Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Square knitting needles (or, how I fell in love)

Remember last fall I was kinda agonizing about the square knitting needles I bought at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair? 

I had needed to update my supply of 2.25mm Harmony Wood dpns from KnitPicks, but I was also open to trying another brand or material.  I don't love bamboo in that size as it can be so bendy, and there weren't any Addi dpns at the fair, but at the very end of the day I found a whole display rack of Kollage Yarns square needles and thought I'd try them.  I was warned at the time that some knitters need to go up a size with the square needles, but I decided to ignore that advice and bought two sets of 6" long 2.25 dpns.

Buyer's Remorse, Round 1

The gauge I got with 2.25mm square needles turned out to be the gauge I'd get with 2.0mm round needles.  Oops! Still got those first socks on, but they're snug. 

Also: the needles, they are pointy.  SUPER pointy.  And metal.  If you brush past somebody while knitting with slender bamboo needles, the bamboo will bend before you do any harm to the somebody.  With the square needles, it's gonna be the somebody who gets hurt.  I started to get nervous taking socks on the subway, which is for me about 72% of the point of knitting socks.

Finally: the heel of my right hand turned out to be in exactly the wrong place not to be jabbed by that really sharp tip. 

Turning My Back, Temporarily

 After I went back to my KnitPicks needles, which were getting progressively blunter at the ends, I started knitting heavier socks with 2.5mm needles, of which I had only one dpn set.  Since I was doing some crazy levels of concurrent knitting at the time, I needed more.  I started haunting the KnitPicks site waiting for dpns to go on sale, since the company charges shipping to Canada and that puts the price pretty high for a few pairs of needles. 

When I finally got too impatient, I stopped by a local yarn store that sold square needles and bought a 2.75mm pair.  Ha! Learned my lesson and went up a size. 

The socks knitted up like a dream.  I just didn't knit those ones on the subway and everything was fine.

From Fondness to Obsession

Sometime before Christmas I casually mentioned that I would be open to having a set or two of square needles in a 2.5mm size.  Remarks like this usually lead to my getting things like four sets of square needles in a 2.5mm size because apparently, I am hard to buy for.


This did not happen.  It seemed the local stores were out of 2.5mm square needles.  So naturally, I decided to buy them myself.  But the local store never restocked that size (or any other size, which makes me think they are not planning to, which is a shame.) 

And in the meantime, the KnitPicks needles were getting blunter and blunter and even starting to split, which made every stitch a struggle.  (I am not disrespecting Harmony Wood needles here: I've put them through a lot of use and abuse, and consider it amazing they've lasted this long.)

Pretty soon I was hunting for 2.5mm square needles wherever I went.  I didn't even remember any more why I needed them.  I just knew I had to buy some the very next chance I got.

Buyer's Remorse, Round 2

Guess what I found at The Gathering?

I was so far down the MUST. HAVE. path by then, I bought out the shop's entire supply of 2.5mm square needles.  As I paid for them I tried to not calculate what a similar number of KnitPicks needles would cost, shipping included.  All that mattered was that I had finally completed my mission... at least until I finished paying for them.  And also when I took them out of my purse again, and when I took that picture.  Is it just me or are those pricetags outlined in neon lights?

Oh, and can we take a moment to discuss needle length?  7" and 5".  WHAT was I thinking?  7" needles will be even more stabby on the subway!

At Long Last Love

You know how I've been hating the socklets?  Well, a few days after I brought the new square needles home I finally remembered why I had wanted to buy new square needles.

Now I am loving the socklets.  And I am loving the 7" needles because guess what?  The end doesn't jab into my right hand any more.  I can save the 5-inchers for subway knitting.  Everyone's a winner.

ps those needles look so scary, don't they?  like stabby spider things.  I've taken them on the subway anyway though... just very, very carefully.

pps square needles really are awesome.  they are so much easier to grip, and pretty light, and just so kind to your hands and arms.  I love love love them and recommend them for sure.

ppps knitter's frolic is this weekend! totally hunting for more 2.75mm square needles for concurrent winter sock knitting.


Viking Knitter said...

<3 <3 <3 square needles. I use the boye artisan ones. have a circular set in 4, 6, 8, 10 1/2, and 15. going to get another set in 6 and 8 (for larger/smaller circular work) and a dpn in size 2 for socks.

im obsessed too.. when I hit a LYS and they dont have square needles.. I let out a little sigh.

Susan Sutton said...

Thank you Viking Knitter & Hugs For Your Heads for your reviews. I went ahead and purchased 2 pair of Boye artisan tools square knitting needles. 1 straight and 1 circular. They r a complete joy to work with. It feels great. Great Control and i feel less tired when i am knitting for long periods of time.I found a great deal from this site.