Saturday, January 5, 2008

A passion for circular needles

I learned as a child on straight needles but as an adult when I took knitting back up again I discovered circulars and have rarely looked back.  

    I relate to Elizabeth Zimmerman in that I would much rather knit than purl. My purl stitches are tighter than my knits which throws the gauge off.  Unlike EZ, I do not absolutely avoid purling but I do tend to minimize it.  Right now on January's High Bush Cranberry sock I see the need for some purling as a background so am happy that it is an option but in general, hey, knit knit knit is my thing.

     Once I knew I liked circular knitting I began to notice the needles. A friend loaned me her ancient set of Boye interchangeable circs and I enjoyed them very much.  I like the flexibility of interchangeables.  However I found myself buying bamboo circs and using them instead as I also discovered I much prefer wooden needles to metal.  I am not a fast knitter so the Addi turbos are way too slick for me.  Way too slick --  and my stitches tend to slide right off them too.  How to feel totally inept.  sigh    I like the wooden circular needles but the cords on most of them are stiff, needing immersion in hot water to soften and bend properly.  hmmmnnnn   

   Then I discovered Denise Needles and was one seriously happy camper for several years.  As my knitting skills increased I found the cables on the Denise's to be a bit thick for using the #5 and 6 needles but otherwise they are so versatile that I carried them everywhere for a time. Relatives would buy me some of the fancier wooden needles but I kept coming back to the Denise's until I took up lace knitting.

   Anyone who has done lace knows the needles need to be very sharp to get all those k3tog's done properly.  hmmmmnnn and then I discovered Brypsuns.  Now those  are seriously lovely well pointed guys.  And the plastic gets warm in your hands so they do not tire as quickly.  One of the drawbacks I found was that these needles are not interchangeable and so I would need to buy an awful lot of them to meet my needs.  I actually did not do that. I made do with my Denise's and filled in with the Bryspuns until my passion, no obsession, with socks took over and then neither the Denise nor the Bryspuns fit the bill as they are not made in sizes small enough to suit.

    One day a Knit Picks catalog arrived and in there was the answer to my fondest dreams.   Wooden interchangeable needles with flexible cords and also circs that come small enough to knit socks.  On top of that they are in colors.  HEAVEN on earth I say.  I marked up a catalog and handed it to Jim, my DH, suggesting that he use that catalog for my upcoming birthday and Holiday presents.  The darling man took me literally and now I have at least one, and often two, of every item I marked and then some.  These are the greatest needles I have ever used. The points stay pointy, the colors change, the cables flex and change plus there are those wonderful end caps that the Denise's have, for using the cable as a holding cord for stitches.     Whomever figured this out should get a medal.


stuffnnons said...

I just recently bought some yarn through Ebay, and yours is by far the finest. I tried a little of the Tamarack Spruce Corriedale with a K crochet hook, but this yarn just begs for knitting needles! I love it. I have not found this quality of handspun since the lady who ran the Fleece and Unicorn in Stillwater had to quit due to health reasons.

I wanted to comment on the use of circs. I had some with interchangeable lengths, but hated them as they were always coming unscrewed. Also I was happy to read that some were available for socks. I am making some small children's mittens, using 5 dp needles, and am having a really hard time. I wish they were wooden, not aluminum! I hate to buy more needles, as I already have so many, but if it will make the work easier.... Well thanks for the blog site. Judy

Donna B said...

Just was looking to see when my fiber for the club might come, and saw that you have a blog now! Thanks for the needles reviews.

Morandia said...

I've not used straight needles for years. All I use are circular. and occasionally dps. I don't see a need for straight needles any more, although they do make decent back scratchers! I'm enjoying my Knit Picks needles, but haven't tried the wooden ones yet. I might have to give it a try!

WoolyWorm said...

Hi, Susan! Welcome to the blogosphere! I asked for the Knitpicks Harmony interchangable needles for Christmas but they were backordered and didn't arrive until last week. I haven't had a chance to use them yet, but I'm glad to hear they're as wonderful as I expected. I feel the same as you do about circs and wooden needles.
Hi to Smokeyblue too!