Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bamboo, Wood, Steal, or Plastic

With so many needle choices out there what works the best?

Well, I usually chalk it up to personal preference, but sometimes your bamboo needles are just not cutting it or your steal needle is too slippery to keep your stitches on said needle. That said I've noticed that my needles fall into two categories, Bamboo and Steal. Sometimes I am conscious of my needle choice and sometimes I will start a project only to find that I need to swap my needles for one or the other.

A good example of this is knitting lace. I usually prefer bamboo all around when it comes to knitting, unless I am knitting lace (this is also true for sock knitting) I like to use steel needles. My stitches are easier to manipulate in steel and slide effortlessly off the needle. It is also easier to get my needle in multiple stitch for k3tog and so on. When I fist embarked on a lace project I bought a pair of bamboo straight needles (size 2) to knit my delicate gossamer weight wool, only to find my stitches sticking to the bamboo. This irked me so much that two days later (I was surprised I let myself struggle that much) I switched to a set of steel circs in the same size.

This began my awareness of needle choice and an observation about myself. I am not a tight knitter or a loose knitter, but if knitting wool in a small gauge I prefer steel needles. If I am knitting a wool blend (silk, alpaca, angora) I prefer a bamboo or wooden needle. I can no longer say that I universally prefer bamboo. I can say however that I like bamboo needles most of the time.

So why is the material make up on a needle so important?
For me it has to do with the ease my stitches sliding off the needle. To little ease and it feels like you are fighting with the yarn to knit it and to much and it feels as if you might drop a stitch at any minuet. Having worked in a yarn shop for sometime I have a few other observations. For some it depends in the tension of their knitted stitches. My boss was a loose knitter. Her guage on a US6 looked like it had been knit on a US8, because of her loose tension she prefered bamboo. Again this isn't a universal statement for her as she had some beautiful Addi turbos which she would use to knit hats. Another customer we had had a tight tension to her knitting stitches so she preferred steel, because it made it easier to knit her projects.

So for all the knitters out their what's you favorite needles composed of?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bamboo for DPNs, metal for everything else.