Somewhere I heard there's a difference in the twist of the yarn of the from the outside of the skein and the inside of the skein. Someone will remember. If you are knitting from the outside, try the inside. Also, needle tips can play a part in yarn splitting, but more often than not it's the yarn itself that is not tightly twisted.
Will there be enough space for us and all the yarn we purchase?
Check Ravelry for the Malt blanket by Tincan Knits and the Basketweave afghan by Caron Design Team. Both of these are free and produce interesting blankets with different types of variegated yarns. I have made both and with the Malt blanket I added extra squares, with the Basketweave I increased the stitch count from 10 to 15 for each pattern. Both worked very well.
Ravelry is free to join and you'll find oodles of patterns, free and for pay, to knit or crochet. Do you want to knit the sweater or crochet it? Have you checked your local library for books? Even your local yarn shop will have something. Lots of options.
Go to Ravelry and type in Semele shawl. This is a pay for pattern but it is lovely. Just something different.
That would make a lovely wedding shawl for a very lucky bride.
How complicated do you want to get with blankets and such? I have made the following blankets, free on Ravelry, The Malt Blanket from Tincan Knits and Basketweave afghan by Caron Design Team. After using garter stitch with these blankets I changed that to moss stitch. I also used Deborah Norville everyday worsted weight yarns from JoAnn's. I find this yarn is soft, durable, washes and dries beautifully, knits well, doesn't split, doesn't pill, doesn't have fuzzy bits. And with multiple 40% off coupons with different codes the price is even better.
There are so many shapes: round, square, rectangle, triangle, crescent, asymmetric, butterfly and many patterns are free. Show this person Ravelry and some of the shapes and have her select from there. There are also books from the library. Check Iris Schreier for her shawl books for one -two skeins of yarn. But no matter what pattern you select, it's the yarn that will make the shawl a work of art. Select wisely. Many yarns now come with crystals, beads, pearls, sequins. When selecting such yarns, Iris Schreier designs for Artyarns, expect to pay in the neighborhood of $30.00 or more per skein.
Garter stitch uses more yarn than stockinette stitch. Do you have enough yarn to complete your project? And since this is not a garment, I wouldn't worry about gauge. Just knit to have fun. But it's best to follow some form of a pattern and this is where Ravelry, free to join, comes to the rescue. Check to see what patterns are available for the yarn you wish to use, i.e. sports weight, dk weight, worsted weight, etc.
What ever you select, make it washable. I personally like the Deborah Norville line of baby yarns available at JoAnn's. Get yourself to a yarn shop and see what's available and ask questions. Select yarns that have no fuzz, are tightly twisted, soft to the touch, doesn't shrink when washed and dried and doesn't stretch out of shape when made into a garment or blanket.
I'm married to a know-it-all. He would inform me "you can't know that". Not only did and do I know the correct answers but I put him in his place with the answers. His brother is worse, but that's another story. Hubby doesn't challenge me anymore.
Indian Lakes Artisans hexagonal needles can be customized for tip length and do come as circulars. They are not inexpensive. I don't think there are any square bamboo needles. Prym makes an ergonomic triangular shaped needle that can be ordered from Amazon or Etsy and they do come as circulars. Delivery may be slow as they come from England.
And don't forget "the hungry stitch" by Cat Bordhi. Now that's an SSK.
You will receive all kinds of suggestions about needles BUT, there is no one needle type that plays nicely with every type of yarn. This is why we have so many different needles: wood, bamboo, metal, acrylic/plastic, carbon fiber; round, square, hexagonal, triangular; blunt tip, lace tip. For an interchangeable set, check out Knit Picks which is very reasonable price wise. Go to your local yarn shop and test drive the various types of needles and see which ones work best for your situation. Ask your friends. The interchangeable set that I have found most useful is the addi MIX which is a combination of the addi turbo tip needle and the addi rocket tip(lace)needle. I didn't need to purchase two separate sets of tips because both are included in this one set.
Happy knitting and experimenting.
Dances with Wool, now you know why I'm so jittery. Too many triple decaf lattes.