Tag Archives: knitting needles

Let’s Keep the Momentum!

Now that I’ve got my DPNs squared away, it’s time I did something (anything) with my circulars.

Right now (and, honestly for the last 15+ years), they’ve lived in one big jumble in this shopping bag.  It’s not pretty.  From time to time, I go through and try to match them up with their envelopes.  It’s a pain and I hate it, so mostly they’re just a big old rats nest hanging at the back of my closet. Don’t judge me.IMG_2103.JPGIn the back of my mind, I knew that there were circular needle holders out there- my mom even sells them. (She won’t let me buy anything from her shop, but you should buy from her.  Her stuff is amazing.)  So I pulled out the sewing machine and some fabric scraps and whipped up this bad boy myself.IMG_2093

It’s not the prettiest.  (In my defense, I picked my fabrics at night when the light was not great, and I thought the yellow was a better match, but still.  Also- rickrack?  Really?) But it’s functional and has already saved me a bunch of time.  It’s great seeing all the needles I have all laid out.  Weirdly, I have a lot more US3s than I expected, and a lot fewer US8s.  Funny how that goes.  At least now I know, and won’t keep buying 3s…

How do you organize your needles?

People are actually pretty great.

It’s been almost two weeks since the break-in at Casa del On the Needles, and things are going back to normal.  We’ve upped security, filed a police report, and begun to replace the things that were taken.  I’ll probably never get my class ring back, but I bought a new computer to replace my old one (which was on its last legs anyway).  I didn’t even loose that much data-a couple half-finished patterns, and a few hours work on an intarsia chart, but nothing I can’t replace with a half-day of work.

And, I got a surprise package in the mail from my friends over at Knit Picks on Saturday.

Remember how I said the thieves took my set of interchangeable needles?  Well, the lovely folks at Knitpicks (Hi Stacey!) took it on themselves to send me not one, but two replacements:

A set of gorgeous blue-green Caspian needles:91078102[1]And, a set of luminous Sunstruck needles:90613101[1]My old set were Caspians, and I’d used them for more than a year when they were stolen.  I am a snob when it comes to needles, so I was a late adopter of the whole interchangeable needle thing.  It seemed like they would be more trouble than they were worth- wouldn’t the cable fall out?  Wouldn’t the yarn snag on the joins?  They couldn’t work as well as advertised.

But, I have to say, I absolutely love them.  I use them for almost every project I make.  Circulars are better on my wrists, and the dyed wood needles are fun (I’m a sucker for bright colors).  And, there’s nothing better than deciding you need a US10.5 or a US5, or whatever your spur-of-the-moment project requires, and just going to your needle case and pulling out exactly what you want.

So, thanks, KnitPicks!  I know these needles will get lots of use!  (And, everyone else, I totally recommend getting a set of interchangeable needles.)

DIY DPN Holder

Here’s a neat idea from blogger the Good Weekly.  DIY felt DPN (double-pointed needle) cases.  How cute are they?  If I had a million hours to do all the cute stuff I found online, I would be a happy camper.  But this project… I might just do, even though I don’t have a million hours.

holder_group-810x537[1]Go visit the Good Weekly to see their super simple tutorial.

knit_holder[1]

Getting to the Point, Part 2

(Can I just say how ridiculous this title is?  I didn’t come up with the title until I had written out this whole post as well as the last post.  Anyway.  Dorky me and my wordiness.)

Even once you have decided on the kind of needle material you want, you still have to figure out the type of needle you are going to use.  Here, again, you pretty much have three choices.

straight-needles[1]“Straights” or “straight needles” are your grandmother’s knitting needles.  They’re they kind that you imagine when you hear the words “knitting needles.”  They’re straight (obviously), usually longish (12+ inches), and have a point on one end and a nubbin on the other.  The nubbin stops your stitches from falling off the end.  They are great for learning on, and are good for knitting flat things.  However, if you knit big projects (like blankets or sweaters), you might want to avoid using straights, because the weight can cause wrist/hand problems.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe second type of needle are Double Point Needles (or DPNs).  DPNs are usually shortish (in the 5-8 inch range), and, as the name implies, have points on each end.  They’re sold in sets of 5 or so (depending on the brand).  They’re used to knit up small projects in the round.  If you’re making mittens, socks or sleeves, you might make the whole project on DPNs.  Or, you could make the top of a hat on DPNs.  They’re a little scary to use the first time, since you use so many at the same time, but they’re really the best/only way to make certain projects.

circular-needles[1]The last type of needle is the circular needle.  These are two short needles (usually about 3-8 inches, depending on the brand) connected by a long cord.  These are my absolute favorites.  They’re versatile, allowing you to knit flat (like with straight needles) or work large projects in the round.  The fact that the project hangs more or less evenly between your hands means that there is less chance of arm/hand fatigue.  Also, if you knit in public/on the bus/on a couch next to people, circulars are nice and compact so you won’t keep poking your neighbors. But, one drawback of circular needles is that they are fairly specific to the project you want to make.  For example, even though they’re both knit on size 8 needles, you will need a long circular needle to make a sweater in the round, but a short circular needle to make a hat.  (But, that’s a pretty minor complaint in my biased opinion.)  Also, poorly made circular needles can snag where the needle joins the cord, which can be a huge pain in the butt when you are cruising along a project.  This means that when I buy circular knitting needles, I almost always go for the super fancy ones (like Addi Turbos), which cost way too much.  But, I think it’s worth it to not hate my knitting.

They type of needle you use is pretty much determined by the project you’re making, but still you’ll develop preferences.  If you hate DPNs, you could end up buying a whole bunch of tiny little circular needles, so you never have to break out the DPNs on a sleeve.  Maybe you love circulars, so you end up knitting everything on circulars and never touch straights again.  It’s really all up to you and your personal preference.  What do you prefer?

Getting to the Point, Part 1

knitting-needlesTechnically, all you need to knit is a skein of yarn and a couple sticks.  That’s it.  We talk about yarn weight, fiber content, dying, blah, blah, blah, all the time.  Often we forget about the knitting needles.  They’re probably feeling all left out.  So, let’s talk needles.

Historically, knitting needles have been made from just about anything you can think of (bone, horn, wood, metal etc.), but most needles you can find at your local knitting store are made from one of three materials, metal, wood (or bamboo), or plastic.  Whatever your needles are made of, they all perform essentially the same function, i.e. they hold your stitches as you knit.  But, as with everything in knitting, there are just about as many opinions on needles as there are knitters.

Metal needles are very rigid (because they’re made from metal… duh), but are really slippery and can be made with really pointy points, which makes them good for fuzzy or snaggy yarns or for really complex projects (like lace, or other textured patterns).

Wood and bamboo needles are much lighter than metal needles and slightly bendy, which makes them more comfortable if you have hand or wrist pain issues.  But, because  wood and bamboo are softer than metal (again… duh), the tips of these needles are usually more blunt than metal needles, which makes them a little harder to use when you’re doing fancy-pants lace work.  Supposedly, bamboo needles are supposed to be stronger, and more durable than wooden ones, but they seem about the same to me.

Most commercially available needles are metal or wood, but sometimes you’ll run across plastic ones, too.  They are usually somewhere between metal and wood on the bendiness/heaviness scale, and they come in fancy colors (sometimes with glitter!).  But (and maybe this is just my limited experience) they seem a little cheap to me.  I’ve had a couple pairs of plastic needles, one broke in half, and the tips of the other got beat up to the point where they looked like I had been chewing on them.  Not ideal, in my opinion.  But, if you love plastic needles, let me know! I like being proved wrong.

So, try knitting with different types of needles and see what you like the best.  I love me some metal needles when I’m using straights or circulars.  But, when I’m working with DPNs (making socks or mittens etc.), I like my bamboo needles.

What do you like best?