Monthly Archives: May 2011
My husband calls my gauge swatches “prototypes.” At first I was amused by this, but really, he’s right. A prototype is a proof-of-concept, something that validates what you’re attempting. And isn’t that what a swatch is?
So what *is* this mysterious blob? I am currently working on Every Last Yard, which is a lovely, seamless top-down sweater by Amy Swenson. I’m using Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn (in Celadon), which is simply heavenly stuff. (I’ve made two scarves out of it and am already thinking about what I can knit next with it!) I’m making pretty quick progress on it, so more pictures to come soon!
A lovely and talented friend of mine gave me this wonderful set of stitch markers the other day:
Aren’t they neat? I know I will enjoy using them. Not only are they attractive, they’re a knitting tool that will make my projects easier. (I can’t imagine tackling a complicated lace project without stitch markers. Ouch!!)
I’ve been thinking a lot about knitting tools lately. My husband loves to say that you need the right tool for the job, and I think this one of those cliches that became a cliche because it’s so frequently true. When you have the wrong tool (or the right tool in poor condition) a simple or enjoyable task can become tedious or frustrating, and the results may not be what you hoped for. If you’re going to chop vegetables, would you prefer to use a dull, rusted knife with a flimsy blade or a well-balanced knife with a good, sharp edge?
Knitting tools are no different. Good tools can make your knitting easier and more enjoyable, and can help you finish your projects faster and obtain the results you want.
So what tools are in your knitting bag? First off, of course, are your knitting needles. I blogged about my new pair of Signature knitting needles the other day. They have very sharp, slick points, so I can execute even tricky stitches like k3tog or p2tog tbl with ease. The cables are very flexible, and they turn freely where they join the needle, so my stitches won’t become tangled or distorted. These needles are expensive, but they make lace knitting easier and more enjoyable for me, so I think they are well worth the price tag. I also have two sets of Signature double-pointed needles that I use for sock knitting.
I also use and enjoy my Knit Picks nickel-plated needles. They are also very slick, so even bulky sweater yarns glide along them with ease. The interchangeable needles make it easy (and afforable) to always have just the right length of cable, and I have found that I can swap between the circular needles and the double-pointed needles as I work from sweater to sleeve without worrying about changes in gauge.
As you can tell, I prefer metal needles. I started out knitting with wood needles, but my stitches were so tight that I felt like I was fighting to move the yarn along the slightly “grippy” surface wood needles provide. But I know other knitters who refuse to use anything but wood needles; they find metal needles too slick or too cold or too inflexible to use comfortably. Still other knitters prefer needles made of plastic, carbon fiber (the same material used to make Stealth Bombers), or even milk!
So I’m curious… what needles do you use? And why?