Showing posts with label dpn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dpn. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Knitting Needles

People often ask about the needles I use in my videos, so I though I would just do a video about needles in general.   Below are links to several different brands and types of needles you can get.  Needles really are a personal thing, and the only way to know what works best for you is to try them.  I think I have tried just about every type there is, with only a few exceptions. I almost always use, and prefer, addi needles.  

If you are a serious knitter, I do recommend that you purchase a set of interchangeable needles.  Yes, it seems awfully expensive.  However, if you were to add up the cost of buying each needle size, in each length of circular needles, that would be far more than the cost of an interchangeable set.  With the set, you usually get all of the most commonly used needle sizes and cord lengths.  Also, most manufacturers  offer add ons - you can purchase additional cords and/or needle tips to supplement your set.  It really is a wise investment. You can find some fairly affordable sets, so don't think owning an interchangeable set is out of reach. 

If you by needles in Wal-Mart, Joanns, Michaels, etc. you will typically see the same stuff - Boye and Clover, and usually Susan Bates.  There may be a couple of other brands carried as well.  Your local yarn store may or may not also have these brands, and in addition you can find addi needles, rosewood needles, Knitter's Pride, Kollage, Chiao Goo.... it goes on and on.  And of course, you can find pretty much anything online.  (My favorite online stores are in the 'shop' tab at the top, and I also have some listed in my amazon store, which you can find in the right side bar.)

Needles come in many different lengths, some very short and some very long. You can get them in all different materials, such as wood, bamboo, plastic, acrylic and even glass.  You can get the standard round needles, and even square needles.  The square needles are touted as causing less strain on your hands, and create more uniform stitches.  I own a set of square DPNs from Kollage and have to say, they do feel pretty good in my hands.  

Some needles are very polished and smooth, allowing the yarn to slide with ease.  Others have a little bit of grab to them, making the yarn a little more difficult to move.  For new knitters, it can be a bit of a help to have needles with grab, as there is a lesser chance of stitches dropping off the needles.  The good old fashioned aluminum needles have grab, as well as bamboo and wood.  There are some needles out there that are made of those materials that are more polished than others, and so the yarn will slide easier.  If you see a needle that is really shiny, chances of it being nice and smooth are pretty good.  Nickel plated needles, like addi turbos and the Knit Picks Options, are very slick and smooth.  Yarn slides like a dream on these needles.  Depending on the type of yarn you use, and how you hold it, you may find that needles that have that little grab to them still allow the yarn to slide easily.  For instance, I once knit with Lion Brand Homespun on acrylic needles.  It was awful, I had the hardest time moving the yarn on the needles.  

I am not a needle expert, by far, but I have used a lot of different types that are available.  I'll give you some links to peruse.  I will also post a video below, if anyone is interested.  This list is by no means everything out there.  There are many, many more.  I suggest asking at your local yarn store, or if you know someone who knits, to give you a few suggestions.  Knitting boards (such as Knitting Paradise) are also a good place to ask around, and you should be able to get a good idea of pros and cons of different needles.  Again, it is personal choice.  I adore addi needles, but I have seen people posting about their dislike for them.  There is no wrong choice - whatever feels the most comfortable to you is the right needle.  Don't let someone sway you from a cheaper needle, simply because it is cheap.  If you like the cheap needles, then use the cheap needles.  There is no need to spend $32 for a pair of needles if you enjoy knitting with a pair of $5 needles.  The whole point of knitting is for you to enjoy yourself and relax and have fun with fiber.  

A word on needle gauges: Most brands have a needle gauge.  If possible, use the gauge for whatever brand needle you are knitting with.  It is possible that different manufacturers may have needles that vary slightly in sizes; if you use a Lion Brand gauge to check the size of a Boye needle, it may not be exactly accurate.  This is another reason doing a gauge swatch is very important if you are knitting a fitted garment!


Aluminum (available in the standard round needles, or the Artisan needles, which are square)

Susan Bates
Silvalume (Aluminum)
Luxite (Plastic)
Crystalites (Acrylic)
Quicksilver (made from a special heat-treated aluminum alloy)

Takumi Bamboo (also comes in 13-14 inch sizes)

Double Points:

Aluminum (available in both round and the Artisan square)

Susan Bates


Takumi Velvet (highly polished bamboo)

All of the above also have circular needles, made from the same materials.

Interchangeable sets:

addi - you can see all of the interchangeable sets here.  

            Artisan Nickel Plated system

Signature Needles - I am just providing the link to their main page.  They have single, double and circular needles, and you can "build your own" needles.  Choose the length, end cap, and point sharpness of your choice.  Pretty nifty needles, that carry a pretty hefty price tag!  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Spiral I-Cord

Sample was knit with Lily Sugar n Cream on US Size 6 needles - 4 stitches

I have been thinking about spiral/curly I-Cord for some time now.  None of the info I found (like HERE) was what I was looking for.  The curl was produced after the length of the cord had been knit - when I bind off, I like that to be the end!  I am not too fond of binding off and still having something left to do (seaming, anyone?).  You can even do a mini version of my Amazing Curly Scarf to make spirals - I believe this is the method in Knitting Over the Edge.  But I didn't want that look either.  So, this morning I got out some yarn and needles, and played around until I came up with this method.  I am not saying I am the first to do it like this, because I am sure someone else out there has done this before me, but I didn't find any instructions for spiral I-Cord during my search that was like this.

It is very simple to do and I willingly admit that I am darn proud of myself for having an idea that actually works!  So, without further ado, here is what I did.  I am assuming that you already know how to make the standard I-Cord by the way.

Cast on 4 stitches - you can use either DPNs or a circular needle

Slide stitches to the other end of the needle as normal and knit all stitches
Row 2 - Knit 2, Slip 1, Knit 1
Row 3 - Knit 2, Slip 1, Knit 1
Row 4 - Knit all stitches

Repeat Row 2 - 4 until cord is the desired length

What to do with the curly I-Cord?  Maybe replace the standard fringe on a scarf with these nifty spirals, or top off a hat.  You can even add beads - I have a tutorial on that too. You are only limited by your imagination.

This is by no means the only way to knit a spiral cord.  I encourage you to play around with different yarns and needle sizes, and even a different number of stitches.  Perhaps add another row or two where the stitch is slipped - heck, slip two stitches.  You may come up with a better curling cord.  If you do alter this "pattern", I would love to see what you come up with!

Here is a brief video of the technique.  Enjoy!