Knitting needles can be made up of a wide variety of materials. Typically, the needles are made of wood or metal. In this video, Jill Wright looks at the features of wooden knitting needles and metal knitting needles.
Wood needles are made of different types of wood, most commonly bamboo. These needles have a rougher surface, making them a good choice for slicker yarns, like those containing silk. They are usually lightweight and can flex slightly. Care should be taken as wooden knitting needles can completely snap and break. The tips of a wooden knitting needle are not as pointy as those made of other materials. Occasionally the tips of the needles can become rough and snag the yarn as the knitting project is being worked.
Metal knitting needles are commonly made from aluminum. Usually, they are slightly heavier than wooden needles; however, there are some metal knitting needles that are extremely lightweight. The needles can have varying degrees of pointiness at the tips; some metal knitting needles have extremely pointy ends. Because these needles are so smooth, yarns that have scales, like those containing animal fibers, usually work well with metal needles. Many knitters find they can obtain greater knitting speed when using metal needles.
As Jill notes, you’ll likely find your own preference when it comes to knitting needles. It’s important to find the right needles for you and your project!