Any knitted item has many qualities that contribute to its finish- the quality of the yarn and type of fibre give texture and drape or elasticity, knitters skill gives dimension and definition, but it can be easy to ignore tension (after all, knitting those 10cm squares can be a pain when you're impatient to get started), and needle type.
There are many different types of needle on the market, and at first glance it's easy to think they're just different priced options for pointy things that get the job done, however, choosing the right needles for yourself, and for your project, can be very helpful to give you the expert finish you are looking for. After all, you're investing so much time and creativity into your project, you want the best result you can get.
In this post I will discuss the materials your needles might be made from. In my next post, I will discuss the purpose of different needle types.
Wood: Wooden knitting needles are often a higher priced option, this is because along with being prettier, they are smooth, and tend to have a perfect point that won't split the yarn while you knit. The smooth surface allows the yarn to slide easily while you knit, perfect for grippy yarns like wool.
Bamboo: Bamboo knitting needles are ecofriendly, and while they are similar in many ways to wooden needles, they are grippy, which makes them ideal for slippery yarns like sugarcane and cotton.
Metal: Knitting needles made of metal are (obviously) harder to break than those of other materials. They also are harder to bend, so if you're knitting something heavy, then these are the ones for you.
Plastic: plastic knitting needles are generally the least expensive of all options, they tend to be slippery, but are easily broken. They are usually warmer than metal, and more flexible, so they can be best if you have problems with your hands, like arthritis.