Today we have a guest-crafter and blogger sharing her insights about knitting tools. A big welcome and thanks to Krista Moreno!
As I walk down the aisles of my local craft store I come across the knitting needle section. I become over-whelmed with excitement of the different colors, sizes and types of knitting needles and crochet hooks. I do have to admit I have given in to my temptation and purchase a ridiculous novelty item that either breaks or stops working. I realize now that I donâ€™t really need to have a pair of knitting needles that glow in the dark or a glittery crochet hook. I just want the tool to do its job to complete my project. (But it does help if the tool takes the ease off of your hands and fingers or as well as works with a certain technique like Intarsia or felting.)
Before the internet age helpful websites likes Ravelry.com or You tube (that have thousands of videos from Expert VillageÂ on tutorials on what to buy and what to start with) were still ideas un-discovered. There was little for me to know about. I bought a pair of metal knitting needles at my local Wal-mart by going by the label on the yarn I was using. Soon after I was accumulating more needles in different sizes and made of different materials.
I had no such problem with either type of knitting needle until I had made friends with local crafty women in my scene. We had all taken a trip to Austin for the day to attend Stitch an alternative craft and fashion show held at the Austin Convention Center. In my true forum I had busted out my current knitting project at that moment since it was so close to the holiday season. (Believe me you want to start early if you are planning to make everyone in your family aÂ handmade gift.)Â Our whole debate in the car was how nobody liked metal needles and the noise they made when clanged together. It didnâ€™t really bother me since I was so fast with them I never heard anything.
I tested many types of needles to get a feel and to understand what was best and which of them I would never use again all. So here I am breaking it down for you in a small article for the excited shopper or the new knitter!
Keep in mind there are three types of knitting needles: straight, circulars and double- pointed. Along with the three types there are three different materials that they are made of: metal, plastic and wood.
The straight needles are usually 10-16 inches long with a flat post at the end to hold your stitches while your work on the beginning of the row. Straight needles are best for flat projects like scarves or parts of sweaters. Double pointed needles come in a set of five and are used for knitting in a round.Â Socks, beanies and some sweater patterns call for the use of double pointed. The Circular knitting needle is the new kid on the block of the fiber art club. With two needles attached to a long plastic cord it takes on the massive knitting project like afghans and berets its ability to work flat or in the round many companies make interchangeable needle sets which will run you from $20-$50 but is worth every penny with its different size cords and needles.
Once you have worked with the different types you will either love them or hate them for what they are made of. Hence more fun to the try and true method.
- WOOD: Through out most of the century dating back to Christ all knitting needles were made from wood.Now a days bamboo needles are all the rage with indie crafters and designers a like. The project stays perfectly still on the smooth sanded light weight needle compared to its metal counterpart. Its an organic approach in our green eco-friendly re-useable bag culture.
- PLASTIC: It is my honest opinion that plastic needles are flimsyÂ unless it is a size 13 and up. Although this type of needle is great for children learning how to knit its durability doesnâ€™t hold up to wood or metal. Wood and metal have an advantage in this department outlasting being lugged around in a bag and enduring abuse from many crafters.
- METAL: An industrial feel that outlasts way past its time. You canâ€™t recycle this unless youâ€™re a master in welding. Not a favorite to the green generation at all. The noise it makes clicking and clacking when in use annoys and bothers some. The metal is sleek and the stitches tend to slip off. Which really isnâ€™t good for beginner knitters yet easier for the most advanced.
You way in the pros and cons of each type and see what works well for you. It still doesnâ€™t hurt to splurge once in every blue moon on nifty novelties in your neck of the woods just remember to do your homework and keep your receipt other wise your stuck with it until the next garage sale!
Read more of Krista’s crafty pursuits on her blog, xcitizensugarkanex.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter: @Cupcake_Moreno!
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