Wednesday, September 14, 2005

On Needles

Last Thursday I pulled out my knitting at knit night at my LYS, only to find that both of my needles were broken. I had the work divided over the two needles, so it was quite a task switching the stitches to the new needles I had to buy. The way the needles stuck out of my work, they looked like broken limbs.

Mary took a picture with her phone and posted it here. She then gave her opinion of wooden needles. While I can't refute her claims entirely, I would like to point out that the needles that broke were birch, which are more brittle than bamboo. Bamboo has some flexibility, and I haven't had any serious problems with them (except for the occasional 6" zero double-pointed needles that snapped like the toothpicks they were). In fact, for some projects and some yarns I prefer bamboo.

People definitely have preferences when it comes to needles. Many of my knitting friends only use circular needles, no matter what their projects. Some prefer straight needles and only use circular when they absolutely have to. I think to a certain extent it depends on what needles you learned on, and what the most influential knitters in your life use.

I first learned to knit when I was really little, maybe before I was five. I'm pretty sure my needles were those old pastel colored aluminum ones. I only knit once or twice, and I added and lost stitches willy nilly throughout the process. I don't remember binding off and I have no idea what happened to the mess I created. Then, when I taught myself to knit this time around, I used a kit, also from Susan Bates, that came with aluminum 7s and 10s.

So it should come as no surprise that I prefer 10" straight metal needles when I can get away with them, followed by 12" straight bamboo. I'll use circular if I'm working in the round or with a lot of stitches, but I definitely prefer metal to bamboo on circulars. The yarn catches where the bamboo is connected to the cable. For some projects I like the Addi Turbos, but most of the time I don't notice much difference between those and any other metal ones. I'm not too crazy about birch (for the above reason), but I basically bought a set of them when my LYS brought some in.

For scarves, I like the Susan Bates brightly colored lucite needles. They're short and have sharp points so they're especially good for novelty yarns.

I think the fancy ones with the gee-gaws on the ends are pretty, but I'd rather be spending my money on yarn.

And I reckon that's about all I got to say on the subject. (Reference, anyone?)

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