On Pins and Needles

Friday, April 10, 2009

Isn’t it amazing that what we are doing today with our knitting and crocheting skills is exactly the same things that have been done for hundreds of years all over the world? Of course the fibers have changed and we are using many new and beautiful yarns in addition to some of the same kind of hand-spun and -loomed yarns that many times are produced by knitters themselves.

It is the knitting implements themselves that are so different today; once being made from bone as well as wood. Today we have many kinds of needles (they used to be called “pins” in the British Isles) from which to choose. In response to the inquiries I have received regarding my preferences, I will tell you I almost always use circular needles; either both unjoined like a pair, or joined in a closed circle. My only straights are double points. As far as metal or bamboo or plastic, at times I have used all of these.

I like to use bamboo needles when knitting with very light weight or fingering yarns as the weight of the needles does not affect the quality of my knitting. I like metal with heavier fibers that require more pushing along the needle as the slick finish of the metal means I do not have to work as hard.

Beginning knitters progress faster when using plastic or bamboo or wood as they don’t have to worry about their stitches falling off the slicker metal needles. If you are relatively new to the world of knitting and have not yet invested in a large assortment of needles, which are getting quite expensive, I would recommend that you consider one of the interchangeable sets that are on the market.

In these sets, everything comes in a convenient kit. You can convert to almost any size from 2 or 3 thru 15 by simply connecting the heads to different lengths of pliable tubing. The most inexpensive one is made by Boye Needle Co, who I believe was the originator of this idea. Their needle heads are metal and screw together with the tubing.

The most popular in recent years is made by Denise needles. The heads are plastic, have the pointiest points and lock into place. They are also now making spare parts available separately and by the way will replace any defective part at their expense for $1.00.

The newest set is now being brought out by the Skacel Yarn Company. They are a German company and have had the most successful metal circulars on the market for the last 10 years (called addi Turbo Needles). They are also the most expensive set by far but are a very good product. I assume that sometime soon one of the bamboo makers will hop on the bandwagon and bring something similar out. Most of these products are available in most yarn stores.

In my next post, I'll make some suggestions for great Mother's Day gifts, since we are getting close (May 10th -- you have a month!).

By the way, if you haven’t yet figured out that taking a needle inventory and keeping it on a card in your wallet is a great thrifty idea and keeps you from buying duplicates you can’t always take back, think about it! IT WORKS! In another post, I’ll show you an example....
Knits by Jani. Design by Pocket