I've found I enjoy knitting even a bit more than crochet. I like the simplicity of knitting in that one only has two stitches to learn. The rest is technique. If you can knit and purl, you can do anything. I've also found that knitting is much easier on my hands than crochet so I can do it relatively pain free for a longer period of time. Of course, crochet works up quicker. They both have found a place in my crafting. But enough about the crafts themselves, I want to talk about tools.
Earlier this year, I pulled out the pair of aluminum needles that I got years ago in my learn-to-knit kit and finally taught myself to purl. I found the aluminum to be awfully slippery and I kept losing stitches. Not a great start to my knitting career. Soooo. . .
I pulled out the plastic needles that I purchased years ago and tried again. I found I liked them much better because they had a good "tooth," more friction and held the cotton yarn I was working much better than the aluminum. However, I found as I continued to use them, the amount of friction continued to increase and made it more difficult to work the yarn. I ended up finishing the project with them (after all, it was only a washcloth), but I hoped I'd find a happy medium.
FYI, a great way to cut down on the friction is to run waxed paper up and down the length of your needles. This deposits a small amount of wax on them and makes the surface a bit more slick. Since my bamboos are only 8" long, I use this trick when I need to use my 10" acrylics.
I thought about purchasing a pair of wooden needles, but they were prohibitively expensive. Then I discovered bamboo.
You see, I'm a Bargain shopper with a capital B. After a gazillion years in retail, I know better than to pay full price for anything and I will generally wait for it to go on sale or clearance before I buy. I'm also moderately hooked on eBay. Bully for me, right?
Well, thanks to my nose for finding bargains and my eBay addiction, I found bamboo needles galore for dirt cheap. Did it matter to me that I would have to wait two weeks or more for shipping from Hong Kong? Heck no! The set of 8" needles I purchased ranged in size from 2mm to 10mm and have developed a lovely patina as I use them. Because they're natural, I don't find them to be cold in my hands like the aluminum can be. And they're so lightweight they're even easier on my weary hands. I like them so much that I purchased a 5" sock set from the same seller. I even bought a set of Tunisian crochet hooks in bamboo.
Don't get me wrong, I find the aluminum comes in handy for working with yarns that tend to be sticky. One in particular that I've worked is a cotton wrapped with a polyester filament. For the really slippery yarns I go to my acrylic needles or the plastic ones. You see, in shopping for needles I found so many for so little money that I now have needles for any occasion and I couldn't be happier about it.
You can find my collection listed on Ravelry. So what are your favorite tools? Leave me a comment and let me know.Happy Knitting!