Choosing Knitting Needle Sizes and Gauges

Get great results in your knitting projects by mixing and matching yarns and types of knitting needles.

Lion Brand representative Stephanie Klose shares expert tips to achieve beautiful results when mixing and matching yarns.

Choosing a needle size for a single yarn is easy. Check the manufacturer's recommendation on the label and start from there.

Combining yarns can make it more difficult to choose a needle, however. A simple guideline: Add the measurements (in millimeters) of the suggested needle size for each yarn and then use the needle that is closest in size to that number. For example, for a swatch of two strands of Wool-Ease Chunky, we added 6.5 mm plus 6.5 mm to get 13 mm. The closest needle size is 12 mm, which is a US 17.

The swatch seen here on the right was knit with a single strand of Wool-Ease Chunky; the left swatch was knit with two strands.

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The rule also works when combining yarns of different gauges. Lion Brand Watercolors is knit with a US 11 (8 mm) needle. Glitterspun is knit with a US 8 (5 mm); 8 mm plus 5 mm equals 13 mm, so a US 17 (12 mm) could be used with this combination as well.

When knitting with two or more different yarns, put each in a zippered plastic bag to prevent them from tangling in your knitting bag. This will also help keep the yarn clean. If the yarn snags on the zippered edge of the bag, close the bag completely and punch a hole in the bag through which the end of the yarn can pass.

The swatch seen here was knit with one strand each of Watercolors and Glitterspun yarn.

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