Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The right tools for the job

I think it's super important to have the right tools for the job.  For instance, trying to pull steamed cauliflower out of the steamer basket with a fork usually ends up in a mess.  David uses tongs, but I prefer a large spoon.  Mine and David's definition of the "right tool" is usually quite different...and comical when we start discussing why one tool is better than another.

Knitting needles work in the same way.  Have the wrong tip or the wrong finish and your project will be more chore than pleasure.  I have two instances where this has been brought home recently.

I'm knitting dish cloths at the office during lunch.  I brought the only size 7 tips I could find (My Addi Turbo 16" circular) and the only size 5 I could find (my Knitter's Pride Harmony interchangeable tips).  I knit my first dish-cloth using the Harmony tips.  It was like working with the exact right thing.  It went quickly and smoothly and happily.

The second dish cloth I started using the size 7 tips...and oh my.  These were too fast, too slippery and not the right tips for the job at all.  I only have the Harmony wood tips (and forgot to bring my size 7s to interchange to work today!).  But this hasn't been the most fun thing to make because the tool is the wrong tool.  I'll get it figured out, but in the meantime, i.e. during lunch today, I'll be knitting on "ice."

This got me to thinking when I was working on mom's socks this weekend.  I'm using my signatures, which I love.  I love the finish on them, which is just clingy enough to hold onto the yarn, but also slippery enough to be a fast knit.  The tips, however, are called "stiletto"...and for a reason.  They'd easily poke your eyes out and I'm fairly confident that they wouldn't pass TSA security.  These tips were the problem.  The Louet Gems yarn that I'm using is a 4 ply merino which means that the plies are pretty skinny since it's a fingering weight yarn.  It also means that because there are 4 plies that they push against each other and create a rather rounded yarn that splits easily with stiletto tips.  I decided on Saturday morning to switch out my Signatures for the Cubics that I have and it was like using a spoon to get my cauliflower out of the steamer basket instead of a fork.  My stitches were flying, I was no longer getting little snags...and I knit several inches on those socks in just a couple of days.

Exactly what I needed.  Happy progress!

Today's picture is of the progress I've made so far on Blish.  I am really enjoying working on this project.  It's big enough that I know I'll be working on it a while and has filled the void that was the Noro afghan.  Also...it's looking pretty awesome, don't you think.  And probably most importantly right now, it's not difficult. Only one row where I have to remember to do the cable twist, and everything else (until I get something like 406 stitches!) is just increase row, plain row.  The hardest part at this point will be to remember entering the row counts into my KnitMinder.


  1. It's amazing the difference the needles can make, and I find it often depends on the yarn as well. I love the wool you are using for your WIP.

  2. Differnt people use differnt tools. I hate cable needles for example. I alsways use dpns. I didn't even know that there are cable needles. No need now to change my habit. But I know people who are very happy with their cable needles.
    I also hate needles that have a pointy end or circular needles that have like an obstacle where the needle meets the cord. Very annoying. Happy knitting! Regula

  3. I completely understand what you mean. My problem, is I'll often to continue to knit with the wrong needle type, telling myself, "I will" change them out. Glutton for punishment? More like lazy beast. When I finally get around to the swap, I'm always kicking myself, "why did I waste so much time with the wrong set?!?"