For knitters with hand pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or grip issues, knitting with treasured but uncomfortable needles can be a challenge. Instead, pick up a pair of these specially-designed ergonomic knitting needles and enjoy crafting for hours without pain or cramping.
What to avoid if you have hand pain or grip issues
It all comes down to weight, warmth, and shape.
Heavy knitting needles require much more effort to hold and use. Cold, metal knitting needles are uncomfortable for long periods of use in hands which encounter stiff joints. Those knitters should avoid cold, slippery aluminum needles -- in fact, few metal needles will offer the warmth and texture needed by most knitters with hand pain or grip issues. Usually, such a knitter will benefit from more flexible acrylic, wood, or bamboo needles which warm up with use.
Most traditional knitting needles are sharpened tubes with a simple round profile. Ergonomic knitting needles have 3-4 flat sides, producing a triangle or square profile, making them easier to hold without dropping or gripping tightly. You may be wondering would you ever want to knit with a non-tubular needle. Don't worry, the stitches won't come out like little squares!
Square-sided, beautiful needles
First of all, the square edges of these needles keep a loose needle from rolling away on a surface— which would be convenient for nearly any knitter, not just one with hand pain.
The square edges also keep the needles from rolling against eachother, for example, when working socks in the round with double-pointed ergonomic needles.
Most importantly, the flat sides of the needles lay naturally and comfortably against the flat sides of a knitter's fingers. Imagine a needle that didn't seem to always be ’slipping away’, and you have some idea of what it's like to knit with a square needle.
The one metal needle we'd still use
Knitter's Pride Cubics needles are available in straight, double-pointed, fixed, and interchangeable circular styles, and in two materials: brass and birch. The electroplated brass KnitPro Nova Cubics needles are marketed under Knitter's Pride Nova Cubics Platina in North America, for those who prefer the speed or texture of a metal needle. We chose them as the one metal needle we'd still use for their lightweight, square-shaped design.
Warmth in Wood
A sibling to the Nova Cubics Platina, we also like the Knitter's Pride Rose Cubics (AKA KnitPro "Symfonie" Rose Cubics) which have a laminated birch base that's stained and textured to feel like rosewood and warms in the hands with use. Both Cubics are excellent ergonimic knitting needles and are widely available.
Triangular with a tear-drop point
The award-winning German-engineered Prym Ergonomics knitting needles are made from a flexible, high-performance synthetic material shaped similar to the Cubics, but with three sides. Each tip ends in a characteristic teardrop shape, intended to prevent accidental dropping of the stitch or yarn.
The Prym Circular Knitting Needles have a no-memory ultra-flexible coated steel cable and were awarded the "Red Dot Design Award" in 2016. In addition, these needles are available in double-pointed) and straight styles.
Some knitters have reported problems with the teardrop shape breaking off the needle tip, so if you find you use a lot of force in your knitting, these may not be the needles for you.
They have a more 'technical' look to them, in a creamy white matte finish. As an added bonus, the rounded tip makes these needles ideal for getting past airport security when flying with knitting needles.
Olive Wood Needles Warm to the Touch
These needles are crafted from non-fruit bearing olive trees and finished with a plant-based oil which defines the unique wood grain of each tip and keeps the surface slick for snag-free knitting. The smooth hardwood tips have a defined taper and warm to body temperature quickly, making them far more comfortable for knitters with arthritis or hand pain than conventional metal needles. Available both as fixed and interchangeable circular needles, the Addi Olive Wood needles are a gorgeous complement to or upgrade from the original nickel-coated Turbos.
Vibrant, lightweight acrylic needles
KnitPro/Knitter’s Pride has a affordable line of needles made from brightly-colored acrylic resin — a more grippy texture than aluminum or metal, and more flexible for knitters contorting their hands. The KnitPro Trendz are solid, semi-translucent and brightly colored; while the Knitter’s Pride Marblz are hand-mixed with a unique multicolor pattern to every needle. The acrylic material is ultra-lightweight and warms up quickly, which helped one reviewer who recently had orthopedic surgery on their elbow.