What size do I need? Do I choose metal or wooden needles? What's the difference between UK and US sizing?

Ajanta Studio give you a beginners guide to knitting needles to help decipher all those burning needlework questions that have got you tangled in a knot.


The first thing you need to bear in mind is that knitting needles typically come in a range of sizes which can be complex as this varies depending on whether you're dealing with UK or US sizing. For example a UK size 14 is a US size 0 and these two sizing systems often work in different directions - which is a little complicated!

At Ajanta we have opted for the more universal metric system which refers to the specific millimetre sizing to help eliminate any of the confusion and make finding your knitting needles a breeze.

If you're already familiar with a particular system or way of doing things, we've put together a handy needle sizing conversion chart for you to refer to...

Metric SizesUK SizesUS Sizes
2.0 mm140
2.25 mm131
2.75 mm122
3.0 mm11-
3.25 mm103
3.5 mm-4
3.75 mm95
4.0 mm86
4.5 mm77
5.0 mm68
5.5 mm59
6.0 mm410
6.5 mm310 1/2
7.0 mm2-
7.5 mm1-
8.0 mm011
9.0 mm0013
10.0 mm00015
12.0 mm-17
16.0 mm-19
19.0 mm-35
25.0 mm-50
How Do I Know Which Size To Use?

If you're working off of a knitting pattern it will usually recommend you a needle size to use. Alternatively, gaining experience with different needles and types of yarn will help you find out which size you prefer in relation to your knitting style. You can also make use of needle and yarn packaging and labels to learn more about sizes but we suggest getting stuck into as many projects as possible to find out what works for you!

What Are Knitting Needles Made Out Of?

Mainly either bamboo wood, plastic or aluminium metal - these materials are chosen for their lightweight feel that allows for improved precision and comfort over long periods of knitting.

Which type of knitting needle you use comes down to taste and individual preference. Bear in mind that beginners will prefer bamboo needles thanks to the wood's ability to grip onto the yarn. As you get better you'll probably prefer the speed and slickness of aluminium, which will glide over your yarns.

Sizes 2.0mm - 2.25

Probably the least practical needles on our list, these super thin knitting needles are designed for fine lace and other intricate projects, you'll rarely use these if you're a pro and not at all if you're a beginner.

Sizes 2.25mm - 3.0mm

A sock's best friend!

Sizes 3.0mm - 3.75mm

An essential needle size range for knitted tops, sweaters, super soft baby wraps and blankets. These needles can be tough on your hands causing all sorts of aches and pains after long periods, so make sure loosen up and get in the zone...

Sizes 3.75mm - 4.5mm

Great for jumpers, scarves, gloves and similar accessories - these pair up nicely with DK yarn.

Sizes 4.5mm - 5.5mm

A MUST-HAVE for all knitters. This needle size will suit a lot of your everyday projects and are great for knitting novices to learn on.

Sizes 5.5mm - 8.0mm

Ideal for big chunky knits, the bigger the needles get the quicker your projects will get completed.

Sizes 8.0mm - 12.0mm

This size is brilliant for getting into unique patterns and classic such as cable knits for sweaters and working with super chunky yarns. Keep an eye on your various UK and US sizing as they may start to go a bit out of wack as we get into the bigger sizes.

Sizes 12.0mm +

The heftiness needles around - so opt for plastic over metal, otherwise it will feel like you're wielding the Excalibur of knitting needles. These are your go-to for those supersized yarns that only heard about in knitting folklore and needlework legends.

Post By Ed Mason