Friday, January 11, 2013

Square knitting needles: resistance to change

Oh for the days when I was torn between my new square double pointed needles and my old Harmony Wood double points from KnitPicks.  Life was so simple then.

The quandary: the new squares felt better and knit easier, but the tips were so sharp! I was afraid I'd hurt somebody on a crowded subway.

Then I fell in love with the squares, and learned to hunch while knitting on the subway, and bought more, which is how I was introduced to the 5" length, because the shop where I bought them was out of my usual 7".

Somebody pointed out the last time I posted about these needles that it must be making me crazy to knit a sock on a 7" long needle, and of course, after that, it did.  And how!

Where we are today

A few weeks ago I finally spotted 6" sock needles at my most local source of square needles - I'd been holding out for more 5" but never found any - and luxuriously bought two sets.  This week, when I realized it was again going to make me totally crazypants to knit my newest At Home sock on the 7" needles they started on, I quickly moved them over to one of the two new sets.

Whoa.  Something was not right.

Yes, I had noticed the packaging art for the new set had changed to a cool blue from a wam green and black.  The needles are now made in the USA and the packaging has been updated to match.  I also noticed that the colour of the needle had changed.  But that's just cosmetic.  Who cares about cosmetics?

This blurry photo may actually do a better job of noting the difference.  The old needle is on the left - coppery colour, slightly more light reflecting off the slightly more beveled edges of the length, slightly blunter tip.

Yep, the new tip is even sharper than before.

And do I mean sharp!  Never mind the subway, I'm nervous to work with these on a crowded couch.

Plus, the change in material doesn't just impact the sides.  The needle actually has more grab than the slicker original, and the lettering printed into the sides of the newbie, more so.  My stitches keep getting caught on it, in fact.

Le sigh.


Now, some knitters may love the even sharper tip, and the grabbier material - lacy silk socks or hats, anyone?

And it may be, too, that the metal will eventually gloss up with use under my hands.  It's not like it smells bad or produces an allergic reaction - both things that have happened to me with lesser, quickly abandoned needles.  Nope, these needles are fine. Really.

Not to mention that the crisper sides, being produced by more bulk in the needle, may absorb the difference in stitch size I got when I moved up a needle size to compensate for the loss of mass.

Still.  When I realized what I had, I did the only thing a sensible knitter in love with an out of production tool can do: I bought out The Needle Emporium's old stock in the two sizes I love best.  (5" length, naturally.  heaven!)

ps I love this store and I've only been to it in person at yarn shows.  it's fabulous and well worth checking out.

In other news

Late last night I finally got back to the wrong turn I took in the Travel Sock's cuff.  It had happened on the second round.  gah! but all is well now and the cuff has moved on to the straight-knitting part.

This weekend I hope to wade entirely back to shore from the molasses pond that got dumped into the middle of my life, and then do some serious starting of new projects (or at least finishing of old ones.)  I'm not sure whether even the first part of that Hope is achievable, but I hope the second part happens for us all.  Either way, have a great couple of days and I'll see you again Monday!

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