Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Needles To The Rescue

Progress on the knitting of air continues. Check out haiku knits by Tanya Alpert. This is a glorious book filled with amazing patterns, many of which offer the opportunity to knit air.

My current project is riverbed. Thus the Rowan Kidsilk Haze on 5.5mm. But I ran into a little snafu. My trusty needles, which have knit an afghan, several scarfs, hats, etc. have failed. That is right, the needles quit working effectively.

Look at this photo. You can see the wisps of yarn on the needles and two different needle tips joining in for comparison. (click to make bigger) The points on the different needles are actually quite different. Yes, both are bamboo. Yes, both are the same size. Yes, both are circular.

My trusty old needle tips just were not working. For me, the bamboo helps to hold the wispy stuff and make it easy to work only one stitch at a time without any slippage.

BUT. And this is a big but... the tips of my old faithful circs are slightly rounded and for some reason, even working each stitch at the tips, I was struggling. After completing the entire back of the sweater, it was apparent that the issue was the combination of "tip & twine" that was slowing progress.

Please understand that the working of Tanya Alpert's pattern is a joy. The Rowan is a dream. But the needle tips were a struggle. I'll not tell brands because, as mentioned up above, these are well used and trusty needles. Could it be that all the past projects have worn down something? Or, is it just that tips are different from brand to brand?

Here is a close up of the old and new needles. (Click to make bigger and come on back) The taper is different. The exact tips of the tips are different. Again, no names because this difference is totally about my fingers and the specific Kidsilk Haze. If you were working this yarn on a 5.5mm an entirely different needle might work for you.

So what it the point? The point of this story is all about finding the point (and associated needle) that fits with your fingers and feeling. Get the right tool for the job! When you find yourself struggling with a yarn, it might not be you. It just might be the combination of needle and yarn and your muscle action. Don't immediately put the blame on yourself. Don't blame the needles or yarn - consider the interplay of all factors and try to identify exactly where the problem is manifesting. On this particular project, that manifestation was right there at the tip of my fingers.

P.S Can you tell that I am in a festive mood?

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