Saturday, July 02, 2005

All the Needles in the World

A group met up at Changing Hands Thursday night and I was able to make it thanks to my darling husband Joe. He came home early so I could jet down to Tempe and sit for a bit. It was fun to see people, and to finally meet Maura from my comments section. Here is a picture, she’s the blond smiley one.

changing hands

And here’s the other side of the room:

changing hands 2

I worked a little on my red bag – I added a crocheted edge around the top that I may take off. It just doesn’t look right. I’m stuck on the white bag because I want to add beads but I can’t figure out how to thread the beads onto the yarn. I bought a beading needle but the eye is verrrrry tinnnnny, and I don’t have little threader. So I’m stuck. What do I do when I’m stuck? Start the next project of course. Here you can see my new Knitpicks Shine yarn being knit up into Ribby Shell:

cast on

I love this yarn – it is soft and great to knit. At only $2.29 a ball you just can’t beat the price. You could make a huge sweater for less than $30. I want to make this wonderful cabled sweater for Jack that is totally impractical but so cute I want to die when I see it. At least if I use cheaper yarn it won’t be such a waste, right? (I know, I’m rationalizing, but I LOVE this sweater so much. I can’t find an individual picture, but if you go here and scroll down to Cable and Rib Sweater w/Hood you will see what I mean.) And please don’t bother reminding me that I don’t think you should put hoods on baby sweaters. I know this, but I can’t stop myself.

I had to go buy two sets of needles yesterday in order to cast on for Ribby Shell. Joe was, once again, shocked and amazed that I could possibly need another needle. He asked “So, how many needles are there? Is it possible to have all the needles?”

I responded “Well, there are different types, circular, straight, double pointed….”

He interrupted “No, I asked, is it possible to have all the needles?” (Can you tell he’s been doing depositions a lot lately?)

“Well, I suppose so.”

“How many would that be?”

“I honestly cannot tell you.”

And since he wouldn’t let me tell him why this is such a difficult question to answer (by now he was frustrated and grumbling in the other room), I will share with you my copious knowledge of the knitting needle world. But first, just so you can see where he’s coming from, here is a look at my needle case:


Outside of this case I probably have another ten or so sets of needles. Maybe more. I know, it’s a lot, but there’s a lot to keep in mind when buying needles.

First, they are made of different materials. Some are plastic, some are wood, some are bamboo, some are metal, some are made from the shin bones of llamas that live on the coast of Peru. There is much debate about what the best materials is for creating the perfect needle, but I am here to tell you there is no one best needle. Sure, I like Addi Turbos just as much as the next knitter, but if you’re knitting lace weight yarn you will be sorely disappointed with the slippery mess you create. (For the uninitiated, these needles are about 3 times more expensive than others, so the needle snobs are out in force trying to convince the world they are the ONLY needles to buy.)

Secondly they come in three different types: straight (the common needle, the ones you see on Six Feet Under where all they knit are scarves), circular (for knitting heavy projects or hats), and double pointed needles (socks, tops of hats, and I-cords).

Then you have to deal with size and length. This is where I ran into trouble yesterday. I needed size 6 circulars with a 29 inch cord. And they couldn’t be bamboo because I’m knitting cotton. (Bamboo is great for lace weight yarn or, oddly, for bamboo yarn.) And to be honest, my favorite metal needle is Susan Bates Quicksilvers – only $5.50 a pair instead of $16 for addis. Plus they aren’t as slippery and I like the sound they make when they hit one another. The closest yarn store to me didn’t have 29 inch cords, only 24. Could I get away with it? Hard to tell without buying the needles and casting on the project, but I decided to go out on a limb and get them.

So there is my small dissertation on needles. I am learning more with every project. Like the fact that lace is best knit on straight needles because circulars pull on the little yarn-overs. And socks are best on metal needles because the little wood ones snap like toothpicks. So my education as a knitter continues, and I’m sure someday I will have all the needles.

And now on to sad news. I’m afraid my pink Cashmerino Chunky Sweater project has been jinxed somehow. Or maybe the yarn is occupied by demons. I don’t know what is wrong with this project but I just can’t make it work. First the cabled fiasco. Then the wrong gauge on size 17 needles. Then I bought the size 19(!) needles and cast on, only to realize I didn’t have large enough stitch markers. I finally got started, cast on, was knitting happily away, and then this:

new short row

If you look at the stitches on the green part of the needle you will see a gap. This is also known as a short row. It means that on the last row I knit up to this point, turned the work and knit back to the end. So that little edge piece has one less row than the rest of the sweater. I can’t believe I made this stupid weird mistake. It must be the fault of the yarn, because I certainly wouldn’t do this on my own.

So there you have it. Joe is home all weekend, we hardly have a single plan save for some family parties and celebrations, so I plan to knit and relax as much as I can.


Blogger Mac and Caden said...

Don't forget to count the needles that you brought me when Mac was in the hospital that I think I accidentally packed away with the Christmas decorations...

10:04 PM  
Blogger PJS said...

I really want you to call your first knitting book (or novel, or memoir) "All the Needles in the World."

You'll have a guaranteed cross-market among knitters and intraveinous drug-users.

10:09 AM  
Blogger potusol said...

I want to add to what P said and offer an alternative title to your book.

"All the Needles in the World Couldn't Help You Now"

It just sounds so much more ominous, and marketable.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe people make needles from the shinbones of llamas. That's appalling and ridiculous. What a vain world!

4:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home