My small gauge knitting (think sock knitting) changed appreciably when I discovered the 2.75 millimeter needle. How in the world could one needle size make that big of a difference? Well, it did. Here’s what happened when I delved into the world of needle sizing.
I started knitting socks on US #3. That pair was way too big. Slouchy and saucy, those socks went to my Dad for bedtime warmth. I got the heel thing down pat, closed the toes with no problem, but the sizing was way off.
Next I tried US #2 needles and still felt like the ensuing sock fabric was loose and the stitches had way too much give. I had pretty much decided to stay with a 60 stitch cast on and was knitting top down socks.
So I progressed downward to US #1. There was a huge amount of difference. Now the knitting was tight and stitches were packed tightly together. I was trying different brands and also learned magic loop knitting. I was conquering the dreaded ladder that forms between needles when you knit with double points, but I still wasn’t getting the fit and fabric that I wanted.
Eventually I realized that needle size was an issue that I needed to address.
The needle size that produced the sock fabric that I like best is an intermediate size that is labelled as a 2.75 mm needle by the German needle company, AddiTurbo.
The 2.75 mm (sometimes called a US #1.5) gives a sock that I like to knit and wear.
Here’s the sizing that Addi uses. Notice that each needle gauge jumps by .25 mm in these small gauge needles.
- US #1 — 2.5 mm
- 2.75 mm (no US number)
- US #2 — 3.0 mm
- US #3 — 3.25 mm
If we look over to Japan, to the Clover brand, here’s what we find in their line. Notice that there is a .5 mm jump between the 1 and 2, and between the 2 and 3. These numbers are from Clover’s Takumi bamboo double pointed needles. Clover calls a 2.75 mm needle a US #2. Interesting! Addi uses 3.0 mm for a US #2.
- US #0 — 2.0 mm
- US #1 — 2.25 mm
- US #2 — 2.75 mm
- US #3 — 3.25 mm
The 2.75 mm needle became my go-to sock needle size. I know that some sock knitters swear by a US #1 while others use US #2 or #3. The results that you get are what matters, so pay attention to those sizes in millimeters and you will be rewarded with more consistent sock knitting.
Our website offers the 2.75 mm size in several versions.
Clover Double Pointed 5″ bamboo These needles are small enough that you can keep a set in your notions pouch.
AddiTurbo Circulars in 16, 24, 32, 40 inch lengths The work horses of the Addi line, these circulars have a lifetime guarantee. If there’s a problem, we replace it.
Addi Sock Rockets 40 inch length Designed with sleek, pointy tips that make magic loop knitting a breeze.
Addi FlipStix 6 inch Smooth aluminum double points with one pointy tip, one rounded tip. My hands do a choreographed dance when I use these for circular knitting. Love these for toys!
Addi FlexiFlips 8 inch Comes in set of 3 bendy needles with flexible center. One pointy tip; one rounded tip.
Let me add one more thing about using really good tools. I understand that good needles are expensive, but here’s the thing. When you sit down with a skein of sock yarn, you are probably committing yourself to 15-20 hours of knitting. That’s a long time to be frustrated by a needle that binds on the stitches or has a cable the wants to curl the wrong way constantly.
Most of us knitters know of a woodworker or two who have amassed quite a collection of tools. When you look at the dollars spent on a good wood shop, the dollars for a knitting studio (yes, your knitting is a studio endeavor) don’t add up to very much!
So use good tools and you will find knitting to be more relaxing, you will try projects that you would have abandoned with low quality needles, and you will be rewarding yourself with tools that last.
Back to the millimeters and the socks. Pay attention to size and maybe even give the 2.75 mm size a try!