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Old Knitting pattern – needle size?

ladybug43 | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

I have my grandmother’s old Workbasket magazines, and found a knitted edge pattern that I’d like to try.

However, it calls for “steel knitting needles” size 17 or 18. I have never heard of this type of designation… we use “0” and “00” now. It’s clearly a small needle and not a huge one.

Can anyone help me with a website or book that might have this translated into modern sizes?

Thanks for your help. Love Piecework magazine and Threads, but haven’t gone into historical projects much.


  1. BernaWeaves | | #1

    See this:


    I just Googled "old knitting needle sizes" and this was the first thing that came up.

    It looks like an 18 steel needle is about a 00000, which is very small.


    1. ladybug43 | | #2

      Duhhh!!! Sorry... I should have thought of that for myself. Thank you very much...

  2. GailAnn | | #3

    Lucky, lucky you!  I LOVED the old Workbasket magazine, even way back in the day!  Gail

  3. Elizard | | #4

    I can't really offer you any help, but I suggest you go an join http://www.ravelry.com - a forum about knitting and crocheting that has lots of different groups for example on on vintage knitting patterns. They might be able to offer help, and you might even find someone knitting the same pattern :)
    Unfortunately they have a long waiting list (about 6000 people) but once you get there it is worth the wait.

  4. Ocrafty1 | | #5

    Just found this discussion and got a chuckle. I do very little knitting, but love old crochet patterns and have lots of old ones that I've bought at auctions. DH and I helped with the reorganizing of our local museum. They had thrown out a bunch of books and mags. that people had donated many yrs. ago. DH and I went 'dumpster diving' and found some great books for ourselves.  One of my favorite 'pamphlets' is an OLD patten book for knitting. It has stuff from the early 1900's: stockings, swimsuits, little boys' sailor suits, etc. I love to look at it, but have never tried any of the patterns....maybe one of these days...just for the heck of it.


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