Knitting needles are the most important tool in my knitters arsenal. I was thinking about this the other day when I changed the type of needle I was using mid way through a project. I normally don't do this because it has the possibility of altering gauge, but in this case I really couldn't avoid it. I had been knitting along on a new sock design using Sanguine Gryphon Bugga and my trusted US 1 Harmony DPN's. My hands really started bothering me and continued to ache every time I worked on this project. Ive never had a problem with this yarn and I can't even count how many pairs of socks those Harmony's have made. This time it just felt like there was a lot of drag and my knitting wasn't smooth and rhythmic like it normally is. I tried the trick of rubbing wax paper on the needles which usually gets wooden needles slick. This time it didn't seem to make a difference. I wound up switching to my US 1 Signature Stiletto DPN's and no more hand pain. Not only that, but I noticed that my knitting went a lot faster.
I think of knitting needles as an investment. Long after the first project I used them on they will still be with me knitting countless other projects. And just because one type of needle didn't work this time, it doesn't mean that it wont be perfect for the next project.
I thought I would show a few of the DPN's that I use and talk about what I like about them:
Crystal Palace Bamboo
These are high quality bamboo and come with a super smooth finish. They glide nicely through knitting and have a more rounded tip than some other brands of needles. The bamboo will warm up in my hands and feels very comfortable. The rounded tips are nice for yarn that tends to be a bit splitty.
Made from laminated birch these have sharper points than the previous needles and a slightly smoother finish. They work well for projects with texture like lace and cables. The sharper points make it easier to pick up stitches.
Made from high quality stainless steel with a medium sharp tip. These needles are reasonably priced and preform like more expensive needles. They are smooth and surprisingly light weight. I like their tips and they are a good all around needle.
If you are looking for the Mercedes of needles, then Signature is the way to go. They come in several different tip options and needle lengths. I really love the Stiletto tips, which makes them perfect for lacework. The body of the needles has a very slight texture to them - not enough to make them grabby on the yarn, but just enough to stop slick yarns like silk and cashmere from falling off the needles. The ends and tips are very smooth which makes knitting with a breeze.
When choosing needles it's best to pick what feels and works best for you.
New sock: On Stranger Tides
Soon to Come!