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Conversational Threads

Wood vs. metal needles

peggyv | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

I have a question about knitting needles.  Do you favor any particular type of wooden needle?  I love the way wood needles feel, but I feel I can knit a lot faster on metal needles.  I think the yarn just doesn’t slide off my wood needles as easily.  Has anyone tried rosewood or birch needles?  They are expensive, but I wouldn’t mind if they were worth it.



  1. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #1

    I found that new wood needles are slower than the ones I have worked with for a while until they have been conditioned by the oils on my hands.  Have you tried running your wooden needles through your hair to condition them?  I find that once they are polished they do speed up a fair bit.  Cathy

    1. sewchris703 | | #4

      We hadn't thought of that. We do that with diaper pins. Thanks for the tip.Chris

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #7

        It was my grandmother who taught me that.  I am lucky enough to have her old ones, well worn and conditioned.  I do not know what they are made of, but they are worn very smooth and slippery.  Cathy

  2. damascusannie | | #2

    I find bamboo a nice compromise between metal and wood--slicker than wood, but warmer and more flexible than metal. I especially like them in DPNs because they aren't quite as slick as say, my Addi Turbo circulars. I agree that has they get used, the yarn does slide more easily.

  3. sewchris703 | | #3

    I don't knit, I crochet. But my dd, who does knit, says the same thing. But she has only tried bamboo needles. They have very blunt points. She has had good results knitting with wool yarn on the bamboo needles but still prefers the metal needles. I gave her some old steel needles that were my grandmother's and she loves those, especially with yarn that has a tendency to split. They have stiletto points on them.Chris

    1. damascusannie | | #6

      Some of the larger bamboo needles do tend to have kind of blunt points but that can be fixed with a little handheld pencil sharpener and some sandpaper. You just give the points a twist or two (go slowly, you don't want to make them too sharp!) and then sand them smooth. I like to use about 400 grit for the first sanding and then use 600 if they seem a bit dull. You can polish them with a nail buffing block if they still seem a bit rough.

      1. katina | | #9

        Thanks for this good tip Annie.  I use my wooden needles to hold stitches on large projects. Have you seen or read about the wonderful knitted carpets done by the Guildsmen as part of the requirements to become a Master Knitter? It seems they were worked on some kind of frame, or a series of needles. I do this when knitting a large blanket or afghan - it's much easier to spread the work out this way.


        1. damascusannie | | #12

          No, I haven't. I wonder if they used a frame like the knitting boards that are being used quilt a bit these days. http://www.knittingboard.com/articles.asp?id=156

          1. katina | | #13

            Thanks for the link, Annie. It could be they used something like this, but I also read somewhere that it's possible they were knitted on a series of long double-points. I've seen some of these carpets in museums - they boggle the brain!


            Edited to add:

            Annie, from what I remember of these, they were single bed knitting, that is, done in stocking stitch. The board you linked to is double bed. If frames were used, my guess is some kind of long board with a row of nails. The stitches would then be looped off like you do when knitting on a cotton reel. This would be very laborious, but has the advantage of making the colourwork so much easier. I assume then that rows could be started from either the left or the right side of the work, and that the right side of the work would always be facing the knitter.

            Edited 10/19/2008 11:38 am ET by Katina

          2. damascusannie | | #14

            I once knitted a HUGE shawl on two circular needles held end to end, so I can see how rugs could be knitted on a series of DPNs. Interesting idea and a much better way to handle the problem than one tremendously long needle.

          3. katina | | #15

            Our posts just crossed. Yes, I knit shawls like this, sometimes using 3 needles. I much prefer knitting long rows - gets it done quicker, particularly when working with several colours as you have fewer ends to deal with.

            I'm going to see if I can find pictures I took in Germany of one of these carpets.


          4. katina | | #16

            I found the pictures. Here's one of the whole carpet - it's not too bad of a snapshot, considering space and lighting.


          5. damascusannie | | #17


          6. katina | | #18

            Yes, absolutely fantastic. The name plate says made in 1749.

          7. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #19

            Master knitter is right.  That is truly a work of art, and stunningly beautiful.  Thank you for sharing the photo.  Cathy

          8. katina | | #20

            Hi Cathy

            I'm going to try to post another pic - this one a close up. That way you can see the knitted stitches very clearly.


          9. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #21

            Ok, so how did you know that I would have loved that?  Never mind, thank you thank you thank you!  That is one of the most amazing things!  Cathy

          10. katina | | #22

            It's easy to recognize another enthusiast - I knew you'd like to see more detail. 

            I know the experts surmise these were done on frames, but somehow I think they were indeed done on a series of double points - wouldn't the stitches have been much more regular if worked on a peg frame?


          11. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #23

            I agree, the varying tensions in the different blocks of colours, indicate to me that needles were used.  It would have been easier to keep an even tension and even rows on a board.  I have knit a fair amount of fair isle and block knitting (pardon the pun) and it can be hard to keep the tension even when using so many strands and blocks.  On a board with pins, the strands would have lain looser on the back, they would not have been carried by the hands, and the tension would have been not as tight in some areas. 

            Most fair isle or block knitting uses only 3 colours in a row.  Some of the rows in that pattern use far more than that.  I have knit a pattern that used 5 colours, and it was tough to keep the tension even with that many strands, as it is quite bulky from the back, even with blocked colours.  It looks to be a combination of both, stranding and block.  And the handspun yarns used are not as even as we knit with today.  I am truly impressed.   Cathy

          12. katina | | #24

            Thanks for the input, Cathy. I wasn't expecting to see such a piece when we visited the museum; it was tucked into a corner so was not very prominent. I gasped out loud when I saw it and got some very strange looks!


          13. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #25

            Tee hee, reminds me of when I went to the Art Gallery in Ottawa with my brother.  He is a cabinet maker.  He actually crawled under one of the pieces of furniture on display there to see how it was made.  The guards were mortified!  They could not understand what he was doing!  He had to explain that furniture was like a sculpture, and had to be seen from all angles, and he was not touching it.  It was not roped off or anything. 

            Art comes in all forms, and when you have an appreciation for a particular form, you are going to react!  There are just very few who understand the technical aspects of textile art.  When you see an old piece like that, you can't help but get excited.  I would have spent hours looking at it, and my family would have had to drag me out of there, protesting!  tee hee   Cathy

          14. katina | | #26

            Ah, you're a kindred spirit.....


          15. rodezzy | | #27


          16. MaryinColorado | | #28

            That is incredible!  Thanks for sharing!  I'm not a knitter, but certainly appreciate the artists' creation!  Mary

          17. katina | | #29

            To be admitted as an apprentice to a knitting guild in the 18th century, the applicant had to complete a number of pieces with 13 weeks.  A carpet, gloves, stockings and various other items were required in this period. Ye gods! The guilds were open only to men, interestingly enough.


          18. MaryinColorado | | #30

            All that to become an apprentice?  Wow!  They must have become incredible artisans.  "We've come a long way, baby," as women.  It's a shame so many artforms have been lost through the centuries.  Mary

          19. katina | | #31

            It would take me that long only to graph out a VERY simplified version of that carpet, and as for even attempting to knit it....! Some of the motifs were doubtless available in the workshops as I've seen other such pieces with very similar bird and flower designs.


          20. MaryinColorado | | #32

            It seems almost like magic, that it could be accomplished at all, let alone in the time alotted.  Mary

          21. rodezzy | | #33

            Well, with out cable TV, cars and a full time job, you had plenty of time to work.  giggle.  But they did have to go through a lot to get dinner on the table.

            Hey ladies, speaking of knitting and crocheting.  I've made two shawls and two ponchos over the last three weeks.  Will send pictures as soon as I get settled back into my routine here. 

          22. MaryinColorado | | #34

            I hope they will be warm and cozy now that the weather is getting so chilly.  Today is below 60 and foggy and we may have rain turning to snow by tonight.  brrrrrrrrr  I know it's coming, but am never prepared it seems.  Glad that you are!  Can't wait to see the photos.  Blessings to you!  Mary

          23. rodezzy | | #35

            Thanks.  You are so sweet.  Hey, on the Crochet Pattern Central I found a "felted Item" link for those who want to make a felted item and don't knit.  Have fun!!!  giggle


          24. MaryinColorado | | #36

            Thanks for sharing that website, there is loads of inspiration there, love free patterns too, of course.  Mary

          25. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #39

            Hey Cutie!  Thanks for the link!  Looks like a lot of fun packed into the site, and the sister knitting site.  Looking forward to the pics.  Have unpacked yet more yarn from Mom's boxes, and need to use up miles of it.  Lots of acrylic afghan wools.  Going to do some for the local hospice I think.   After christmas.   Cathy

          26. rodezzy | | #40

            Who said that afghan wool is for afghans, is it a superwash yarn?  Can you felt it?  If so, make some mittens, hats, purses and/or bags and felt them.

          27. starzoe | | #41

            FYI superwash yarn will not felt. However, it is ideal for the projects you mentioned.

          28. rodezzy | | #42

            I know that, that's why I asked to see if you could felt it if it wasn't superwash.

          29. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #43

            Most of it is acrylic wool and won't felt.  I have used up smaller bits for hats and mitts already.  I am sorting the lots as I unpack it.  There are large lots suitable for larger projects like afghans and sweaters, but personally, I do not like working with the acrylics.  They burn my fingers.  I like the natural fibres better.  That is why I was thinking afghans.   The newer acrylics are nicer than some of these older types.  Not that there is anything wrong with them.  Purses are an idea tho.  Cathy

          30. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #49

            While I was away, went to a craft show in Burlington.  Saw some crazy hats done with two types of yarn.  One yarn was just a regular yarn, the other a fancy, like an eyelash or a ribbon.  They were worked together as one, either knit or crochet, on larger needles or hooks.  They looked like they would work up fast and fun.  Looked like a good idea for using up some of my mega stash.  They were just basic shapes, but they looked pretty.   Cathy

          31. rodezzy | | #52

            Yes, I've used lots of novelty yarns with regular smooth yarns of all types in my crocheting and knitting.  I crochet much more than knit, and I love the effects of the novelty yarns with the regular smooth yarns.  Lots of fun results.

          32. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #53

            Guess the crochet/knit bunch round these parts are pretty traditional in their work if I am only seeing this kind of thing now.  Mind you, the colour choices are pretty boring round here as well.  Got to travel pretty far to get colour.  Typical for a national capital, got to be serious and all.  LOL   Cathy

          33. rodezzy | | #54

            As far as shopping for yarn, I'm pretty lucky living in Chicago.  I find everything on the market, somewhere in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.  Money is the only thing hard to find......giggle.

          34. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #55

            Yeeaahh!!!!  But it does make the hunt for bargains that much sweeter!  Spoiled myself and bought for my stash this week.  (oops! said I wasn't going to do that for a while didn't I?  Oh well, it was too sweet to resist.)  Have you partly to blame, tee hee.  Your witchy woman was too hard to resist.  Have been working on a ceramic scarecrow for my garden, he needed clothes, so bought stuff for him.  While shopping in Vermont, saw the most georgeous pumpkin glittery organza for Halloween!  On Sale!  40% off!  Bought 4 yards.  No Idea what I will do with it-yet.  This year will be a table drape, next year probably a dress for a doll.  It just bit me bigtime!  Thought it would be great for a Halloween doll.  Oh well,  never said I had a lot of will power, tee hee.  Cathy

          35. rodezzy | | #62

            O.K. I take some blame, and I'm happy for you.  It's so good to see something and get it at a deep discount.  I found more yarn at the Dollar Tree yesterday.  mmmmmmm delicious. 

            I'll be waiting to see a doll from you missy, since I'm to blame.....giggle!

          36. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #74

            I guess blame is not the proper word...inspiration would be better.  tee hee  Cathy

          37. katina | | #37

            Looking forward to those pictures!


          38. User avater
            Knitnut | | #116

            Katina - lovely work!  I'd love to have you teach a class at my shop!


          39. katina | | #117

            Hi there

            I think you may have meant this for Annie...? Though I'd love to teach at your shop!


          40. User avater
            Knitnut | | #118

            Ah sorry - trying to do two things at once!  Are you close to the area and do you have an area of knitting expertise?


          41. katina | | #121

            Knitting expertise - I love working in patchwork, mixed media.  Close to the area - I spend part of the year in US. We'll see!


          42. moira | | #76

            I'm not much of a knitter but love to click on the little yellow icon and see photos of anything! But are you saying this is a knitted work of art? It is fabulous but looks to me like a fine tapestry.Edited to add: I've been browsing further and came to the close up photograph. Now that I can see the stitches, this looks much like Fair Isle knitting, named after an island north of Scotland and often associated with the Highlands and Islands. It's often seen in jumpers (pullovers), socks, hats and gloves, but looks amazing in that large carpet.

            Edited 10/30/2008 7:55 pm ET by moira

          43. katina | | #77

            It is what is called a Knitted Masterpiece;  "...made by knitting craftsmen as a master work, both illustrating their skill and entitling them to full membership of their guild..." (Turnau and Ponting, Knitted Masterpieces, Textile History, Volume 7, Pasold Research Fund, Wiltshire, 1976, pp. 7-59) The photos don't begin to do it justice - I literally gasped when I saw it.

             Fair Isle knitting is typically worked in the round, using only two colors per row and small motifs.  Stranded color knitting allows the worker to carry the yarns not in use across the back of the work.  In this example, many colors are used in each row, and some of the patterning is very large.  Not only is the technical skill here quite incredible, but this carpet is only one of the items the applicant had to produce in a six-week period.

            I'm glad you enjoyed seeing it - Katina

          44. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #79

            Does it bug you as much as it does me that you never get to see the backside of these pieces?  There is so much more to the story on the back of textile pieces that the front does not tell you.  Cathy

          45. katina | | #80

            Yes, very much. However, in the paper I referenced, the backs of two such masterpiece carpets are shown. The pics are not good, and black and white to boot, but it's perfectly clear that the work is stranded and not intarsia. I went back twice to gaze upon the carpet I've posted here - I could see no trace of any duplicate stitch being used. Mind boggling!


          46. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #81

            I have looked at the pics you posted several times now, and came to that thought myself, that they must be stranded.  Amazing.  Imagine how heavy they were to work on with that much yarn to be carried! 

            Early knitters used a single needle method of knitting.  I have not got my head around how that was accomplished.  Perhaps this was how they got around that.  Double needle knitting did not come along until much later.    Cathy

          47. User avater
            Aless | | #82

            Just throwing in another possibility,especially for those with arthritic conditions of hands,elbows etc. I have been using amazing needles from New Zealand that are made from casein-a milk byproduct. The shop owner who put me onto them( here in Australia) said that she had had a lot of positive feedback on the comfort of using casein needles. They come in all the usual sizes and in short(e.g. baby/children's wear) and longer lengths. Unfortunately,with the downturn in interest in knitting locally,she decided to close her shop. If anyone is interested, I'll check out the brand name of my needles.

          48. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #83

            I have heard, rather seen some ads, for casein needles.  I was wondering about them.  I am wondering if they would feel warmer to the touch when working with them?  Some types of materials feel warmer in the hand than others, such as wood vs metal.  When your hands hurt, a warmer touch feels better.   Cathy

          49. damascusannie | | #85

            I definitely can tell the difference in temperature between my plastic/wood/bamboo and my metal needles. My hands tend to get tired faster and have more tendency to cramp up with the colder, stiffer metal needles, which is one of the reasons I prefer the warmer needles.Casein would be comparable to plastic. The advantage of casein over plastic is really just the raw material--milk protein (renewable resource, supporting the dairy farmer) instead of petroleum. I like plastics for their flexibility and light weight, wood and bamboo DPNs for projects like socks because they stay in the project better. And, has anyone tried the new square needles? I just saw a review of them and they are supposed to be more ergonomic than traditional round needles. The brand name is "Kollage".

          50. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #86

            Hey, anything that supports the farming industy, esp the dairy industy, I am in favour of! 

            I like the warmth of wood needles, and plastic tends to bend and get sticky in my hot grubby little hands, tee hee, OH, Wait, that's just my spilled coffee! tee hee!  Cathy

          51. katina | | #87

            Hi Annie - I also read the square needles review. I'll give them a try when I can.


          52. damascusannie | | #88

            I got a big paycheck yesterday, so I think I'm going to go ahead and try a pair, too. It's hat knitting season, so I can get a short set and see how they work.Annie in Wisconsin, USA
            ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
            ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
            See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

            Edited 11/5/2008 9:00 am by damascusannie

          53. katina | | #89

            Oh great! Yes, I'm very interested to hear what you think. Have you heard about the Addi Turbo interchangeable set now available?


          54. damascusannie | | #90

            YES! I'm going to set aside some funds from one of my paychecks to get them, I think. I like interchangeables, and for circular knitting the Turbos are great! If they work well, I think I'll give my other circs to one of my daughters, who's taken up knitting again. She and her husband drive all over the country with their job, so she has lots of time to knit in the van.

          55. katina | | #92

            Yes, they are gorgeous. I didn't get them because I'm so devoted to my Addi Turbos. I only found out today about Addi interchangeables - they're 65 Euro here, quite a bit more in US. They'll be so useful to carry about.


          56. damascusannie | | #93

            The Addi Turbos interchangeables are REALLY expensive here: $150, plus shipping and handling. I could get both the wood and the nickle-plated Harmony interchangeables, plus toss in a set of the wooden DPNs for socks for about the same price--and I think I will! It seems redundant to get two sets of interchangeables, but depending on how my hands are feeling and the project I'm working on, I like to switch between metal and wood. And it's always nice to have extra cables.I just blew my first paycheck on quilting supplies, so the next check is ear-marked for knitting stuff.

          57. katina | | #94

            It's good to have quality supplies if you can.


          58. damascusannie | | #95

            Exciting news--my wholesale quilting supplier can't sell to me since I've shut down my business (duh! I should have thought of that!) Anyway, I reordered my supplies on other sites, cutting down on the amounts and budgeting for the new needles. I got the wooden Harmony interchangeables, a set of their basic sock DPNs, and some sock yarn. I can't wait for next week--it's going to be like Christmas here!

          59. katina | | #96

            That's good news! Nothing like new supplies to get one really excited and productive.

            Enjoy - Katina

          60. damascusannie | | #97

            I know--and this time of year when I have so much to get done, anything that can inspire me to get working is a good thing.

          61. damascusannie | | #98

            One of my grown-up girls had to work close to home last night --she's a team-lead for a large restaurant chain and they shuffle her around the area filling in when a store needs a temporary manager--so she decided to sleep here since she didn't want to drive all the way back to her apartment at 2 am and she didn't have to work again until this evening. Anyway, to get to the point (yes, there is a point!) she'd told me a while back that she wanted a hat/mitten/scarf set for Christmas so this afternoon we scouted the yarn sites for the perfect yarn. I finally showed her some Koigu and she loved it, so another order for yarn went out this afternoon-two skeins of Koigu Multi #853. I've been wanting to try the Koigu yarns for years but just couldn't make myself pay the price--but for a Christmas present? Definitely! Can't wait to see it!

          62. katina | | #99

            I very much enjoyed reading the background to the point!  Koigu? Watch out, girl, you'll be addicted with the first stitch.  I have a few skeins - used to keep them displayed in a small basket.  Can't now though - the latest kitten decided this lovely yarn needed more texture.....


          63. damascusannie | | #100

            Oh, I know! I've been drooling over it for years. If I keep working for my husband, I'm afraid that a large percentage of my paychecks could be consumed by Koigu!

          64. katina | | #101

            Look at it this way - you spend it on fine materials which become fine knitted items.


          65. damascusannie | | #102

            I'd much rather use good yarns if I'm going to take all the time to handknit things anyway. Same goes for quilting fabrics. I always get the highest quality materials I can afford and I do try to stockpile during the good times so that I can keep working during the lean ones.

          66. katina | | #103

            Ah yes, stockpiles and stashes - not for nothing have I dubbed us here Gatherers...


          67. damascusannie | | #104

            "Stockpiles and Stashes" That TOTALLY describes me! In the stone age, we'd have been hunter/gatherers, and I guess now I hunt and gather yarn and fabric. 8^)

          68. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #105

            ROTFL  Darling, do not make me laugh so hard!!!!!!!   It HURTS!!!!!!  tee hee.   Yes your dubbing us Gatherers is just so apropos......Cathy

          69. katina | | #106

            Very serious business, hunting and gathering - got to keep working at it. But thanks to internet shopping we can spread our nets far and wide!


          70. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #107

            So I am finding out!  And the net brings new friends also, and much, much cheaper, tee,  (not cheap friends, just inexpensive finding them, tee hee)  Cathy

          71. katina | | #108

            The new friends is the best part.


          72. User avater
            rodezzy2 | | #112

            Hey there Katina:  I read about those square needles too.  What makes them better than round ones?  Whats the purpose of them being square?

            Edited 11/15/2008 8:50 pm ET by rodezzy2

          73. katina | | #113

            Hi Rodezzy - glad to hear from you. Apparently these needles are easier on the hands - may well be the case for some people. I'm not sure I'd find them comfortable, so I'll wait to hear what others have to say about them.


          74. User avater
            rodezzy2 | | #114

            Glad to finally be back in the mix.  It's better at home.  I don't feel rushed or guilty!  he he!  Although I always got my work done, I rather do it this way.

          75. User avater
            Aless | | #119

            I'm sorry that so much time has passed since I was writing about the casein needles-should check my email more often!

            I bought these needles because I kept breaking (!) or badly bending plastic needles( I HATE metal needles) and a wool shop owner here in South Australia recommended them to me. She said that she's never heard of a pair being even bent a bit. My haven't! 

            As to feel- well, they have a matte finish, but I don't find any difference between the casein and the plastic for "slipperiness". They are slightly warmer to the touch than plastic. As far as I know, this brand (sorry, can't remember what it is) only comes in a natural creamy colour.

          76. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #120

            I bend my plastic needles also.  Good to know the casein do not bend.  As for colour, that doesn't matter as long as they work.  I will have to look for a pair to try.  Thanks for your reply.  I appreciate your input.  Cathy

          77. katina | | #84

            Yes, please do. I wonder how easily the stitches slide off these needles - Addi Turbos are fabulous in this regard.

            Thanks for going to the trouble to do this for us - Katina

          78. rodezzy | | #78

            That is spectacular.  In just six weeks.  I could never even do it, let alone in six weeks.  Sensational.  The workmanship is superb.

          79. User avater
            rodezzy2 | | #110

            I checked out the link on the knitting boards, is it just as convenient to use a knitting board than needles.  It looks awkward to me.  Of course, I've never used a board, so I can't give a good opinion.  Is it fun and/or faster?

          80. damascusannie | | #111

            I've never tried a knitting board but I hear they are good for simple projects like scarves. I did hear that if you have any tendency to repetitive motion injuries (carpal tunnel for example) that they aren't a good choice.

  4. katina | | #5

    I have every possible type of needle and find that all I'm knitting with now is Addi Turbos. I just love them!


    1. fabricholic | | #8

      I love the Addi Turbos, also. They are great.

      Edited 10/18/2008 10:19 pm by fabricholic

      1. katina | | #10

        Keep on knitting!

        1. fabricholic | | #11

          You do the same.

  5. starzoe | | #38

    If you are interested in knitting, check utube for "pardon me I didn't knit this for you". If I was a little more computer savvy I would have sent a link, but you will get a great kick out of this.

  6. User avater
    ShineOn | | #44

    Hi I just joined, love all types of sewing/knitting/crafts. Very interesting but has anyone tried using Glass Knitting needles. they are so beautiful, but so expensive I have not made the investment yet. I would like to know if anyone is using them and what are their pros and cons. Thanks for any info.

    1. peggyv | | #45

      Actually, this was my first posting as well. It was fun to see this topic take off and run.... I had wondered if glass needles were just for decoration as they are so beautiful. I've never even seen one except in catalogs and on websites.Someone had mentioned a "new" acrylic yarn. When I first learned to knit a few years back I used acrylic yarn. It kept splitting on the needles and felt scratchy in my hands. Next I tried natural fibers and they were so much nicer to knit with and the garments made with natural fibers are so much more comfortable to wear I've never been tempted to knit with acrylic again. Has anyone tried the "new" acrylic?

      1. starzoe | | #46

        As with wool, or any kind of yarn, there is a good deal of difference between high-end and low-end. There are wools that are scratchy, splitty, harsh, pilly, etc. Some improve with washing either before or after knitting. The same goes for acrylics. Usually it is the low end stuff that is so bad but there are some really nice acrylics out there. The best thing is to handle as many as you can. I think that is one of the reasons for shopping in a real store; you can learn a lot just fondling yarns.

      2. damascusannie | | #47

        My experience is that any fiber can be great or awful. I've used wonderfully soft acrylics--my daughter preferred Caron over all other yarns when I had to knit chemo caps for her sensitive scalp. I'm currently knitting a pair of socks with Encore 75% acrylic/25% wool and it's lovely stuff. While most modern wool yarns are very soft, I've used some that are not. It all depends on the manufacturing process. I think that we are very blessed in this day and age to have access to good yarns, both natural and synthetic fibers.

        1. katina | | #48

          I second you on the Encore, Annie. I'm using it more and more, especially for gifts where I know the recipient will machine wash. The colour range is fantastic -  I've collected lots of bright leftovers - price and yardage are good.  Chemo caps - I have a friend who needs some now. Would you recommend Encore for this?


          1. damascusannie | | #50

            Definitely--I used up some Encore scraps for caps for my daughter and she liked it very much. Chemo caps need to be soft, washable and non-irritating. Karen's fave yarn was Caron as I said before, but she also liked Lion Brand Homespun, Encore, and many other brands. I always ran the yarn through my fingers, right down at the base where the tenderest skin is, if you know what I mean. If it felt ok there, I knew I could use it for her caps. Even though she's been cancer-free for two years and no longer needs caps, she still wears them. Oh, and for every cap I knitted for Karen, I made one for the oncology department at the clinic to give away. The caps they had on hand were horrible ugly things that she wouldn't have been caught dead in!

          2. katina | | #51

            Thanks very much for this, Annie. I've made such caps from cotton before, but they don't retain their shape, as we know. Encore it will be.


          3. damascusannie | | #56

            I'm working on a shrug for my youngest daughter in Encore worsted weight in a lovely rich, purple. I think I will knit a similar shrug for one of my other daughters since I still owe her something of the kind from a couple of years ago when I started knitting a poncho and lost my focus before I finished it. Now she wouldn't be caught dead in a poncho so I'm glad I didn't go to the trouble to get that project done! I know she'd love a cozy shrug and I have a slew of Brown Sheep wool that I bought from a friend this summer that's just begging to be knitted up. I have to add the collar/border to Rachel's shrug first and then I'd better get going on Julie's. One of the other girls has asked for a hat and mittens this year, plus I have a pair of mittens to knit for a niece, so I've got lots of holiday knitting to do, plus four quilts. First two quilts need to be done by Dec 1, then one for Christmas and the last for a wedding on Jan. 3. I'm going to be VERY busy for the next two months!

          4. katina | | #57

            Never a dull moment in your life, Annie. Do you knit your hats and mittens flat or in the round? I'm on a big hat kick at the moment.

            Good wishes


          5. damascusannie | | #58

            In the round--always in the round! I DETEST, HATE, DESPISE, ABHOR, etc....sewing up seams in knitted garments. I even modify fitted sweaters to eliminate the side seams. My all-time favorite hat for here in the frigid north is Charlene Schurch's Danish Ear Flap hat. I make a couple of these a year.

          6. katina | | #59

            Come on, Annie, tell me how you really feel about seams...! Me too, circular all the time. Steeks, phoney seams a la Zimmermann - two super tricks.


          7. damascusannie | | #60

            I don't even own any straight needles except for my DPNs. I knit absolutely everything on circulars. It's so much easier on the damaged tendons in my forerarms to keep the project balanced and resting in my lap.

          8. katina | | #61

            Me too.


          9. starzoe | | #65

            I will join you and Annie in the circular knit club - only way to go.

          10. damascusannie | | #66

            It's a cool club--we knit circles around everyone else....

          11. katina | | #67

            That's us - loop de loop.


          12. rodezzy | | #63

            Those shrugs sound wonderful.  Yes you do have a lot of knitting to do.  Keep up the good work.  Protect your hands and wrists with all of that knitting.  smile

          13. damascusannie | | #64

            I'm pretty careful about pacing myself with the knitting. Usually just a couple of hours in the evenings--I'm too busy quilting during the day. Lately, I've been working on a siding job with my husband and swinging the hammer is tough on my left arm and elbow; I'm not used to that sort of motion.

          14. rodezzy | | #68

            Sounds like too much work for me, that siding job.  But we do what we want to do, right!  Have fun.  In the end, your arm might be the better for the exercise.  smile.

            I am going to purchase a full set of interchangeable circular knitting kneedles, any suggestions.  I've been looking at the Denise set, I believe it is.  What do you think?

          15. katina | | #69
          16. rodezzy | | #73

            Hi Katina:  Good to here from you.....yes I saw those and I remember earlier in the year when I was searching around for circulars, someone said that they work loose at the twist join.  Have you heard that? 

            Got to go now.  Will not be able to talk with anyone tomorrow.  Our companies birthday celebration and doctor's appointment.

          17. marymary | | #75

            Yes, I have had the joints come apart while knitting, when using the extension pieces, on my Boye set.  I  had a set of Denise needles that I had to return because I could not connect and release the joints.  I have arthritis in my thumbs and the movement I needed to do that just wasn't there.  My DH had to do it for me and he isn't always around when I want to change needles.  I also find the connecting joints of either brand to be a little rough.

          18. starzoe | | #70

            Wow! I took a look at the posted url for circular interchangeables. What a high price. I have a set of Denise (a gift) which I use rarely, mostly because I have many ordinary circulars and prefer those. I did find that the smaller lengths of the interchangeables are not usable as the points are too long and the cables too short so that the ends cannot easily be manipulated to make stitches - too constricting. I do use them occasionally as stitch holders.No one in either of my knitting groups use interchangeables except in emergencies! My take on the whole thing is that they are a pricey alternative but not all that practical.

          19. rodezzy | | #71

            can't you put the longer cords on the smaller points.  I thought that was the reason to have interchangeable sets.

          20. starzoe | | #72

            The points are all the same length; if you attach the shorter lengths of cables it is almost impossible to knit. My set of points are all four inches long, the shortest cable is 11 inches long which makes 19 inches in all which presumably you would use for (say) knitting a neckline ribbing, a hat or a cowl. However, it is impossible to knit with this combination as the points are too long, the very ends of the points cannot connect without drastically stretching the knitting.The next length cable is 14", with points added (+8") gives a working needle of 22". While this is somewhat workable, I find that once again the points are not meeting close enough to work without stretching the knitting. Mind you, I knit Continental style, with very little movement of the needles working close together. Someone who knits by throwing the yarn might not find this not so inconvenient.Some knitters can knit socks with an 8" circular. I have never tried it, don't own one, but the points must be very short and the total length should be around 10".However, some knitters might find the rest of the kit useful, but you would still need a separate 16" circular (for necklines, etc.) and sets of dpns. You may certainly use any combination of needle gauges and cable lengths.Edited 10/29/2008 2:44 pm ET by starzoe

            Edited 10/29/2008 9:53 pm ET by starzoe

  7. njchris | | #109

    If you like the warmth of wood, you may like the Bryspun needles.  They have a very nice point and I love them.  I do llike the Addi Turbos, but they are so expensive.  Knitpicks have two kinds of interchangeable needles that are wonderful.  I have the harmony which are wood and they also have the metal points that are a lot like the Addi's.  Back to the Bryspun, I saw an ad in one of my knitting magazines where they have them in circular needles now.  If you've never tried them, give a pair a try.

    Nancy C., Texas

    1. peggyv | | #115

      Thank you for the advice about the Bryspun needles. I saw an ad in a knitting magazine about them and it said they are flexible, which I think might be easy on one's hands. On the other page was an ad for rectangular needles, which is said to be easier on knitter's hands. There are so many more options for knitting now than there were when I started knitting in the 80's.I broke my bamboo needle (must have been watching the stock market on tv) so I splurged and got a pair of rosewood needles in US size 8 which seems to be the needle size I always use. I have to say so far I really love them.

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