Should You Buy Portuguese Knitting Needles?

Have you tried Portuguese-style knitting yet? It seems like this style of knitting is becoming more and more popular. I just spotted a couple of Portuguese-style knitters in my knitting group, and it seems like I'm starting to notice lots of knitters convert to this style.

If you have tried Portuguese-style knitting, you may have noticed that there's a special type of needle that's ideal for the style: Portuguese knitting needles. This type of needle is used today in countries like Portugal and Turkey where Portuguese-style is the most common way to knit.

Andrea Wong demonstrates using Portuguese knitting needles in her Master Portuguese Knitting class

It's not mandatory that you knit Portuguese-style using Portuguese knitting needles. However, if you're interested in knitting traditions, it might be fun to grab a set of Portuguese knitting needles and try them out!

Portuguese knitting needles vs. regular knitting needles

Regular knitting needles vary, of course. There are straight knitting needles that have one pointed end, then there are double-pointed needles that have a point on both ends. Circular needles have a point on each end, too, but they are usually longer and joined by a flexible cable.

Portuguese knitting needles look a bit more like a hybrid of double-pointed needles and Tunisian crochet hooks . The Portuguese needles have one pointed end and one end with a hook on it that's similar to a crochet hook. Like double-pointed needles, a set usually includes five needles.

When these needles are used to knit in the round, there's one key: a hook never meets a hook, and a point never meets a point. The knitter usually holds the work on four of the needles, then uses the hook end of the fifth needle.

The needles can be used to knit flat, too, but in this situation the two hooks will meet as one needle holds the work and the other pulls the stitches in. The really crazy part? You never turn the work!

Traditionally, Portuguese knitting needles were made of bone and wood. Today, though, they're usually made of metal.

To buy or not to buy?

Think you might want to go traditional with your Portuguese style? Here are a few things to think about:

Circular vs. flat

Do you tend to use Portuguese-style to knit flat or in the round? Portuguese knitting needles work best for circular knitting, so if you tend to work flat most of the time, you may want to just use your regular knitting needles.

That handy hook

Do you have problems pulling the working yarn through the stitch when you're knitting Portuguese style? If so, you might want to use Portuguese knitting needles. That hook on one end is so handy for grabbing the stitch and successfully pulling it through to make a new stitch.

Knitting budget

You might already have several sizes of regular knitting needles. If you're trying Portuguese needles for the first time, it's probably a good idea to buy one set and try it out before you invest in lots of other sizes. If you like how it feels, then you can slowly build up a collection.

Combining knitting and crochet

Bluprint instructor Andrea Wong points out that if you tend to combine crochet and knitting into the same project, then Portuguese knitting needles are a great choice. Rather than switch back and forth between knitting needles and hooks, you have everything you need in one tool.

If you're interested in seeing the different needles and different techniques for Portuguese knitting, check out Andrea Wong's  Master Portuguese Knitting  class. It's perfect for knitters who are already familiar with the basics but need a bit of help with fine-tuning their new style of knitting.

Have you tried knitting Portuguese-style before? What type of needles did you use?

February 28, 2018
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Should You Buy Portuguese Knitting Needles?