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Casein Knitting Needles – Complete Buying Guide & Reviews

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.

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Benefits Of Casein Knitting Needles

  • Biodegradable
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Using up a material that would otherwise go to waste
  • Doesn’t transfer heat, so it doesn’t make your yarn static and fluffy
  • It also doesn’t heat up
  • Comfortable to use and suitable for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and hand pain or strain
  • Warms to the touch
  • Lightweight
  • Slightly flexible but durable
  • Smooth surface makes sure the yarn doesn’t snag
  • Not very grippy, but the stitches won’t accidentally slide off the needle
  • Good for faster knitting

Disadvantages Of Casein Knitting Needles

  • Hard to find
  • The company who made them seems to have discontinued manufacturing
  • The tips are almost always short and blunt, so not suitable for finer yarns or intricate designs
  • Slightly pricey, if you can find them

Swallow Casein Knitting Needles

This was an Australian company that sold casein needles made of milk protein in the early 2000s, which now seems to have discontinued. You can visit their website for more information here.

Vintage Knitting Needles Collection Including 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.

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.)

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 will update this section if and when I find something. If you have any information about these needles for knitting, let me know down in the comments section.

Your Questions Answered

Where To Buy Casein Knitting Needles?

It seems the only place would be vintage stores or very rarely in local yarn stores. The only ones I could find online were vintage knitting needles sold in a pack, 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 these needles online or in a physical store, please comment below.

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Knit Like Granny. (Yes, I’m a real person :) ) Thanks for being here.

I created Knit Like Granny to help show 1,000,000 people the benefits of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.

I love knitting and have met so many other fabulous knitters through this site. I enjoy learning and helping others discover the joys of working with yarn.

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2 thoughts on “Casein Knitting Needles – Complete Buying Guide & Reviews”

  1. Hi
    I have a set of Swallow dbl point needles ( 3.75, 4.o, 4.5, 5.0, & 5.5mm)that have never been used and I have no idea what they would be worth. I bought them in Australia, while I was living there over ten years ago. They have been stored in their plastic sleeves in my studio for years. I’m not a knitter but I am a weaver. I found your blog while doing some research into these needles. Do you have any idea how sort after they are & what they might be worth?
    Thanks in advance,. Michele

    Reply
    • Hi Michele. Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve just called Arnos, the manufacturer of Swallow Needles in Australia. They explained that these needles are quite rare and as I said they are no longer made. Interestingly the price hasn’t changed for 10 years and they still have some in stock. I shared the information about your Double Pointed Needles set and he said they’d cost $8-10 AUD to buy now. Weaving is one skill I would love to learn. Cheers Jodie

      Reply

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