Knitting, review

I am a metal needle convert

I use to swear by bamboo needles. This stems from my hatred of plastic needles. When I bought my first pair of bamboo circulars I thought my two choices were bamboo or plastic and I wanted nothing to do with plastic needles anymore.

At first my bamboo needles served me well. They were sharp and more substantial than any plastic ones I had used. So when I needed needles in a different size I naturally gravitated towards bamboo.

About a year ago that changed. I bought a interchangeable set that was made of laminated birch. My yarn slipped so gracefully over the laminated needles and the points were much sharper than my aging bamboo needles. This needle set was my gateway drug into the world of metal needles.

At Christmas time my then fiance and I were headed to Florida for a week. I had a lot of knitting I wanted to get done and I wasn’t sure that my old bamboo needles would last the entire trip. (They did! In fact, my bamboo circs are still kicking though it is clear they are not long for this world.) I did not have time to order needles off of Amazon or Knitpicks so I headed to my LYS. When the woman behind the counter asked if I wanted metal or bamboo I said metal, on a whim.

Metal needles changed my life. They are like knitting magic. Yarn glides so easily over my needles that it practically cuts the time needed to complete a project in half! Okay, not really but I really do knit faster with metal needles.

I have looked back a couple times. I’ve knit a couple projects on bamboo needles since Christmas though I’ve almost always regretted it. I am slowly increasing my collection of metal needles and that will take time but from now on metal needles will always be my preference.

Bamboo or acrylic needles still have their place. The TSA is less likely to confiscate your knitting if it’s not on metal needles. If you’re going to an event where you will have to pass through a metal detector like a concert or professional sporting event a metal alternative needle is preferable.

Knitting, review, tutorial

Sewn Bind Off

In my last post I talked about how much I hated the look of Jenny’s Super Stretchy Bind off. Lack of a better bind off option had really turned me off toe-up sock knitting. Not only is Jenny’s bind off unappealing to look at, it is so stretchy that the cuff no longer holds the sock up on the wearer’s leg. In my opinion this sliding down completely defeats the purpose of knitting a cuff for your sock in the first place.

Enter, the sewn bind off. It’s still not as aesthetically pleasing as a cast on edge but it looks way better then Jenny’s super stretchy bind off. Plus the cuff actually retains its shape, which is a definite bonus.

Tutorial 

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You need to leave a tail that is three times the width of your project. Since a sock is round you need to remember that the circumference is twice the width of your project. I left a tail that was six times as wide of the top of my sock when it was laying flat.

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After cutting the tail I thread it through my yarn needle. Yes, that needle is orange and no, I didn’t buy is with the intention of doing tutorials. I thread the needle through the first two stitches purlwise.2017-03-31 12.55.27

Next, I thread the needle through the first stitch knitwise and pulled the stitch off of my knitting needle.

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Then I just repeated the last two steps all the way around. It left a nice edge that was stretchy but not too stretchy.

I hope this post helps those of you who are looking for an alternative to the sewn bind off!

Knitting, review, socks

Knitting Socks on 9 in Circular Needles

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I love knitting socks and I always have a pair on the needles.¬†Recently, I’ve been switching up how I knit socks in an attempt to find a faster way… so I can knit more socks.

This week I’m testing out 9″ circs and so far I have to say I am not impressed. I originally wanted to knit an entire pair of socks on my 9″ circ so I could give the method an honest review but I think I am going to have to settle for just one sock. This 9″ circ is just not working for me.

First the Pros of 9″ circs

  1. One Needle Wonder

I can’t be the only person that loses one of their dpns part way through a project. If you were to dissect my couch I am sure you would find a fair number of dpns that have been swallowed up over the years. With 9″ circs there is only one needle to keep track of and it is attached to the project the whole time. If your 9″ circ goes M.I.A. part way through a sock finding it will be the least of your issues.

2. No Laddering

With a 9″ circ there is no laddering up the side of the sock. For me this is only sort of a pro to this method because the laddering doesn’t really bother me. Also, any laddering that results from knitting socks on magic loop or dpns is going to block out anyway. But if laddering is a bigger deal for you than maybe 9″ circs are for you.

3. No Odd Pattern Breaks

With 9″ circs there are no weird pattern breaks that sometimes happen when you knit on dpns. While this is a pro of 9″ circs, it’s also a pro of magic loop.

Now the Cons

  1. There’s Nothing to Grip

I found that with 9″ circs the needle portion is so short that I didn’t have anything solid to hold on to. I had to hold the cable and my knitting, which I really didn’t like.

2. Stitch Dropping Minefield

Again, 9″ circs are short which makes it REALLY easy for stitches to slip off the ends. Be prepared to live and die by your needle end caps or carry a crochet hook so you can pick up the dropped stitches. It seemed like every time I put the sock down stitches were slipping off the ends.

3. Not Enough Room

I feel like all of my problems stem from how short 9″ circs are. When knitting my socks there was not enough room to move and work the stitches. The cable was just not long enough for me.

4. Stress to Joints

Knitting on a 9″ circ put a lot of stress on my fingers and wrists. My hands and wrists would ache after just a little bit of knitting.