I know that a lot of knitters are averse to double pointed needles. They don’t like the fact that your work can slip off of either end and you can lose a stitch or need to frog the project. The solution to stitches slipping off of the needles is to use point protectors or a small case to hold your knitting, but finding those things when you need them can be a hassle. There are advocates of straights and circulars, bone, wooden, metal, and plastic. One brand with pointy tips and another with blunt tips. Certain needles that work wonderfully for a sleeve, but are horrid for a sock.
I’m not saying that you have to like double pointed needles, but I think that it is important to try different needles. I’ve tried straights and found that straights are not the most comfortable needle for me. I hold my hands close to my chest and off of my lap when I knit, so having straights is hard on my wrists. My roommate likes the straights because she can set one needle end on her belly and knit off of the tip using her torso to support it. I think she looks like a circus acrobat, but that’s just my opinion.
I do use circulars for most of my projects. I truly prefer my Denise knitting needles and find that I have very few problems with the needles coming loose from the cable or with losing my work off of the tips. I know that they are plastic, that the cable has some “memory” to it and that many people find them useful only in a travel situation, but they work for me. Metal needles grate me, I find the constant metal click irritating and the feel of them bothers my hands. Truthfully, my preference is wood, but finding an interchangeable wooden needle set? I don’t know if they are out there, but if they are I want to try them.
This brings me back to my double points. My first set of double points were metal, blue and red Boye needles for a sock. I hated them. They were a pain for me to use, the colors bothered me, and I had trouble with them “splitting” the sock yarn that I was using. I finally got tired of fighting the needles after frogging my first socks twice and gave up on socks for the time being.
It was after I discovered my local yarn shop, River Knits, that I stumbled upon the Clover Bamboo needles. I was skeptical at first as my past experience with double points (read the nasty metal DPNs) had left me with a bad taste in my mouth, but I decided to try them. They were perfect for me. I knit with them and my work just flew. I was in love and over the course of a few months bought a set in every DPN size I could find .*
I use them constantly. Between my Clover DPNs and my Denise knitting needle set, I can contantly have a project on the needles. I love how the wood feels in my hands, how my yarns will glide when needed, but “stick” when I need a little more tension. I love using the DPNs on socks and gloves especially. I know that DPNs are not for everyone. I know they look scary and intimidating ( I love using DPN’s on campus. Grin.), but they work really well for me.
Now, if only there was some way for me to convince Will that knitting with DPNs in bed is not dangerous to his health or my own, even if he did find a set under my pillow.
* I should also mention that I may or may not knit like most knitters who use DPNs. You see, I was teaching myself how to use DPNs and I wasn’t exactly following a book, I just thought, “I can make this work,” and jumped right in. So when it came time to switch needles, I would slip the last stitch that I had worked onto the new needle and then start knitting from the next. My theory was that it made the knitting more even, so I would use several stitch markers to track the various parts of the gussets and toe, and go from there. It was as I was reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s latest book that I realized that most knitters just start knitting with the new needle and don’t slip a worked stitch. I had one of those amazing “OMG!” moments and just sat, stunned. I use both methods now. One for the leg and one for the foot. They both work.