Thursday, May 25, 2006

Double-Pointed Odyssey

I am an unfaithful needle buyer. Some people swear by Addis, some by Inox. Some will only knit with natural wooden needles, some knit with glass. I have to admit that I've had a hard time finding my true calling, needle-wise. I love Addi circulars for the big stuff, mainly because of the supple cord, but I will admit I find the nickel plating...disconcerting. I love the sharp tips of Inox needles, but the cord is too stiff in the cheap ones, and the good ones are too hard to find. All of this dithering has resulted in a wildly varied needle stash crammed with Takumi and Inox and Addi and Susan Bates and Suzanne's rosewood and who knows what else.

All of this came to a head last month when I started to get serious about sock knitting. Oh, sure, I've dabbled in socks before, but last month I tripled my sock yarn stash by buying two skeins of Regia and a skein of Trekking XXL. So I decided to give several types of DPNs a go to see how I liked them. The results were conclusive. Please keep in mind that I am a fairly tight knitter, so you may not get the same results with these needles.


We begin with Bruspun plastic DPNs. These are situated four rows from the top of a pair of KnitPicks "Simple Stripes" socks in Crayon. They have been sitting there for months. This is because I HATE them. The plastic is flexible, which is kind of nice, but it has so much grab that I can barely knit.

Pony Pearls

Ditto the Pony Pearls. They're gorgeous and warm and feel nice in my hands, but the plastic suffers separation anxiety every time I try to pull a stitch over the tip.


Now, these are lovely. I adore them. They're soft, smooth, they feel good, they even smell good. I just wish I could knit with them. They're not as sticky as the plastic ones, but they're still just too slow. It takes me almost twice as long to knit a sock with these puppies as with any metal needle.


Now these are getting better. These are Inox grey enamel-coated aluminum DPNs, size 0, that I got last Saturday at the Weaving Works. I've started a sock out of Trekking XXL on them, and I do like them. They are a bit draggy, but not too bad.


Now, I'm ashamed to say, these are the winners of my very unscientific survey. The least expensive and least attractive of them all, good old wicked-sharp Bates DPNs just really do it for me. They're sharp, they're smooth, and they're super-fast. They're a bit longer than I would like, but other than that, I have no complaints. They are the clear winner as far as speed is concerned, and they produce a consistently even fabric. Here are the Rajastan socks, 3/4 of the way finished:

So the moral of the story is this: sometimes, cheaper is better. Of course, they come in packs of 4 instead of 5, so I have to buy two packs of every size, so it doesn't really turn out to be cheaper, but...oh, what does it matter. They're still better.


Blogger RheLynn said...

Lots of pretty sock knitting - and I haven't even heard of some of those types of needles!

I'm currently using plain Takumi(Clover) bamboo -- which took a while to get used to (so light!). Now I'm going as fast as my hands can move.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Thanks. As with the birchwood Brittanys, Takumi bamboo are just too slow for me. I'm a pretty tight knitter, though. I love the way wood needles feel, they're just too grippy.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Knitopia said...

Is that some sort of reinforced (slip-stitch?) short-row heel on the Trekking sock or just a trick of the picture?

10:59 PM  
Blogger Knitopia said...

Sorry, not the Trekking socks. The link goes to the sock I mean.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

No, it's just a regular short-row heel where the double wraps aren't picked up. After struggling to pick up all the wraps for several pairs, I determined that NOT picking up the wraps was 1)faster, and 2)added no extra bulk in the area.

8:39 AM  

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