Today I thought I’d spend a moment on one of my favorite topics: Gadgets. I LOVE gadgets. All kinds. Electronic gadgets, I have ’em. Two Kindles, pretty much one of everything in the Apple “i” line up, some of them two or three generations in, quilting tools, office gadgets. Yep, that’s me, a gadget girl. So it’s only logical that I have an equally driven passion for knitting gadgetry as well, right?
Like most knitters, I started out with the low-end tools available locally at the big box stores. It really didn’t even take long before I decided I preferred Susan Bates needles to Boye needles. Couldn’t tell you why, specifically, it’s just one of those “it is what it is” kinds of preferences. Being unfamiliar with any other options, I bought a lot of straights in a lot of sizes and knit with them happily for some time. Eventually I even branched out into double points. They were a bit scary at first, but once I got over the fear of stabbing myself four times at once, I more or less got used to them and used them happily for a while, too.
Then I discovered the specialty knitting world. I have no idea why the concept surprised me, I’d been a fan of the local quilt shop for quite some time, it really shouldn’t have struck me as shocking that there would be whole stores dedicated to all things yarn related, but somehow it did. It was about two and a half years ago that I first ventured into The Knitting Knook and discovered all that I had been missing by limiting myself to the big box retailers.
I’ll admit that that first visit left my knees quaking just a bit. Not just because of the volume of wonderful stuff in the store, but the sticker shock, too. I came from the land where a $7 skein of Patton’s Classic Wool would only be purchased on sale or with a 40% off coupon. My first skein of “real” sock yarn was closer to $20. And I bought just that one. A Misty Alpaca Sock in a pretty rainbow bright kind of colorway that was heavy on the orange. And I matched it up to the random size 1 steel double points I picked up from a sutler thinking “someday” I’d make socks from real yarn. And I knit them happily. albeit with a bit of trepidation at how much I just spent on a pair of socks.
The thing is, as a gadget girl, even with the sticker shock, I couldn’t get that yarn shop out of my mind. So I went back a couple of weeks later, still hard at work on that first pair of socks. And I bought a couple more skeins. I still balked at anything over $20, but I found a couple of less expensive skeins, plus my first taste of Malabrigo. And then I was introduced to circular needles. The shop owner is the sort who encourages you to bring your project in, sit down and try the needles. So I did. She opened up a 9″ HiyaHiya circular needle and let me knit my sock onto it and try out a few rows.
Smart woman cuz the sock didn’t leave that needle until I’d finished off the toe. And it wasn’t long before a second needle joined it so that I could use those throughout, no switching back to DPNS to finish. Then came the size 0s. And 2s. And 3s. And , well, you get the idea. The gadget lover found a new must have gadget. And bought a lot of ’em. But of course I wasn’t satisfied there, either. Because, it turns out, there are Addi needles. And Addi turbos. And ChiaGoo. And interchangeable. And DPNs. And… And… And…
As you may have guessed from the picture above, I’ve put together quite a sizeable collection of needles. And you’d think that somewhere along the way I would decide I am happy with one kind and stick with them. But you’d be wrong. Because of course every time someone on Ravelry or in a blog mentions something they’ve found, I feel the need to try THAT kind too. Which is what led me to my “impact driver*” of knitting. The tool that, while not perfect for every job, is sufficient for many, EXACTLY what’s needed for some, and just generally makes everything easier- my Signature Needle Arts‘ stiletto points.
I’d seen a number of rave reviews on them but, like that first skein of sock yarn, choked a bit on the price tag. I’ve purchased an entire SET of circular needles for about the same cost as 2 single pair of Signatures. But I justified the first purchase with a bit of logic that went like this: I can’t use my beloved circular needles to knit socks reenacting. There was no such thing as a circular needle in 1863, so I am forced to use DPNs. If I have to use a needle type I don’t love, why not at least use the best quality needle I can? SO I ordered a set of size 1 DPNs. Sure, they’re green and not exactly period correct, but they are short enough that you don’t see much of the green and unless a spectator is standing right in front of me, you really can’t tell from a distance that they aren’t period correct. So nearly $60 later (had to get a set of 5 of course), I found DPNs that don’t make me want to stab my eyes out. So they were worth it.
But I am never one to be satisfied with just ONE of something I love. SO I have been coveting other Signature needles ever since. A month or so ago they had an OOPS sale on 2 sizes of straight needles that were ordered in the incorrect colors. SO I jumped. Never mind that I haven’t once in the last 3 years used either size, especially in a straight needle, I had to have them. And they’re SO pretty. Nearly impossible to use because it turns out the kittens are positively fascinated by mama’s long pointy sticks and must attempt to assist me in every stitch, I love them. I will love them for years to come, even if it is just to pet them occasionally and enjoy their lovely shades of blue and purple.
But I needed needles I, well, need. So last week, on deciding I must knit the Epic Blanket of Insanity, I also decided I must have the best set of size one single point needles to knit it with. So I ordered the 10″ (thankfully, slightly less intriguing to the little ones than their 14″ counterparts), size one, stiletto point with tear drop ends. I got them yesterday. And I couldn’t wait to get home and test them out. And the first square of the EBI I knit with these needles seemed to flow off of them like chocolate from a fountain. And I was in love. So I declared to Mr.Me that I have found my Impact Driver of needles. And all is well.
*Mr.Me is a connoisseur of power tool the way I am a connoisseur of knitting tools. His personal favorite is his Impact Driver. It is the tool he cannot be without.