Fiber vs. Needle

needles

I never use metal needles! I never use bamboo needles! I never use circular needles!

This is the response I get from customers when I’m helping them find needles in the store. A preference to a certain style of needle is expected. They can be pricey, and not wanting to try new ones every project if you don’t have to is understandable. However, I have found over my many years of knitting that I base my needle choice on ease and enjoyment of the process, as well as getting a finished product that I love.

For me personally, I have chosen to solely use circular needles. They fit my style of knitting really well and I can use them for in-the-round or flat projects. But fiber is the biggest influence on what needles I choose.

Wool and Cotton — When I knit wool or cotton I always grab my Addi Turbos. Wool tends to stick to bamboo needles, as does cotton. That keeps my speed down and affects having an even gauge. I want to knit fast and consistently, so bamboo on wool is a no for me. The same is true for lace needles. Even though they are more slick than a bamboo needle they still are not as smooth as my go-to Turbos.

Silk and Linen — Silk and linen tend to be extra slippery on needles. This is great for speed, but not after having to pick up a row that slid right off your needles. Bamboo still tends to stick too much for the same reasons mentioned above, but I do want some ease of movement on my needles. This is when I grab my Addi Lace needles. They have a nice point to grab my stitches and they have some movement—but not so much that I’m constantly losing stitches or having to pick up dropped stitches repeatedly.

Mohair (or anything fine and unruly) — I knit my sister a lace shawl out of Mohair about 8 years ago. I was in my “I never use bamboo needles” phase. I starting the shawl over about 5 times because the mohair kept zooming off my Turbos and I had no idea how to pick up stitches from a charted row. I was loosing my mind! I finally listened to some advice and used bamboo needles. The rest of the shawl was a breeze! In fact, I enjoyed it and was sad to bind it off the needles.

The process of knitting is supposed to be enjoyable. Even when it’s a challenging technique or a stitch you’ve never tried…the one thing you can control is the way your stitches feel on your needles. So next time you hear yourself saying “I NEVER,” look back and see if this project is ready for a needle outside your comfort zone.

The post Fiber vs. Needle appeared first on Knit Purl Blog.

June 13, 2014 by Rachel Bishop
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