Friday, October 4, 2013

My Favorite Tools - Knitting Needles

I started knitting when I was a child. At that time the only needles that were available to me were aluminum and plastic Boye straight needles. If we wanted needles or yarn we had to go to the local K-Mart.

Times have changed. We have a wonderful choice of needles, notions and yarns. When I came back to the craft I was enamored with Lantern Moon Wooden Straight needles. I loved the woods and the design of the needles. I wasn't knitting anything fancy, so my needles made up for that.

Once I started knitting socks, my view of the world of needles changed. I moved on to circulars. I tried many different brands and came to realize I was a tight knitter. Sharp points and smooth joins became my focus. I finally settled on Hiya Hiya Sharps. (I've tried addi's (regular & lace), knitters pride, Knit Picks, and Signature. Points and / or joins are an issue with these, except for the Signature US 1.0 - no ball bearing so they have a smooth join.) For the small sizes, less than US 1.5 (2.5 mm), I use 24" Hiya Hiya sharps. For everything else, I use Hiya Hiya Sharp 5" interchangeable needles. OK, to use interchangeable needles, I give up a little since all of them have some join issues, but the convenience out weighs the minor issue with this brand. Compared to other brands of interchangeable needles, Hiya Hiya Sharps are pretty smooth. And, the needles are sharp! Another bonus, is that the interchangeable cords pivot at the connector. The downside of the pivot is that the join of cord to connector is a little rough to the touch, but I've never had an issue with it in my knitting. These interchangeable needles also go down to a US 2.0 (2.75). However, to get down to this size, Hiya Hiya has created a small and a large set. The sets have different size connectors. Luckily, they provide an adapter that will connect a large needle to a small cord.

The Small set contains sizes from US 2-8 and comes with 16/18", 24/26", 32/34", and 40/42" cords. The 16/18" cord is pretty useless for the 5" tips, but you can also get a set with 4" tips if you prefer.

The Large set contains sizes US 9-15 and the same set of cables.

Additional accessories include: 60" cable, small to large cable to needle adapter, small and large cord connectors, US 2.5 (3.0 mm) tips and of course extra tips and cords in the same sizes provided by the sets.

Now that I've settled on my needles, I need a way to carry them. The sets come with their own case, but they can only hold the needles in the set. I want to carry multiple sets of interchangeable tips (I don't need to carry the really big sizes), fixed 24" circular needles for socks in 00, 0, 1 and 1.5, extra cables, and a needle gauge. I wanted a secure case, one that completely closed so needles wouldn't fall out.

Lantern Moon started selling their interchangeable needle set case separately and its perfect, although I need to keep the cables in little plastic bags. I can now carry all my needles in a single zippered case.

Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry;

Photos copyright Prairie Willow Knits.

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