Casein Knitting Needles are made from a milk protein used in cheese making. Often a milk byproduct, so it’s an ecologically friendly plastic material to make knit needles out of.
They have a pearly, tortoiseshell-like coloration and texture, but they’re smooth and lightweight like plastic. Unfortunately not widely available these days, and quite hard to find for purchase.
The materials were often available in pretty colors. Read on for more details about this type in my guide.
I reviewed and updated this post on November 24, 2022.
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Swallow Casein Knitting Needles
This was an Australian company that sold casein needles of milk protein in the early 2000s, which is discontinued. Visit their website for more information here.
They were favorites of many, often rated five stars by the expert knitter, and were available for reasonable prices.
Vintage Straight Casein Knitting Needles
Available in this listing is a pack of about six pairs of vintage straight knitting needles from the 1950s, all in excellent condition. Despite their age, they’d be great for a beginner.
Though they’re not all made of casein, about two pairs included are made of faux tortoiseshell, which is another name for casein.(Sizing is UK Sizing.)
The length is suitable for a lot of knitting patterns and fabric knitting ideas.
You need an account to make an order of items for sale from this brand shop, and shipping to the US is inexpensive.
This pack includes –
- Two pairs of Patons Faux tortoiseshell (1 pair 12s, and one pair is much thinner)
- One pair of thick yellow Beehives
- One pair of Red Patons 8 beehives
- One pair of blue INOX 3s
- One pair of JMRA green 4s
There are two other options available. The second one includes –
- Two pairs of Faux tortoiseshell (Patons 10 and 3.25mm)
- One pair of unused Red gauge 10 with yellow tops
- Two thick pairs (1 pair Pink and one pair of Yellow JMRA 10)
- One pair of Blue JMRA 5.5.
The third one includes –
- Two pairs of Faux tortoiseshell (Patons 10 and 9)
- One pair of thick Red Beehives
- One pair of Pink
- One pair of Green beehives)
- One pair of unused Patons No. 13
Casein Circular Knitting Needles
Unfortunately, the only needles made of Casein I could find available online were straight needles. No circular needles were ever made as far as I can see.
I’ll update this section if I find something. If you have information about these needles for knitting, let me know in the comments.
Benefits Of Casein Knitting Needles
- These things are environmentally-friendly and biodegradable
- Using up a material that would otherwise go to waste
- Doesn’t transfer heat, so it doesn’t make your wool yarn static and fluffy, so that’s good for knitting baby things
- It also doesn’t heat up or irritate the hands
- Comfortable to use and suitable for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and hand pain or strain
- Warms to the touch, and it looks like tortoise shell
- These accessories are lightweight, and have many needle sizes
- Slightly flexible but durable for a comfortable way of knitting any pattern
- Smooth surface makes sure the yarn doesn’t snag
- Not very grippy, but the stitches won’t accidentally slide off the needle, so they’re good for beginners
- These products are good for faster knitting with any sort of yarn weight
Disadvantages Of Casein Knitting Needles
- These tools for hand knitting are hard to find for knitters, and they aren’t available as double pointed needles or circular needles for knitting in the round
- The company who made them seems to have discontinued manufacturing their brands
- The tips are almost always short and blunt, so not suitable for finer yarns or intricate lace designs
- These items are slightly pricey, if you can find them
Where To Buy Casein Knitting Needles?
It seems the only place to buy this needle would be vintage stores or very rarely in local yarn stores.
The only ones I could find online were vintage knitting needles sold in sets including a few faux tortoiseshell ones made of casein.
How To Care For Casein Knitting Needles
Here is a list of recommendations for how to care for casein knitting needles.
- Before using them, soak them in water for no longer than 30 seconds, and wipe them dry.
- When not using the knitting needles, regardless of whether you’re using them for a project, keep them in a dry, clean, sealed plastic bag. If not using them for a work in progress, store them in the plastic sleeve they came in.
- Keep the needles away from heat, and store in a cool, dry place.
It’s a shame these needles aren’t widely available anymore. They seemed such an excellent tool and useful for a variety of projects, not to mention being lovely to knit with.
If you know of where you could buy casein plastic knitting needles, please comment below.
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