How to Choose the Very Best Knitting Needles for Lace
Chopping vegetables with a dull knife is difficult and dangerous. Knitting lace with "dull" needles is frustrating, too. It might also be dangerous, if only to the hapless piece of knitting if you end up tossing it in the trash out of frustration.
Buying the right needles will make a huge difference in your final knitted lace piece and how much fun you have doing it.
It's All in the Tips – Long and Sharp for Easy Decreases
The first and only rule: make sure the needles you choose have sharp, tapered tips.
Why? Because you will be decreasing, which means combining two stitches into one. To do that, your needle has to go in to two or even three stitches at once.
If your needle-tip is too blunt, it won’t reach very far through the stitches. You’ll have to work hard to keep the stitches on the needle while the yarn around it to make the stitch.
Lace knitting is challenging enough, so don’t make things harder than they already are. Get yourself a pair of pointy needles. I'm serious.
Great Lace Needles Taper to a Sharp Point
Your ideal lace-knitting needles will have a long tapered tip so they can fit through two or three stitches at once.
Be careful, though. You don’t want a needle with a too-sharp tip. You can end up hurting yourself if you push your finger against the tip of the needle every time you adjust your stitches.
For My Lace Class, Buy Straight Lace Needles in Size Us 8 or 9 (5.0-5.5 mm)
To do the projects and practice swatches in my upcoming video lace class, Effortless Lace, get one pair of straight needles in US Size 8 or 9 (5.0 or 5.5 mm). You can use worsted-weight yarn with these needles to make the practice swatches as you are learning lace.
I Adore Signature Needles' "Stiletto" Needles For Lace
If you’re knitting a flat lace project, Signature Needle Arts single-point needles outperform any other straight needles you can buy.
At Signature Needle Arts, they engineer first-class aluminum needles out aircraft-grade.
The needles are solidly-built, smooth, and luxurious to knit with. They have a long, tapered tip that makes knitting into two, three, or even more stitches at a time a piece of cake.
You have three options of tips when you order the needles. Make sure you get the “stiletto” tip – I find them perfect for lace and for regular knitting projects, too.
I recommend Signature Needles so strongly that I’ve made them the official straight needle of KnitFreedom. On Tuesday May 12th you’ll have a chance to a $250 gift certificate to Signature Needles, so keep your eyes peeled for the giveaway email.
Try Knit Picks Straight Rainbow For a Sharp, Less-Expensive Wooden Needle
If you like wooden needles or you just don’t want to spend a fortune, try Knit Picks Straight Rainbow Knitting Needles.
Wooden needles do not feel as slippery as metal needles, so beginners like them. They have sharp tips for precise, fine stitches and cost $6-$13 per pair.
Feel Free To To Use Circular Needles For Lace
Circular needles are needle tips connected by a cable in the middle. They are normally used for round knitting. You can easily use them to knit lace whether your project is round or not. This can save you money because you only have to buy one pair of needles.
I’ll show you how to use circular needles on flat projects in my upcoming class, Effortless Lace.
Circular Needles for Lace Must Have Smooth "Joins"
When picking circular needles to use for lace, look at the place where the needle tip meets the cable. That is called the "join." The join should be as smooth as silk when you run your fingers over it. If it’s not, your yarn will catch on it as you move the stitches from the cable to the needle.
A rough join is irritating and it won’t take you long before you are throwing your needles down in frustration. Below I recommend four brands of needles that have sharp tips and smooth joins that will be great for lace knitting.
Four Recommendations for Circular Needles for Lace: Addi Lace, Hiya Hiya, Knit Picks Harmony, and Chia Goo.
Four brands of circular lace needles that I recommend are:
- Addi Click Lace Interchangeable Set
- HiyaHiya Interchangeable Lace Set
- KnitPicks Options Interchangeable Needle Set
- Chia Goo Lace Interchangeable Set
If you like wooden or bamboo needles, go for the KnitPicks Option needles in one of their wood varieties. They are made of laminated birch and are not slippery. Your stitches will feel safe and stable.
Addi Lace needles are made from metal but have a coating on them that makes them less slippery than most metal needles. They have sharp tips and cost about $16 per pair.
Many knitters tout HiyaHiya and ChiaGoo needles as fantastic and inexpensive needles. My readers like them for their thin, flexible cables and sharp tips.
Interchangeable Needle Sets Save You Money If You Are Starting From Scratch
If you want a whole set of needles, you can buy an interchangeable set. It's basically a set of needle-tips in all different sizes, with detachable cables. All the links I gave you above are to interchangeable needle sets.
Check the Join If You Are Buying in Person
If you are buying lace needles at your yarn store, take them out of the package and run your fingers over the joins. Make sure you can’t feel anything but a smooth transition from cable to needle.
I can’t recommended Signature Needle Arts’ new circular needles yet because the join catches my yarn when I knit. However, they may be working on improving that.
My Favorite Circular Needles For Lace – Trick Question
All the circular needles I’ve recommended are designed just for lace and will be great for what you need. I use Addi Lace needles, but only because I that’s what I bought when I started lace knitting.
I haven’t knitted with all the kinds of lace needles but my readers have posted a lot about what kinds they love, and I've included the most popular brands here.
Comment On This Post
Do you have a brand of needles that I’ve overlooked? Tell me in the comments below.
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Resources referenced in this post:
- Recommended Straight Needles: 10-Inch Signature Needles by Signature Needle Arts