Being able to protect the ends of miniature knitting needles can be very useful. However the point protectors sold by regular knitting shops will be much too large for needles used in miniature knitting. Using point protectors is a matter of personal preference but some people may find them useful. Yes, you can stick the points into a piece of polystyrene/Styrofoam or corrugated cardboard, but over time this will blunt the ends of the needles, or worse still break off the points on very fine needles.
Why would I use point protectors?
1. Point protectors can stop the knitting falling off the needles when stored in a bag.
2. Many people store their needles by pushing them through the yarn when not in use, which may damage or split the delicate yarns and make the yarn dirty. By using point protectors on the needles the yarn can be protected too, as it can be stored loose in the bag.
3. Point protectors can be used on the ends of needles when knitting in the round to stop stitches falling off the needles.
4. A point protector can also stop needles stabbing into things, people or pets, especially if knitting is left lying around on a chair.
5. The point protectors can of course also protect the point on the needle.
If regular point protectors are too large, what can I use?
Even the smallest regular point protectors are designed to fit 2 mm needles and above, so if you are using smaller needles you will need to find something smaller. An ideal solution is found at a shop which sells beads and bead findings – a hat pin protector. These are designed to go on the ends of hat pins or stick pins in brooches. A hatpin is generally made from a size 19/1.00 mm/US size 00000 wire, so the protectors designed to fit them are ideal for miniature work.
The hatpin protectors I use are shaped like a small metal sheath with a small hole which measures approximately 0.55 mm through the end. This allows needles bigger than size 24/0.55 mm/US 00000000 to fit in the sheath comfortably, but care is needed for size 24/0.55 mm/US 00000000 and smaller as they may push through the hole if inserted too far.
Take care when inserting the needle into the point protector for the first few times as the needle may bend if forced. To help prevent this hold the needle close to the tip when using a point protector for the first time.
One downside of the point protectors is that you may need to buy several, as needles larger than 1.00 mm may stretch the lining in the point protector.