarn||12.0+ mm|
In addition to the knitting needle size, there are many other things to consider when buying knitting needles: the length, material, and yarn weights will also impact the entire project. When choosing knitting needles for a particular project, it is important to consider comfort and correct needle size.