Tuesday Q&A

I’ve made little progress on socks, sweaters or sundry, and I’m hoping to distract you from the pathetic lack of progress by confessing that I have an unblog-able secret project on the go, and I’m working a whole lot of hours with writing stuff (which really just looks like me hunched over my desk with my head in my hands…but is work nonetheless.)

Shall we do Q&A? It’s been a while.

Mary asks:

I am curious as to the needles you use for your socks. Are

they knit picks? I bought some and tried them a week or so ago and found them incredibly heavy, they were #1 (US).

They are indeed Knit Picks needles, of which I am a pretty big fan. I almost always knit socks on metal dpns, I find them fast and sturdy, and for my particular tension and style of knitting I like a really rigid needle. Wooden needles at the finer gauges drive me insane because of their flexibility, that little bit of “give” sometimes makes it harder for me to knit. (There are exceptions, of course.) Naturally, there are many knitters who find the exact opposite is true, it all depends on your personal bent. These needles are nickel plated like the Addi Turbos, and have much in common.

As for the weight, there are a couple of issues. Knit Picks makes two sizes of US #1s, so that the full metric range is represented. You can see in this kit (which I just bought and really love) that the sizes are:

2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, 3, 3.25…..all standard Metric.

BUT in US sizes, because the system isn’t set up for that much differentiation, the sizes in the same kit are:

0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3.

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to note the difference between the two ones and the two twos (maybe I call them US number one ones and number two ones and US number one twos and number two twos? 1a? 2b?) but for the purposes of the rest of this bit, let’s assume that I am comparing the first US #1’s (2.25mm.)

(Kindly insert here my standard rant on the difficulties of the US needle sizing system, why I don’t like it and why I don’t use it. I think that there are two ones and two twos and that you need metric to explain the difference totally illustrates my point.)

In any case, according to my handy little scale, (and Grumperina’s, since she weighed some a while ago too) my rosewood DPNs in 2.25 mm (US size one ones) weigh 1.6g. My Susan Bates cheap aluminum ones (the ones that were my favourites before the Knit Picks ones came along) weigh 7g, and the Knit Picks are 11.3.

That means there’s a difference of 4.3g between the two metal brands I compared – and that’s about the weight of two pennies.


For me, that tiny little bit of extra weight is nothing and doesn’t bother me at all, I don’t even register it. I think if I were a wooden needle user I might notice the difference more. Clearly, if I were concerned about weight, I would be using the rosewood, which are very much lighter. As it is two pennies worth of extra weight seems so completely inconsequential to me that it won’t hold me back in the slightest, and as a matter of fact, I find that wee bit of extra weight sort of comfortable and sturdy. What will bug the snot out of me is broken needles (because I carry my knitting everywhere I am death unto wooden needles for socks) bent needles (the cheaper aluminum ones don’t really stand up well to my sock lifestyle either, although until now they were they best I could do) and needles that aren’t sharp enough to make light work of stitch manipulation with cables and such.

Everybody else is going to have their own set of priorities. It could be that flexibility is really important to you, in which case you’re really going to hate the Knit Picks needles and would enjoy plastic. If you knit very loosely and find that your needles slide out of your work easily, these are going to make you nuttier than Peter Pan at a retirement home and you’re going to love bamboo. If you love smooth, fast, sharp needles, these are your babies.

There are no “bad” needles out there, just needles you or I don’t like. I could pull what I thought was the worst needle out of my bag tomorrow and someone here would defend it to her death as the best needle ever. There’s simply too much personality in knitting for us to ever be able declare a universal best choice. (We can have the Circular VS Straight argument tomorrow if you like.) For now, I’m really enjoying the Nickel Plated, and there’s only one way that Susan Bates has got them beat….


You can’t match the Knitpicks to your yarn. Bummer.

208 thoughts on “Tuesday Q&A

  1. I’ve knit with all 3 – and I think “sturdy” is the perfect word for the knit picks. I love the weight, and the feel in my hands – wish I’d known about the kit before I bought 3.00 & 3.25, though.

  2. I like the sturdier needles for socks but use different needles types for different projects & strangely enough my kids can be sent for the sock needles, sweater needles, etc, in such ‘n such a size & will come back with the correct needles.

  3. For you, the force of knitting nature that you are, I bet Knitpicks would start coloring their needles in a second. Maybe they already are.

  4. The circular vs. straight argument? Wow, you are felling feisty today, aren’t you? That metric thing really gets you going, I see. If we start throwing out words like bushel and peck, does steam come out of your ears?

  5. I am all about the bamboo needles – I don’t like the inflexible feel of the metal ones and I really don’t like the sound they make while you are knitting. I carry my sock in progress all over the place, and so far I have yet to break a DPN (although I did manage to lose one on the bus, no idea how).

  6. I use to love bamboo but slow ugh! I bought some Knitpicks dpns and wow I love them.. I love your Susan Bates needles, the colors are nice. I wish I could find them here.

  7. i tried to knit with the kp, and the weight didn’t bother me. but the tiny pointy ends stabbing me in the palms of my hands did. they are crazy pointy! i might like them if they were 7″ instead of 6″ long.

  8. I inherited 2 complete sets of colorful metal straight and circulars needles from my mum, and though they’re 40+ years old, they get the job done just fine. And there’s the sentimental value of knitting with the same needles my mum used to make my sweaters. I do have wood needles, and honestly I find I prefer them, but when it comes to the smaller sizes (0,1&2) you can’t beat the metal for its stability. Knit Picks. *sighs* Someday. When I can financially justify owning a complete fourth set of needles . . .
    Oooh, another secret. Can’t wait to see this one — but then how can you top the wedding!?!

  9. I *was* going to suggest in some sort of cleverly snarky way (as is my wont) that you spin — today’s Tuesday, after all — but given how beautifully you spun that coral batt last week, I just don’t have the heart.

  10. Yay Knitpicks! I can finally get circs for socks in all the sizes I want without living on peanut-butter sandwiches for a month. Their new sock yarns feel great too! I’ve used DPNs for socks for a long time (and my DPNs are all SusanBates) but I’m really in love with KP circulars.
    It looks like your sock (and the family) had a great time!

  11. If I, an American, may be permitted, I’d like to join you in your American sizes rant. If the universe revolved around me, (I am assured it does not.) we’d scrap the weird sizing and agree to use metrics for everything. And I love the knit picks needles, especially the different length cables.

  12. Yep, needle choice is a subjective thing. I tend to generally prefer sturdier needles, but once did a lovely lace project on bamboos – a light-headed and light-handed experience. I also love the Susan Bates coloured needles – I’ve got a whole bunch of my grandmother’s in my collection, though sadly I swear most of them are three feet long. Thanks, Stephanie, for the link to the KnitPicks dpn kit. Can anyone out there tell me your experience with shipping from KnitPicks? We Canadians don’t like to be stuck with huge brokerage fees when knitting goodies cross the border!

  13. More type trivia to entertain your friends at the pub when you run out of knitting humor — the reason we refer to Upper Case (Capital letters) and lower case letters is that in most newspaper offices, the Capital letters were kept in the top slanted case (Upper) and the small letters were kept in the flat, bottom case (Lower).
    Sorry for the non-knitting related content :-).
    -Sadly (sigh) blogless, Lynn

  14. Ooo, Ooo!!! Let’s have the circular vs straight debate. I’d really like to hear your take on that. I’m currently trying to learn magic loop (more for a change of pace than anything). I’m finding it challenging but fun.
    BTW: Do you or anyone in your house read Harry Potter? I got my book, finished it. Well, that’s all I’ll say here. Maybe we (knitters who love HP) can discuss in a few weeks when we’re sure most people have finished it?
    I love knit picks too. I hope they are socially responsible.

  15. I tried the Knit Picks and loved them, however I broke out from them (Metal allergy). Sticking to my Susan Bates, they are even dishwasher safe πŸ™‚

  16. Ooh! Ooh! I’m so glad you answered this question (I’d emailed you the exact same question a while ago, but I think it was during the Great Disappearing Email period, and I didn’t want to add insult to injury by emailing again). I just ordered some of the Knitpicks dpns yesterday (almost got the kit you mentioned, but I thought I should probably try them first; now I wish I had). I have a set of Celtic Swans in US #1s, and I love how unbendy they are; doing cabley stuff with bendy needles really drives me nutty. Good luck with your secret project πŸ™‚

  17. I have to say I have always been a bamboo fan. Took me forever to find a set of interchangeable circs in bamboo, but I did. I am an American, and I agree that our system stinks. I am also a physicist and agree everything should be metric anyways (all day at work is meters and then I have to think in miles to drive). But to add a point about the double 1 problem in needle sizing, I have seen often here needles sold in US size 1.5, which corresponds to the 2.5mm metric. I have no idea what could be done for US size 2s since I have never seen a 2.5 sold.

  18. ROFL…I thought I was the only one who matched needle color and yarn color! I agree with you, knitting is such an individualized pursuit that everybody will have different opinions on just about any aspect you can name. I’ve only done socks on bamboo DPN’s, but I have some KnitPicks circulars and absolutely love them. I love how they feel in my hands – smooth but substantial. Kinda how I like my coffee, in fact! Really it’s just fun to try different things, eh?

  19. Hey why are you always picking us Americans? What is so wrong about not using the metric system? We already tried to use the metric system in America and it didn’t work. So you just have to deal with the fact that we don’t use it. So stop complaining about it!! We are not going to change our ways for a disgruntled Canadian! Besides we accommodate for you anyway by putting US and metric sizing on knitting needles so what are you complaining about!?! Who cares if there is two US 1 knitting needles? There isn’t that much size difference to them anyway. I think you just need to knit and have fun. Stop worrying about a trivial things like if needles sizes should be US or metric. Just get over it and knit!

  20. I noticed recently that knitpicks expanded their needle sizes. I keep trying to get ahold of the 2.25 mm 32″ circular, but they seem to be constantly sold out. Finding a “true” US 1 long enough to magic loop and with a smooth join has been the great hunt of my short knitting life (imagine my great disappointment when the Addi turbo I ordered was a 2.5 mm). In the meantime, I will be sticking with my cheap aluminum dpns (I don’t even know who made them).

  21. I have some of the Susan Bates that I got from E-bay because I Love the colors (and matching them to my knitting) and I really really hope Kelly at KnitPiks reads you and colors her needles now.
    How would I use this set with my needle sizers?? I have three – a KnitPiks, an old metal Suan Bates and a plastic Boye. They all differ in the mm’s for Size 1, Size 2 etc. If I weren’t at work I’d do it in a table to show the differing sizes. Where can I get a needle sizer that will show me if I’m using a US #1 (small) or a US #1 (larger) if I get the KnitPiks set???
    We all should switch to metric for sizing (regular as well as needles). It would make life so much easier – imho.

  22. Love the Knit Picks too, but wouldn’t it be cool if they came in different colors? Sometimes I suspect I am knitting with one needle a slightly different size without realizing it.
    It all seems to work out in the end though.

  23. I love your “whatever works for you is great” attitude. I hate that “because you’re not doing it EXACTY like I do so you must be doing it wrong” thing that some people have. My dear mom tried her darnedest to teach me to knit when I was about 9; I just couldn’t keep the loops loose enough to allow me to knit into them. But, I kept the “throwing” thing. Then when my Nana (my dad’s mom) taught me to crochet, I did it by throwing. I had so many “ladies” tell me laughing that they didn’t know whether I was knitting or crocheting since I was wrapping the yarn around the hook manually, instead of using the hook to catch the yarn. I guess I was supposed to be hurt, but at the time, I just thought, “You poor stupid old biddy, knitting uses 2 needles, I’m using 1 hook. Duh.” Since then, on my own, I learned a different way altogether to hold the yarn, so when I crochet, I do it sort of continental style, and when I knit, I do it English. Wierd, huh?
    I love knit picks too. They have great yarn, but I’ve never tried their DPN’s. I like Boye, they have the different colors too. I love that! I know I can just grab the purples or the blues and not worry about whether they’re 2.25mm or size 2 or whatever.
    PS. I am so looking forward to seeing you in Wichita. I love knitting road trips!

  24. I generally use Susan Bates, but I just got a set of Knit Picks. I like the shorter length (6″ vs 7″). It seems to be a little faster for me. But I’ll never fault anyone for his or her own needles choices πŸ™‚

  25. Fine needle commentary.
    We just had this needle sizing discussion in NORWAY!
    I have a question unrelated to needles and indirectly related to knitting . . . what camera do you use? It seems to photograph everything well–from butterflies and pennies to border-distant hotels!

  26. Umm, Tyna, hon? I’m really, really hoping you were trying to be funny with your comment. But if not? Consider taking a deep breath and backing away from your computer.
    Bashing our Stephanie for stating her opinions isn’t really what the blog comments are about.

  27. I think Tyna needs to decrease her coffee intake…
    I, a devoted bamboo needle sock knitter, have become a convert to the Knit Picks needles. I still love the bamboos, and use them, but I find I’m reaching for the KPs as often. It also depends on how many socks on the go I have – currently, three pair…

  28. I don’t use DPNs, but I do use the Knitpicks circular needles. While I do notice the weight if I’m comparing them side by side with Addi’s, I don’t really notice it any other time and I LOVE THESE NEEDLES! I’d love them even without the price.

  29. Have to admit I like metal, wood and plastic, depending on my mood! But haven’t tried Knit Picks needles yet.
    I know you’ll mourn with me. I’m trading my elderly cousin wool socks for one of his detailed little carved animals. Beautiful work and well worth a nice pair of socks. So, of all the lovely sock yarns available, what does he choose… you’ll love it… white, not cream or natural, but white. And make them just like his cotton socks please. Oh, the boredom!

  30. Are you wishing to have needles the same color as your yarn? That might make it harder to see your stitches, especially if you’re working with laceweight on small needles. It’s a matter of preference, of course, which is one of the great things about knitting!–but myself, I prefer to have contrast, it’s easier on these old eyes.
    (Hey Tyna Miles, did someone pee in your Cheerios this morning?!)

  31. Then why on earth am I using the pale green ones with the hot pink yarn?
    Oh right, that was the size I needed. LOL.
    Back from vacation, missed your blog.

  32. bring on the wooden needles! Though I keep breaking rosewood sock needles – I’m obviously not someone who can own Nice Things. Even if bright-colored yarns look soo good on them… So bring on the bamboo!
    I don’t use cable needles – just an extra bamboo sock needle instead. I’m in the ‘metal needles are too slidey’ camp. And in the ‘dpns are better than circs for small tubes like socks and sleeves’ camp.
    I bet if we all put ourselves in camps there’d be more camps than commenters, tho. 1 crafter = 27 opinions… πŸ™‚

  33. How is it that I have never seen that kit on Knit Picks before? Just yesterday I was muttering to myself about the “absolute stupidity” of having to buy each set of sock needles separately. My frustration may or may not have been compounded by having to buy an whole new set of #2s due to dropping a needle on an airplane, never to be seen again. Not that the KnitPicks kit would solve that particular problem.
    Now how to do we go about setting up an Orphanage for incomplete dpn sets?

  34. I use bamboo, but am slowly switching to something that doesn’t break so much (my needles are often U’s). I really like the Knitpicks dpns and don’t notice the weight. I also like them because the tips are really pointy. Like wit, I like my needles sharp.
    And Tyna, the no-metric thing goes way beyond knitting needles. In the end being the only country in the world not using the standard systems of measurement (ie metric) will hurt your country’s competitiveness in the global market as manufacturers (who are more often not in the US) refuse to make special devices just for one place. Think of everything that is standardized in manufacture, including the machines that do the manufacturing.
    We switched to metric when I was in grade school (the 70’s) and frankly, it’s still taking time to be fully implemented. I still think of weight in lbs and height in inches, but everything else is metric. It’s not that it didn’t work, it’s just that you’re not done. All science is done in metric, as is medicine and much manufacturing (especially for export). It’ll happen eventually.

  35. thanks for answering my question! i will give the knitpicks another try, but since i had traveled 150 miles to the class and was also working on socks with the new sox sticks — i felt the difference. i have to say that i LOVE sox sticks. i have yet to break any sock needle. and, btw, i also have a new “sock needle holder”. it is a tube which has a groove in it. you can slide your needles and sock-in-progress into the groove, snap on an endcap, and the socks can be thrown into anything without a) losing a stitch, and b) breaking a needle. it is the coolest thing. mine is wood, but a friend of mine has had her husband make them out of pcb pipe for less than $1. so when she sells them, they are not expensive because she is able to get an easy mark-up. they are so great for sock knitters.

  36. Just FYI, Brittany sock dpns have been issued in US sizes “1.5” and “2.5” to accommodate the difference between metric and US sizing, so we can have it all! I have to agree with you here, though – that standardized metric sizing for knitting needles would be a relief, although I’m not wild about going totally metric in the rest of my life! πŸ™‚

  37. I knit socks with the 2 circ method. I used to looove bamboo but I’ve found that I really like Knit Picks and now use that for everything from socks to sweaters. Love their circs! The cable is really smooth, just like the Addi’s. They also have 2 sizes for all their little sizes (to match the metric system, which really confuses some US people).

  38. I prefer Brittany DPNs, although lately I’ve had several break (I knit 10 st/in. on 2.0mm). It’s most annoying, although Brittany is very nice and replaces them quickly. I’ve been telling new knitters to buy needles according to the metric size, if one is specified in the pattern. I’ve found that US sizing doesn’t always match the metric. I’ve got one set of Knit Picks DPNs, but haven’t used them for much more than knitting a sock swatch. I’m sure that I will learn to love their sturdiness, though.

  39. Can’t match needles to your yarn. LOL! Love it!
    I can’t knit with KPs b/c the heaviness REALLY makes my hands hurt. I bought a pair of KPs and knit with them and LOVED the WAY they knit. (sigh) I just can’t knit long with them.
    I’m in the US and don’t want to go metric, but even I can see the difference in the two 1s and the two 2s…

  40. I think that the Knit Picks needles have made me a better knitter (a less cranky one for sure) I love their extra pointiness. The Addi’s feel too blunt now. I don’t use dpn’s though…I’ve been convereted to the dark side and use 2 circ’s. But the KP really do make such a huge difference. I didn’t think they would…but they do. LOVE THEM!!!

  41. I’m one of those loose knitters for whom metal dps are a form of torture. Anything is better than suddenly finding that one of the needles you haven’t been holding onto tightly has just abandoned ship. But I agree that wooden needles that break are exasperating. While I love rosewood needles, a broken one is a tragedy. So my favorite for sock knitting is – pony pearls. Metal core for strength, plastic for a bit of grip, color coded by size for my sanity. Yes they flex, which I don’t mind at all.

  42. I am a bamboo-needle-knitter. I can’t stand the sound of metal rubbing metal; it makes my teeth ache. I like that yarn doesn’t slip off easily, that they feel warm and natural (to me), although I will openly admit I am a “tight knitter” (think: chainmail) and have broken more than a, ahem, *few* needles. So it goes.
    I also am totally dedicated to double-points over circs, because I like seeing all those pointy bits poking out everywhere.

  43. Yes, o Harlot, would you tell us where you got your scale and how much it weighs? I have gotten the sock bug in a big way, and just splurged on a bunch of Fleece Artist and Handmaiden sock yarn. As you know, one skein makes a pair of socks and I am totally anal and i MUST be able to divide the skein in exactly two halves, without unwinding it all over my living room. Therefore I need a scale. But what to buy?
    Thanks for info,

  44. I bought some Crystal Palace bamboo dpns in a bunch of sizes last year. The 2.25mm were called “1”, the 2.50mm were called “1Β½”. Similarly for the “2”s and “2Β½”s.
    I noticed recently that I have a size 6 which is stamped as “4.25mm” but which fits through my Susan Bates sizing thingy hole that is labeled as size 6, “4mm”. Go figure.
    Better in millimeters, though – no ambiguity.

  45. Um, may I ask? How did Rachel come to the conclusion that her Susan Bates were dishwasher safe? I’m envisioning some horrible knitting/housework debacle…
    Oh, and I believe that the Susan Bates are color-coded so that a certain size is always a certain color, whereas the Boyles are randomly colored, so grabbing 2 needles the same color does not always guarantee the same size.

  46. Yes, let us have that circs vs. dpns conversation! I’m firmly in the circular camp now, and I don’t think I can go back. DPNs have a certain aesthetic charm, but I just can’t juggle that well.

  47. Gee, it’s even more complicated than I thought. I’ve got this old needle sizer that came free with a Vogue Knitting subscription in 1980-something, and that shows some metric sizes as simply not having US size equivalents. I didn’t realize they were sold as ambiguous “equivalents.” My own size 1’s are really old, maybe older than I am, and I’ve had them for so long I don’t even remember where they came from. I inherited them from someone, maybe my grandma, maybe someone else (the old “oh, you knit! My [insert relative here] knit and she died — do you want her needles?”), but I can’t find my needle sizer right now, so I don’t know what the metric size is. They’re good and pointy though. Man, I can’t stand needles that aren’t pointy enough.

  48. I tried the Knit Picks DPN’s just last month (in fact, I was casting on and knitting with them for the first time while listening to you in Petaluma!) and it was a lightning bulb moment. I am finishing a pair of socks up on my wooden’s and it’s killing me to knit with them. From now on it will be metal all the time!

  49. I think must be the Needle Harlot or maybe the Needle Schizophrenic. I have nickel-plated needles, plastic, resin, bamboo, rosewood, and whatever my really old Susan Bates circs from the 80s are made of (something grey). I use them all. For some projects it takes a few tries with more than one needle before I settle on the “right” one.
    For socks, I love my Pony Pearls. Can’t abide metal dpns for socks, can tolerate bamboo dpns. For some projects/yarns, bamboo or rosewood straights are perfect; for some lace projects, nothing will do but my Bryspun straights. For others, only an Inox circ will do.
    I’m currently knitting a lace merino shawl using a US3 Knit Picks circular and whenever I am working on it, I am convinced it’s the best needle I’ve ever known, I mean used. It’s “my precious” and don’t anyone dare try to take it away!

  50. I’m glad for the discussion on needles. I was all excited when Knit Picks came out with sock needles. And then I tried them. They’re just too heavy for me. Seems like two (Canadian) pennies’ worth shouldn’t matter that much, but for my sometimes cranky wrists it does. πŸ™ So, it’s back to bamboo for me. I also agree with what other writers have said about sizes–the Knit Picks 0, 1, 1, 2, 2 thing puzzled me since I’ve always seen things like 1.5 and 2.5. Oh well, c’est la vie.
    Now, regarding the little metric issue… Metric is indeed a better system because a US size 1 needle can have different sizes depending on the manufacturer. For some manufacturers this is 2 mm, for others it is 2.25 mm, and when you are knitting something that small .25 can make a difference in that bane to knitters everywhere: gauge. (Oh, and I’m from the US. Midwest born and bred.)

  51. I used to use metal dpns, but after a few socks, I noticed I was getting a contact allergy to them! Am I the only one who got hives from knitting? πŸ™‚ I’ve switched to bamboo, and I’m very happy with them so far. I just bought my first sets smaller than a US size 3 this weekend though, so we’ll see how the breaky goes.

  52. I have some Inox needles that I find to be a LOT heavier than my good new grey metal dpns. The grey ones would be my good old dpns, but I haven’t been knitting in a big way all that long. My next needle purchase is going to be a really small setof something very pointy. I’m hoping to improve my lace with very pointy tiny needles.
    And if I have to manufacture them myself,to make the perfect tiny needles, I will dadgummit.

  53. In reference to the metric vs English vs American discussion — I am a citizen of the USA, and am looking forward to the day when the USA:
    a) changes to the metric system to go with the rest of the world
    b) retires the one dollar bill in favor of a dollar coin. The Canadians did it, why don’t we? Because our congress is a bunch of wimps who listen to the loudmouths shouting “greenbacks forever,” and not to those of us who are really tired of carrying around those limp paper dollars and would like to find vending machines that take dollar coins and we wouldn’t have to dig through our wallet to find a dollar bill that is in good enough shape to go through the coin reader. The gov’t is trying to whip up interest by issuing dollar coins with all the presidents on them, much as they did with the state quarters, but it is even hard to find the coins at the bank!
    Okay. I think I need to go lie down now. Oh, wait, I have to meet my husband at the bank to see about borrowing money to get our son through college.

  54. Dear Ms. Pearl-McPhee,
    I am writing to inform you that you are being thrown out of the International Blogger’s Association for violation of the following definitions of “Blogger”:
    1. Bloggers must have strong, preferably irrational opinions about tiny issues (but fail to admit the issues are insignificant in the face of war, world hunger and the mighty force of love).
    2. Bloggers must defend those opinions to the death.
    3. Bloggers must admit no opposition to their stated opinions and will, for preference, use foul language and cutting remarks about the sanity/intelligence/legitimacy/smell of anyone who disagrees with said opinions.
    You have,
    a, failed repeatedly to comply with these directives
    b, not responded to the Council’s disciplinary measures (aka the squirrels).
    Therefore, we are withdrawing your right to describe yourself as a blogger, you tolerant, crazy, pointy-stick wielding wierdo.
    Yours sincerely,
    The Blog Police

  55. I just picked up a pair of Audi Turbo Lace (circular) for the MS3 (a treat from my great-aunt). WOW! I’m absolutely in love. Too bad I can’t afford them very often.
    Hummm….Maybe I should look for a job that pays more so I can afford better needles πŸ™‚
    As to sock needles, I knit with whatever is handy. I think I like the Bates needles because they’re cheap and easy to find and when I lose one, I have a whole bunch more … because they’re cheap… and easy to find…

  56. I love to color-coordinate my knitting needles with my projects! (I happen to love working with old metal straights, so there is a pretty good range of colors to choose from) Other knitters have made fun of me for matching my needles to my yarn, but now I can say, “If the Harlot does it, it must be okay!!!” πŸ™‚

  57. I have to admit that I loves me the bamboo. I almost always use 2mm needles (even for larger sock yearns like Trekking XXL)and I just can’t stand holding little unflexible metal needles. After a pair or two of socks my bamboos have a lovely little curve to them that fits just right in my hand and makes using such tiny things to make a garment that will get worn out faster than not a true pleasure.
    Also, could not agree more with you about the American size system. Metric is the only way I can keep needle sizes straight in my head (and I’m an American).

  58. *cough* Mary, dear, I think you mean PVC pipe. Not as bad as my mother calling it “pcp pipe” AT THE HARDWARE STORE, but still.
    And then there are those of us who don’t use DPNs for socks at all. Too easy for the Toddler, the Cat, the Husband, the Purse, or myself (the Knitter) to pull one out when there are so many & they have ends at both…ends…that didn’t come out well, but you know what I mean. It’s a bit of a challenge to translate sock patterns from 4 DPNs to 2 circulars sometimes, but who doesn’t love a challenge? πŸ˜€

  59. See, this is why I like knitting socks on 2 circs. πŸ˜› I knit loosely so if I use metal DPNs I’d have needles dropping out all over the place, if I used bamboo they’d break all the time the way I handle my knitting, and I don’t like my needles to be flexible.
    So, it’s metal Knitpicks circulars for the win! All the stiffness and sturdyness of metal without DPNs dropping out all over place.

  60. I would love to become familiar with the metric needle system. I feel the same way about celcius. Does anyone know what the learning curve is on that? How long is it going to take me to make the transition? It’s hard to get comfortable with a new system when you’re living under the old.
    Know something? I remember when I was in sixth grade (about 1986 or so) and my sixth grade teacher was introducing us to the metric system. I remember him telling us that by the time we were adults, the US would likely have converted to metric and we’d best get used to using it.
    I’m 31 years old now. I wonder if that old teacher is disappointed about that.

  61. It does seem better to have the needles in metric. I have a pair of size 2 needles that are bigger than all my other 2’s, so I guess that explains it. I wonder if an American can convert to Canadian even if they can’t move?

  62. I TOTALLY agree with you about these needles! I use both types of needles – the KP one and bamboo – I let the yarna nd project dictate the needles. Sometimes I use Pony Pearls – light & flexible. I recently learned it IS possible to break one though. And when I recently used the KP dpns (one of the size 1s – 2.5mm, I think), I really liked them, HOWEVER the nickel plating kept chipping off of the tips, on every needle, and made the tips feel rough and subsequently, my yarn would catch on them (insert the same sensation I get when I hear fingernails scratching on a chalkboard!). I need to contact KP about this because I wasn’t using them for any other purpose than what they were designed and created for so it must have just been a flaw with that batch. Have you ever had this happen to your KP dpns?? Thought I’d ask since I know you use them a lot.

  63. Remind me to send a photo of my seriously warped wooden knitting needles for socks . . . I switched to Addi Circs. I couldn’t afford to keep knitting with wooden. Apparently I have a really, really tight grip (not necessarily on reality however)!

  64. Any metal sock needles make my finger joints and wrists hurt. I much prefer Bryspun flexible needles or bamboo. I just wish I could get a good point on the bamboo without splintering the wood. Even a SSK is sometimes hard to do with bamboo.

  65. The only complaint I had about the KP dpns when I first got ’em was they were so darn SHARP. I’ve since gotten used to that! Before KP, I was using Inox needles, which I was quite happy with for a very long time.
    My favorite thing about the KP dpns is their length. 6″ is perfect. I don’t want to be working on 8″ sock needles — that’s way too much length for me.

  66. “There are no bad needles.”
    I like that!
    And so very true.
    I have more needles than any three knitters should probably have, and though I have my preferences, the right needle for the right yarn and project can vary so much, but makes all the difference.
    I too want to hear from Rachel about the ‘dishwasher-safe’ needles…
    And, Steph, I think most all of us American knitters would love metric sizes. So much more logical. Not that the old British sizing made any more sense, in fact less (at least US numbers go UP as they get bigger). But who in the world came up with the current US needle sizing system anyway?!
    When my family and I were recently in Montreal on vacation, we valiantly stuck to km (not hard) and degrees Celsius (a little less intuitive, since it’s not straightforward to convert). I finally have figured out that 20 degrees is cool room temperature and 25 degrees is a warm day; 30 is HOT! We had lovely weather in Montreal, highs around 23 – 24, lows about 19!

  67. I love this blog to death.
    I’m joyous that the overcaffinated rantings of naval gazing weirdos go largly uncommented on – save for a few choice comments.
    I lauged my arse off at the Blog Police comment and the “PCP pipe”.
    Gotta like it when the comments are as entertaining as the blog itself.
    Looking forward to the circular debate as I cannot adjust to dpns for socks and in 1″ of sock have lost 2 needles already.

  68. I recently bought some sock needles in an “emergency” (as in I found some fleece artist sock yarn–a rare find in my area–in a store and didn’t have any sock needles on me so I could start knitting IMMEDIATELY “emergency”) and ended up trying some bamboo takumi clover’s (which I know wouldn’t be sharp or slippery enough for you) but they were 5″!!! They are my new favorite sock needles. I wonder if it would work if I stuck all my 6″ needles in a pencil sharpener to make them all 5″ too… ;^)

  69. The whole size issue irritates me too.
    I just call them the 1.5 & 2.5 …but I don’t think that fixes much.

  70. Agreed — and Susan Bates’ colored needles makes it easier to find a set that match! (But I still prefer my Knit Picks!)

  71. Please, no…not the circular vs. straight argument. ANYthing but the circular vs. straight argument. We can talk about U.S. foreign policy and health care, childhood immunization, abortion or Craft vs. Art — but NOT circular vs. straight……….
    (What I’d really like to talk about the the final Harry Potter. Who’s in?)

  72. Rams, I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you…
    (My book hasn’t arrived yet.)

  73. I’m with you on the US size thing. If we’d just go metric it would get rid of a lot of confusion. The first time I noticed it was when I first tried the socks on two circs method. My dpn’s are 2.75mm but my circular Addi Turbo’s are 3.00mm. And at first, when my socks turned out slightly bigger, I thought it was just because my gauge was different on the two circ method. That drove me nuts for a while.

  74. The “there are no bad needles” mantra sounds like my favorite wine-rating system:
    “A good wine is a wine you enjoy drinking.”
    Phooey to the “experts” who say otherwise. πŸ™‚

  75. Hummm. I have never tried the Knit Picks needles. Wood never fair well in this house. Toddler, dog, cats that like to chew them, etc. I normally do the magic loop on my Addi’s, but my 2 year old bent the crap out of one the other day. Do you think that the Knit Picks DP are any stronger than the Addi circs? I love the fastness and smoothness of the Addi, so I am sure that I would like the feel of the KP. I am just wondering about the strength. I knit really tight too, so the metal helps out so much when trying to move the stitches on the needles.

  76. I’m a sock needle ho. I have the Susan Bates needles, the Brittanies, Aeros, Clovers, 1 set of Crystal Palace (7″), KnitPicks circs, Inox Express circ, …. I keep changing my preferences. I just finished a sock with Clover 5″ 2.25mm, and I’m doing a pair of Monkey socks now on a KnitPicks 32″ 2.5mm. There is a weight difference, but it’s only noticeable if you go straight from the bamboo to the metals.
    Length of the needles make a difference for me, too. I have yet to try 6″. I guess I just have to buys some more needles!

  77. To those who think I drink coffee and should calm down; I just wanted to let you know that I don’t drink coffee πŸ™‚ I am very calm and I was just expressing my opinion just like Stephanie does. I have right to express my opinion on knitting just like she does. I just feel people should get over how needles should be sized (US or metric) and just have fun knitting. I have fun knitting and I think everyone should! BTW I pretty much like any needle (wood, metal, or plastic), I knit with whatever needle I feel like knitting with (depending on what the pattern calls for).

  78. My problem was two-fold. I bend wood and bamboo needles at sock size (2mm) but I live in constant fear of the needles falling out while I’m traveling, chasing children, whatever. So I use the knitpicks, 2mm, 32in circular and knit two socks at once in magic loop. No way to lose it and the rigidity of the nickel plated loveliness. Ah the lengths we go to to be able to knit socks anywhere. Now I just need them to come out with a longer length cable at that size so that I can do adult socks this way. Right now I can only do the kids.

  79. Gimme a few more days before the Harry Potter discussion. I let my husband read our copy first, and yesterday there was a marathon of Tony Bourdain on The Travel Channel, so I’m only half done.
    Hey, a girl’s gotta have her priorities…

  80. I’m an equal opportunity needle user here. But one thing to look out for. I discovered recently that the size 1 and size 0 needles on my susan bates sock needle set were almost ALL the same size! Out of the 10 yellow and green needles (oh, and could they have been SLIGHTLY easier to tell apart?) .. 9 were a size 0, and just 1 was a size 1. Made for some mass confusion for a while! A phone call to the company got me a replacement set.. but I tell you.. until then, I thought I was going out of my mind. So everyone.. check your needles!

  81. I have yet to finish a single sock (hangs head in shame) but I do seem to collect dpns. The Bates needles do have this going for them – a set of 25 (5 each of 5 sizes) is only $10.00 US! You can also send a non-knitting SO or child to “get the set of blue ones”

  82. Stephanie,
    I’m not sure if you will read this comment or not, but I just had to let you know about my July! This doesn’t have anything to do with sock needles, though. Sorry! I just got back Saturday from a 3-week course for French teachers in MontrΓ©al! I love Canada and my husband and I hope to move there someday, so it was awesome! One of the best parts was finding a really great yarn shop. I wanted to let you know about it, because it was really charming and you might want to consider it for a stop on your Canadian tour sometime! (I was there for a few hours and people were coming and going the whole time– some francophone, some anglophone) The girl who does the designing of the models they have hanging in the shop is very sweet and is a big fan of yours! When I asked if she had heard of you, she said “bien sΓ»r!” She has quite an interesting story, and you might want to visit this shop just to meet her! She is originally from France and moved to QuΓ©bec because she couldn’t find the yarn she wanted in France! That’s dedication!! (My husband wants to know when I’m going to insist we move to the Shetland Isles). Anyway, the yarn shop is EffilochΓ©, website: http://www.effiloche.com. CΓ©line (the gal from France) is not the owner, but I gather that she is the main (only?) employee. I thought this might interest you. Oh! I also bought some Canadian yarn– Fleece Artist? I have lots of projects going, but couldn’t resist…

  83. I thought you were using Susan’s nice colorful DPNs in a few photos. Cool.
    I just got back from a lunchtime LYS run to pick up Addi Turbos, having run out of patience with bamboo circulars (actually with myself attempting to use them, the bamboo circulars are just fine). Sometimes the weight of metal is a deal breaker due to arthritis on the other hand (pun) a sturdy unflinching metal needle can make stitches easier because they ‘get it’ the first time.

  84. I have a large collection of double points in sizes 4 and up. The majority of these are Susan Bates (with the lovely colors) and bamboo (with the warmth and lack of ‘clicking’ which I love). Then I learned about sock knitting. I just spent 5 days in 30 degree Celsius weather at the local county fair (my socks won a blue ribbon!) and as I knew the loss of a dpn would drive me over the edge, I did my sock knitting using magic loop. This was a top down pattern, but if it had been toe up…I would have been using my double points…I like them better for toe up!
    I live and work in towns closer than 30 minutes to the US/Canadian border. I remember back in the ’70s when the US was going to be metric within the next 10 years (Mom was a teacher involved in the change). Now I am a teacher, and I see the confusion which is caused in the industry because of the lack of change. Although knitters have it a bit tough unless we use the metric numbers…just think of the hassle the automotive mechanics have. No wonder it costs so much when our cars break down!

  85. I like to use needles with strong color contrast to my yarn’s color. This works for me when knitting at dusk out on my patio. Of course, those glow in the dark things would be even better.

  86. LOVE the Knitpicks though I’ve been a bamboo faithful for several years. However, I’ve now found I switch depending on the yarn. The knitpicks are so much more pointy and work really well with “splitty” yarn.
    It would be WONDERFUL if Knitpicks were colorcoded to size though. I don’t like having to stick them in my needle sizer all the time!

  87. Love the Susan Bates needles–any size, any length, circs or DPNs. Easy to find a pair, but I always use a contrasting color to my yarn–makes it much easier to see. I bet I’ve got more needles than anyone–dozens and dozens and dozens. All sizes. All colors. I’m not really sure, but I think I may even have some ivory ones that belonged to my great-grandmother.
    Having said that, however, I’m not crazy about the ones marked in metric sizing. Because I have so many WIPs going, I had to make a quick run to a different LYS than usual and had to buy two sets in metric sizes, and I just don’t get it. I guess I’m too old to switch.

  88. They all look like “Pick-Up Sticks” to me, anyway!
    Love your post! So true about the differences in knitters and needles!

  89. I love the Knit Picks needles and the new Addi lace needles for socks (especially those with cables or many K3tog in them) but da*n those suckers are really, really, really sharp! How do I know? I got the yarn tangled around my foot, stood up and impaled my foot. I suppose the pointy tips made the impalement less painful but it did sink in quite deep.

  90. As usual, a perfect read for the end of my work day. I’ve not started knitting socks (yet), but have some nice sock yarn marinating in my stash…I’ll have to save this post for when I do start.

  91. Oh my word!!! Where do I get the Susan bates coloured needles in small sizes like 2.25. I have a problem seeing the sts. on gray needles when knitting with gray yarn and have been searching in this area for them to No avail. The socks are crying for me to get them done and I would do IF I had some red , purple green or what ever –just NOT gray needles.

  92. Hmmm, I really would like to try those KnitPicks dpns. Every way you described them – sturdy, not too flexible, pointy, and slick – suits me to a T. I guess I’ll have to look into them! πŸ™‚

  93. Imagine my surprise I had just ordered the knit picks this morning and then i see your blog on them. I had recently ordered Lantern Moon rosewood needles in size 2 and within half hour of use I broke a needle. I do not have a death grip on my needles and I was really disapointed. As you travel all the time I imagine the airlines are not giving you a hard time with metal needles, that is the reason I have been using Britneys and Bamboo.

  94. I was *this* close to buying those yesterday….but opted to wait and think some more. I’ve only just started knitting socks…and with bamboo dpns.

  95. pcv pipe. yep. see — i don’t “do hardware stores” and was just writing what i “heard”. anyway, i don’t care what the sizing is. i do not know metric. i am nearly 50. i remember 30+ years ago the US wanted to switch to metric. my father was an artist. he had all of his rulers and the like in inches and feet. he was also a commercial artist. he said they can change all they want, but he had his stash in inches and feet. and the metric system never took off here. to me, it doesn’t matter. on the rare occasion when i go out of the states, i figure it out then. just like i don’t know how to use EXCEL. if i need to, i’ll learn it.
    anyway, to those who worry about stitches falling off dps, the “gadget” i mentioned above is the best invention in the world. i just throw the thing and the attached skein into my purse and off i go. stitches and needles intact.
    btw, i almost always use 5″ for socks.

  96. I knit lossely and really prefer bamboo or wooden needles. I also have a history of tendinitis in my hands and wrists so I prefer the give of them.
    However, I knit on circulars for everything. I own two pair of double points — size US 8 and US 10 which for me would only work on really bulky yarn. I tried two circulars within a month after I learned to knit on doublepoints and I never went back.
    Unfortunately, I’m now knitting socks on 1s (2.5mm) and 0s (2mm). Crystal Palace makes bamboo circulars in those sizes, but their join doesn’t work for knitting on two circulars in the round. I use Turbo right now, but plan to try the new lace needles from Addi once they can actually be had in appropriate sizes. I split yarn so I don’t think the knitpicks would be better for me. Except they have the 2.25mm. Hmmm.
    And I may actually try DPNs again even though I remember them as hard on my hands and prone to multiple ladders and dropped needles.
    By the way, what happened to size 00US (1.75mm?)?

  97. I love knitpicks and now I HAVE to have a set of those DPN’s (had I realized they had a set I would have bought them with my circular set). Thanks for the recommendation. πŸ™‚

  98. You’ve convinced me! I’ll definitely have to try out the KnitPicks needles at some point now. I usually love the Susan Bates, but after my son bent a whole set by sitting on them, I’m thinking a little sturdier would be better. πŸ™‚

  99. Thank you so much for this! It’s really useful to have all that information about size, weight, and flexibility.
    (Insert joke with feminist underpinnings about one’s own size, weight, and flexibility here.)

  100. I knew that the wood needles were lighter but didn’t realize it was that much. I put back a pack of Brittany’s at the LYS the other day because they seemed too light. I am not crazy after all – they really are lighter. I too am a big fan of KPs though I bought mine individually since the kit wasn’t available at the time. I like the extra weight too. I also like to balance of the Knit Picks. To me that is the thing that I notice the most between aluminum and KPs – that and that nice pointy end on the KPs.

  101. To Tyna,
    No one is questioning your right to have your opinion. I think everyone of the 100+ commenters thus far think knitting should be fun. No one else, though, even if they disagreed with Stephanie’s opinion about metric vs. U.S. sizing, felt that an appropriate response was to “bash” Stephanie about her opinion.
    If you reread your first post, you will see that you perhaps came on a little too strong with your comments. For instance “So stop complaining about it!! We are not going to change our ways for a disgruntled Canadian! Besides we accommodate for you anyway by putting US and metric sizing on knitting needles so what are you complaining about!?! ”
    Many people, myself included, think that an excessive use of exclamation points indicates a rant, not an expressed opinion. Sometimes rants can be funny, Stephanie for example, is very funny when she gets on a tear about crocheters using up all the yarn. It is funny, because it is tongue-in-cheek, mostly. It is also funny, though, because we know she is joking.
    Since we, the other commenters, do not know you, we did not know whether you were trying to be funny or not. Some commenters tried to defuse the vehemence of your comments by asking whether you drank coffee, etc.
    Don’t be afraid to express your opinion. Just ask yourself before you hit post, if someone had written this to you, would you be offended or hurt by receiving the comment?

  102. Well, you could match your Knitpicks needles to your knitting if you just knit everything in grey. πŸ™‚

  103. It does seem that using metric sizing would be better. Still, I just grab the needles that work best for what I am doing and forget about the rest. For you, dpns work great for traveling knitting, but for me, Magic Loop is better for knitting on the go. Go figure, eh?

  104. Since you did say the word “circular” (you started it) I gave up on my Denise Interchangeables, which I really thought were fantastic because of the wide range of sizes and cord lengths. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was when I was working on a sweater for my 6 ft 6in (about 150 cm?) son and the durn needle came apart form the cable and I dropped enough stitches to turn me into a swearing maching. I picked up the stitches, apologized to anyone listening, and order a set of Knit Picks options–yes, circs. The came last week and all I can say is wow. Wow. And again, wow. Those babies are indeed all they’re cracked up to be and then some. I’ve just got to try a pair for socks ASAP–or as soon as my next order arrives.
    As for the metric rant, you go, Girl. I’m a third grade teacher and when we get to the measurement “unit” I have a little sit down talk with my students about how superior metric is and how we are the only stubborn people to not convert to metric. We actually have that discussion all year long when the kids decide that we really “need a precise measurement and US customary measure just won’t work.” Ahhhh, third graders! They’re so smart!

  105. Dude. You found a freakin’ Butterfly to match the travelling sock on the weekend. Now you want needles to match too?
    There’s just no pleasing some people…

  106. I’m pretty knew to knitting and have yet to knit a sock… ya’ll almost have me inspired to try it though… but I’ve used dpns for sleeves and the bend in the plastic ones I tried freaked me out. I use Knit Picks for everything else I do and Love Love LOVE them! I’ve tried plastic and bamboo and for me they just don’t work… I’m a really tight knitter, and my yarn sticks to them too much and makes the knitting go too slow for me… so the knit picks is just perfect for me… pointy, slick, fast!!!

  107. I apologize to those people I offended with my comments. I don’t think I will comment on this blog page anymore, since I upset so many people. I am just upset at Stephanie for picking on US sizing. I happen to like it and I didn’t mean to offend. I am truly sorry to those offended.

  108. I just tried out Addi Turbo (circ) in size 2, as my Denise kit doesn’t go down that far. I loved the slipperiness (mostly), but now my wrist is back in its brace. πŸ™
    I think it’s precisely the slipperiness. I’ve been knitting socks on size 1 bamboo DPNs since April with no problems. I think I’m pinching the needles extra hard to keep the yarn where I want it.
    Anyone else had this problem? Are the KP really better wrt tendonitis, etc?

  109. I’m glad you posted this! I’m clumsy and heavy handed, so not only do I break wooden sock needles in my bag, but I’ve literally snapped 5 of them just by knitting too hard. I have 3 Susan Bates needles and I swap out 2 wooden ones at a time (oh yeah, I also lose things) — but I’m thinking maybe I should upgrade to the knitpicks…

  110. to knitters in USA the red scarf project
    is on for 2008 we knit scarfs for orphans.org
    now norma knits is helping and online
    the scarfs go to orphans and fosters who are going to college and jobs etc they will go
    into care pkgs mailing will be early sept-oct
    knitters sent in 15,000 last year theywould like
    only 7.000 this year we kinda swamped them last year
    something to do with all our needles and yarn
    now i need a hot fudge sunday with a root beer float on the side wish you the same

  111. I use ebony, bamboo, and metal needles with equal enthusiasm. But pointier needles would be nice to have…

  112. Tuesdays are for spinning! Tuesdays are for spinning! I started knitting socks with super tiny needles (1.25mm) so I bought Addi Turbo stainless steel needles. Not very economical, but incredibly sturdy for something with less thickness than a toothpick.

  113. To Tyna:
    You just need to take a step back and chill for a mo’, I think. Life’s too short, dude.
    I completely agree with you about KP needles, but certainly it is a preference. When I first began knitting I couldn’t stand metal needles because my stitches slipped off them too easily so I became an exclusively bamboo user. Given the quality of KP, I decided to give their needles a shot though last year and I am a convert. I was SO glad when they made DPN’s because I found myself searching for things to knit where I could use my circ set!

  114. I too, love the Knit Picks needles! They have a View Sizer (Item No. 80306, $2.99) that measures both the 1’s and 2’s (2.25mm, 2.50mm and 2.75mm and 3.0mm, respectively). It even has a magnified area to check stitches per 4 inches (or 10cm, if you are so inclined). As far as the set of dpn’s, I think they must be new. I haven’t noticed them packaged together before. I think they are a superior product, and Kelley Petkun should be really proud of her company.

  115. OK if I could afford Knitpick or Addi needles I would probably buy them. Currently I use the Susan Bates and Boye metal ones. Last weekend my husband grandmother gave me a bunch of knitting supplies, needles,bobbins,stitch makers,row counters,stitch holders(yeah I was a happy grateful girl) Anyway here is what notice and wonder if anyone who has received needles from their grandmothers notice,those dpns that were given to me felt lighter and were sharper than the newer one I own and some were Susan Bate and some were Boye(which came better packaged then in a tube case and for only .50 the price was still on them).As far as the circular and straights they both have their advantages but for sock knitting I like straights now I have to admit I have yet tried circular sock knitting but would be willing to give it a try. Currently I saw a pattern for a pair of socks knitted on two straight needles and thought this would be something different to try,ugh it seems like it takes so much longer than in the round at least the pattern is pretty so knit on I shall. Wonder if anyone else found that they took longer to knit than in the round.

  116. I use my kitchen scale to weigh yarn all the time (much more than food) but I’ve never used it to weigh needles! I’m partial to the pearl dpns for basic socks, but anything involving twisted stitches or cables sends me running for the metal dpns I picked up in Germany some years ago.
    I’m disappointed that the US never made it to the metric system; by the time I got to elementary school they’d given up trying to teach it. Then I moved to Germany and fell in love with metric…The only problem I had with that was that most of my US recipies measured things like sugar and flour by volume rather than weight; I was trying to make brownies in parts of liters!

  117. Tyna, comment, please. After all what’s in a name. One way a particular size is called by an assigned name which happens to be a number, one way its called by it’s diameter using its metric measurment. There used to be a distinctly British size name system too, different than US, and different than metric. Really its just a name. The point is its all needles, its all knitting and its should all be fun…unless you have to frog miles, or the feet of your socks don’t seem to be growing at all no matter how many years you knit on them.
    Hey wait a second, I crochet. I crochet lots. We hardly use any of the yarn. Its the knitterly types…
    Scurrying off, hightailing it even, back to own blog…

  118. I’m with you on using the metric measurements for declaring needle sizes. I don’t even pay attention to the US sizes (and I’m in the US!). I’m all about 2.0mm and 2.25mm etc. (Did you know there are several US #10.5 sizes? Who makes this stuff up!?!) And darnit, now that needle set is going on my wish list!!! (I already have a few pairs of their DPNs; but I don’t have the full set).

  119. I just saw that set of needles in the KnitPicks catalog. I think I’m gonna buy me some.
    I like the Susan Bates needles too, but I sure have bent a lot of them up. I’m hell on needles too.

  120. I use Knit Picks dpn’s all the time and just love them! My old favorite needles were bamboo by Crystal Palace, but I only use them now if all my knit picks are in use. I have 3 sets of each of the sizes 2.0 mm through 3.25 mm and am still considering the new set with all the sizes. I like to knit 2 socks at once, back and forth from one sock to the other on two sets. When you’re done, you’re done. I just can’t seem to STOP!!!
    I really like the metric sizing because there can be a real difference in the look and feel of the fabric just by going up or down one metric size. I also like the weight of the needles. They really have some substance to them.

  121. I think it would be sweet if circs came in colors like Susan Bates straight needles. Maybe with fluorescent colored cables?? Amazing.
    You might not like to know that I knit socks using magic loops :-O And I love it very much! I’m ready for the duel – as long as reason is involved!

  122. Wow. Now my head is really spinning. I am a fairly new knitter and recently decided to learn some new skills, beginning with knitting in the round. DPNs are making me crazy right now – I haven’t even figured out how to hold them yet. Cast on, divide the stitches between the needles, but after that I’m all thumbs. Hats off to you folks. I shall persevere and hope to have a sock – or at least part of a sock – to bring to Atlanta in September.

  123. Yeah, I like the KnitPicks dpns, too. I’m really a 2s2c sock knitter, but I was making some gloves and decided I needed dpns for the fingers. (I used 2 circs / 2 gloves up until the fingers.) I got the KnitPicks dpns and found them to feel almost like my Addis, only with slightly sharper points. And I love the price. Only problem is, now I need to get up a $45 order to get some more so that I’ll have the psychological boost of free shipping!

  124. Well, first, Tyna doesn’t speak for America! I too wish we had metric-it just seems simpler but we have had our system for so long we can’t seem to get past it. My kids would come home from school and say “he cut his knee and the gash looked about 5 centimeters” and their Dad and I would look confused. Maybe there is hope as each new generation gets more into metric.
    Circulars-love Addi’s(hate the cost) but have found Inox (from Schoolhouse Press) to be every bit as good and much cheaper. I first tried them at Knitting Camp with scepticism but was very pleasantly surprised.
    DP’s -depends on the project. I like Bamboo but the size o’s and 1’s tend to break and bend. I like the metal ones because of the pretty colors(Now I sound 5 years old) and will try knitpicks soon.
    Straights-I hardly ever knit with straights-but I think those long straights from the 40’s and 50’s are good for only one thing-staking tomato plants!! I use circular’s so much that when I do use a straight, I keep dropping the left one when it is empty-cause I think I am on circs. Annoying.
    My knitting thoughts are-if you like it and it works for you then you are doing it right.

  125. I don’t care whether it’s metric or standard. I just wish it were universal. sigh
    I use my ancient Boye needles, have for years and they do me just fine. I’m sure if I ever tried any of the Knitpicks, I would not be as satisfied, but I must send my youngest to college this year so it’s not an option (no pun intended).

  126. I had no idea they had a set like that! I have to get it now. I was going to order 0,1,1,2… And the non US syetem is better then the US, and I am a US knitter. I get looks when I go looking for what ever mm size I want.

  127. For me the biggest requirement is the length of the needle. I have some Susan Bates, but they are so long they drive me crazy! My birches are just the right length (5″), but I agree, they are way too bendy.

  128. gah. I must knit very VERY loosly, because even though I use bamboo and birch, my needles are constantly slipping out of my work.
    I also use some old, old boye aluminum no. 1s and positively some-other-brand no. 3s, and though I don’t have a gram scale, they feel much lighter than the Susan Bates. so for people looking for a light but slippery needle, perhaps junk stores and garage sales are the place to go?

  129. Jennifer at July 24, 2007 2:50 PM
    No, you’re not the only one who’s allergic to them. I have a nickel allergy, so until KnitPicks or Addi comes up with a better way to coat their needles, I’m spit out of luck.
    I do like my bamboo and wooden Brittany dps – they are smooth but not too smooth, and they have nice sharp tips.
    Alas, though, something about how I knit means that I keep wearing the coating off the ends! My needles get splinters! and so I have to stop to sand them periodically, and once in a while re-coat them with clear nail polish.
    (Does anyone else have this happen?)

  130. I also have a deep and passionate love for knitpicks needles. Until I got the options circs I really would rather have avoided knitting on circulars altogether. Now I’m not entirely sure how I can give up the fast, sharp, smooth as glass needles. I could be a commercial for knitpicks needles… I love them in a way that may not be totally appropriate for knitting tools πŸ™‚

  131. The first place I went to look for sock needles when I started last fall (no, I still haven’t finished a pair yet [g]) was Knit Picks, because I prefer the 2 circs method. My last experience with dpns was in the 70’s, and I’m *still* traumatized! πŸ˜‰ I’m a loose knitter; even using the Inox dpns with the coating back then, the three needles I wasn’t knitting on would slide right out of the stitches! (Boy, that’s an interesting grammatical conundrum in that sentence… You know what I mean.) Not while the project was lying around or being stored, please note. No, they’d do this while I was knitting on the 4th needle. Zzzzzzip, gone. Let’s not even go into the problems of finding a way to navigate in a sane manner among all those points.
    So I’m happily using several sets of KP’s circular 0’s and old 1’s in the 16″ length. (I tried the method some recommend of 1 24″ circ and 1 16″ circ – didn’t like that, the points are longer on the 24″ circs; too long for my hands.) With the circs I don’t have to worry about losing whatever needles aren’t being worked with, and I love KP’s pointy tips! I’ll get some of the new #1’s when I can afford it. πŸ˜‰ Oh, and KP’s needle sizer is much more precise than the good ol’ red-and-silver metal needle sizer/gauge measurer made by whoever it is.
    Although in case I ever fly anywhere again, I did gulp and spring for a set of #0 HiyaHiya bamboos. (God, I giggle every time I see their name.) I figure if I’m desperate, maybe I can at least manage not to have dpns flying away from me, although I dunno if I’ll manage to actually work with ’em. [g] I looked at Crystal Palace bamboo circs, but aside from the price – eep! – closeups I saw of their points looked way too rounded. HiyaHiya, on the other hand, are almost as sharp as KP’s metal needles! Plus come in 5″ and 6″ lengths. Cool; I got a 5″ set. Everything else, though…it’s my Denises, yea and forevermore. Been using them since the 70’s and only had them come apart once when I accidentally gave them a *really* good yank. Amazingly, nothing on them broke; they just came apart. And I can be fairly rough when sliding things around. πŸ˜‰ I figure once in 30 years is a miracle of good engineering.

  132. “these are going to make you nuttier than Peter Pan at a retirement home”
    Okay, we have *got* to start a Harlot Encyclopedia of Sayings!

  133. I’ve been going back and forth for the last year or so trying to figure out which dpns my fingers seem to enjoy working with the most. I’ve discovered that I’m not all that fond of bamboo, because I break them. A lot. I don’t care for plastic because … it just doesn’t “fit” and the best so far, for me, have been the cheapies, Susan Bates. I’ll admit, I’ve had to get a few replacements for a bent needle here and there that couldn’t be bent back into place, but I like the fact that 1)I can afford them and 2) my stitches don’t fall off the needles like they do with the plastic and 3) I can’t break them. I have yet to try the knit picks dpns, they shall be next on my list.
    Now, in regards to colored dpns… i have a cute little story (sorry to make this comment so long but I just had to share it!) Last May, we were at a family reunion, and my cousin was expecting baby girl number 2. Her older daughter was watching me knit some socks, and pointed out that her new baby sister would be needing some socks knitted up for her too, and that I really needed to use the red (pink?) colored needles (susan bates) because the baby was a girl, and no other color would do! It was the cutest the way she said it πŸ™‚ I love colored dpns too!

  134. Knitpicks dpns make me incredibly happy, they’re so sturdy and shiny and fast! They are a tiny bit heavier, and while I notice the weight, it doesn’t seem to lead to any wrist pain.
    Also, Brittany makes some adorable 5″ birch needles for socks, but I live in constant fear of breaking them, so they are mostly my in-flight needles. (Wood has to be less of a threat than metal, right?)

  135. Tyna, don’t be afraid to comment again. Just keep in mind there are some unwritten blog rules and as you have found out, the blog polices itself quite effectively. The rule you broke? – feel free to express your own personal opinions, as adamantly and colourfully as you wish. (Humourously is good too; this is at its core a light-hearted blog.) Do not, however, criticize the opinions of others. You were not just expressing your opinion like Stephanie does; if you think about it you will realize that she never says anything derogatory about another person.
    A general rule of thumb, if you’re still not clear: statements with “I” are good; so, ‘I (personally) loathe metric’ – no problem. Sentences containing both “you” and negative emotion are dicey (‘Why are you…’, ‘what are you…’, ‘who do you think you are’ – bad.). And of course having “I” doesn’t excuse “you”, so ‘I think you…’, ‘I can’t believe you…’ – still bad. On the other hand, “you” and positive stuff, i.e ‘I think you’re the greatest’ – totally allowed.
    You’ll get the hang of it. Don’t go away; it’s a good, crazy, fun place to hang out.

  136. I’m a bamboo needle fan. 1, I just like them. 2, I’m starting to get a little arthritis in my fingers and metal needles make them ache. I don’t know if it’s because they are too rigid or if they’re too cold. I just know that I can knit for a longer time with the bamboo.
    On the size issue, I have both US sized needles and metric needles. It would be more logical to have everything standardized but, in practice, it doesn’t matter much to me. I rarely follow patterns and I knit almost exclusively with my own handspun so I just choose the needle that gives me the fabric I want with each yarn. I did break a number of needles when I started using bamboo but I don’t anymore, at least I haven’t in a couple of years.
    I use dpn’s for socks, they’re what I learned to make socks on 40 years ago and I’m comfortable with them but I use circular needles for most everything else.

  137. I have been enjoying Brittany birch dpn for socks, as those needles seem to meet requirements of airplane security staff in North America/Europe.
    I usually have backup Pony Pearls in my checked luggage, just in case.
    I did try the fancier needles in a metal box once, but they seemed to be very splintery.
    I too am very impressed by the Brittany replacement policy.
    p.s. is there anyway to post a comment without the email appearing on the website?

  138. Having just-this-minute finished Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows I have to admit that this needle thing is a lot like the wand thing. Maybe the needles pick the person?

  139. Love metal needles for socks and always knit faster, hate the US needle sizing (and the UK traditional method – almost opposite each other) – why oh why isn’t the world metric – like Australia and Canada – and don’t even get me started on the different names for wool weights!

  140. I am a fan of addi’s, and kp circs. I try dpns but don’t make as even a fabric. i am personally enamored of the 2 circs to do socks and any other small round objects that need making..you know..sleeves, hats… love your blog. can’t wait to see you in burlington on thursday!!!

  141. I hate the knitpicks needles, too heavy! πŸ™‚
    My favorite needles, and I’m kinda surprised these aren’t your favorites too, being a loyal Canadian and all, are my Aeros! Yes, I had to mail order them from Canada and yes they do only come in sets of four but I LOVE THEM!! (I buy 2 sets so I always have spares and they have the full range of metric sizes too like the knitpicks) I love their smooth Teflon coating, their very pointy tips and their strength! As an aside for those who don’t want to send to Canada for them, they are made by the same company that makes Inox and Inox are readily availiable here in the states.

  142. Most Norwegian patterns (Dale of Norway, etc) use the metric sizes and the difference between the two “1’s” and the two “2’s” is huge. I had to rip out a baby Setsdal sweater completely and start again due to using a US 2 and getting almost half again the size – the sweater sized for a toddler would have fit in kindergarten! The difference really does matter, and I have just received my own first KP circs and can’t wait to try them. I can’t find the metric sizes anywhere locally.

  143. Love, love, love the kp dpns! I only have the size ones (which one ones, I don’t know right off hand – stupid system, I agree). But I seem to have the unfortunate distinction of having some sort of reaction with the nickel. So by the time I’m done with one sock, they’re all dirty/sticky feeling and the stitches are really resisting any and all sliding. I clean them with metal cleaner, but besides being a nasty job, they never get back to the brand-new shininess and slipperiness. Figures. At least I’m not allergic though. They were almost cheap enough to be disposable, but I see the price has increased quite a bit from when I first bought them.
    I also like my Susan Bates size 2’s, but not as much as the kps. Never tried anything else, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t like the bendyness or warmness of non-metal needles.

  144. I like metal dpns as well, but completely adore bamboo for heavier projects. All that weight hurts my poor wrists.

  145. What are these “DPN’s” of which you speak? Aren’t all your needle needs met by circulars? I know mine are. Oh wait. I don’t knit socks. Or anything on straights. I’ll leave you alone if you leave me alone.

  146. KnitPicks don’t match your yarn? No, I think this one falls under the Motorcycle Rule — “Chrome (or in this case nickel!) goes with everything!”
    However, I’m ambivalent about them; LOVE the tips, but the 6″ length is just marginally too short for the way I hold my hands when I knit, and combined with the sharpness of the tips, I tend to sort of scrape my hands with them a bit.
    My favorite sock needles are the Wright’s Boye aluminum DPNs; they’re really similar to the Susan Bates, but just a smidge more sharply pointed. I own, um, I think 5 sets in US size 2 alone.

  147. Hi I am waaayyy down the bottom here but am pulling my hair out while trying to start a lace shawl and I have not even gotten past row 2 yet, not a good sign! I am going to try again tomorrow first it was the provisional cast on that had me wierded out now they have me doing a yo for the first stitch followed by a pearl and the yo just falls out cause it isnt between two stitches. I may visit my lys for help, I hope they are in a good mood. I was wondering about your shawl, is it difficult? I knit like I cook, I cannot improvise, I follow word for word, so I am guessing your pattern isnt for me? My first ever lace project and I am bummed!! Karyn

  148. I just don’t knit socks.
    HEY!! How did that skein of Tofutsies get in my stash?!!

  149. I’m going to have to agree with everyone who’s in favor of bamboo. I love that they don’t click every .05 seconds and that they’re lightweight. Perfection.
    I did just start a hat with bamboo yarn on bamboo needles. I fear that I will start attracting pandas.
    (Also, yes the US must go metric and our needle sizes seem totally arbitrary.)

  150. As an American, I think the system is ridiculous too. I’ve seen people refer to them as 1.5 and 2.5… but I’ve also seen 2.5mm needles labeled as both size 1.5 and size 2. It’s um… a WEE bit frustrating. I’m metric converted when I talk about sock needles.
    Now… shall we tackle Inches? Yards? The ego of whatever American decided we needed to be different from the rest of the entire world?
    Oh, and I like your needle choices. Mine are exactly the same. Knit Picks #1 and cheapo Susan Bates #2.

  151. I love DPs to the extent that I can’t get gauge at all on circulars at all. Apparently I’m a a reincarnated Shetlander or something, since I knit on long long DPs to knit sweaters circularly. Circulars hurt my hands for some reason. And for straights, I think you can’t do any better than Aeros.
    Anyway, to answer the question about why we have freaky sizing on needles is, assuming I am remembering this correctly from Rutt, that the old UK system made sense at the time – where the smaller number is the larger needle. It’s based on the same system of gauge as wires from which the needles were made. Sewing needles are done similarly, Metric sizing makes sense. 2mm is 2mm the world around!
    OTOH, I have no idea why the US system is the way it was. I’m sure someone with Rutt probably can look it up, or it’s probably in some knitting history book or article somewhere.

  152. Someone who loves Susan Bates as much as I do likes Knit Picks needles? Great, that sound you heard was my resolve and resistance crumbling. Must try! I hope they don’t bend, I hate that the Susan Bates ones do sometimes.
    Metric. All the way.

  153. I’ve heard 2.5mm needles called “1 & one-half US” and 3.0mm “2 & one-half US” [My computer doesn’t do fractions.]
    Once someone had pointed out to me that the needles Addi sells as 1US and 2US are actually 1.5US and 2.5US I just thought of them that way. I’m ALL for going metric. This crazy government has enough other things to change. Let’s just do it. Knitters Unite!!

  154. i’ve actually heard those additional sizes called 1.5 and 2.5. go figger. i agree, i like the metric system better, but i’m just not used to it, being in the us like i am.
    i actually prefer the brittany needles, myself. i’ve got clover bamboos, and i do use them, but the birch makes a nicer, sharper point (ouch!), and they don’t flex as much as the bamboo does. and i’ve never broken the birch ones. i’ve snapped a bamboo (and a rosewood, too, sob!)
    have you ever had trouble with your knitpicks peeling the varnish/finish? i have a friend in virginia who has had 3 sets peel, so she’s given up. i wonder if her skin’s just that acidic?

  155. Ones ones and twos ones . . . I’m giggling myself silly. I needed a laugh today–thanks! And, needles better than Susan Bates aluminums?! Woo hoo! I love the Susan Bates but they do tend to bend into uselessness within a pair or two of socks for me, so I’m psyched to learn about the Knit Picks ones. Too bad Knit Picks doesn’t make it easy to figure which size you’ve got by making them blue-blue and red-blue and red red and . . . well, you get the idea. I like the different colors for different sizes. I don’t even know which size I’m using anymore, I just know I need “the red ones” or “the greeny-yellow ones.”
    Speaking of needles, everyone, if you haven’t tried the Addi Lace circs, give ’em a whirl . . . heaven if you like light, pointy, slippery, rigid needles. Unless you are like our dear Harlot and don’t like circs, in which case we can have one of those crocheters v. knitters-type barroom brawls if you like. Martinis first, though, fisticuffs (needleicuffs?) later. We must have our priorities straight.

  156. I had no idea that there was a difference that really mattered… I suppose it does in a sense, but frankly, it’s really all good. I actually prefer my Susan Bates metal needles though because they’re colored. Metal needles don’t tell you what size they are, wooden ones do. So I know that my pink dpns are US 6 and my blue ones are US3. It helps. The rest of them are wood, not too bad. Crystal palace or something like that do really good double points. I’m not really a fan of wooden needles, but they’re alright for Dpns.

  157. “There are no “bad” needles out there, just needles you or I don’t like.”
    This proves that you could have an alternate career as a psychotherapist. Moderate in temperment and eschewing judgment as much as possible. There might not be “bad” measuring/sizing systems either, just ones that you or I don’t like — or that don’t work!!

  158. I use “Pony” DPNs and they’ve always been fine, they are about the right weight for me, and not too slippery. I have inherited some old steel DPNs, which are also OK, if a bit heavier. The bamboo type I’m not at all sure about, I got some very thin ones for some baby bootees I knitted and they were so bendy it was just…wierd…to knit with them.
    I like bamboo ‘big’ knitting needles – as the metal ones drive me insane if they are anything over 4.5mm (too heavy, and my stitches fall off) and the plastics seem to have no points on them whatsoever, at least you can sharpen bamboo!
    UK ‘old’ sizes confuse the hell out of me (and I grew up with them) maybe becuase they areopposite to the US sizes. Metric – now used in the UK – is much easier, and would be really good as an international standard.

  159. Tammy:
    A more organized knitter might have considered… *giggle* *snort* a gauge swatch. (Insert hysterically ironic laughter here. In the same situation, I gave it anyway, suggesting the child would ‘grow into it.’ She did. πŸ˜‰ )
    Linda: Be careful of those guys. Their sticks have hooks.

  160. I love the idea of the knit picks and the addi turbos. I only have one problem. I’m allergic to nickel. πŸ™ I get an allergic reaction when I try to use them.
    I also don’t use dpn’s – i haven’t mastered that yet. πŸ™‚ I like the denise needles – good alternative for me.

  161. The fact that the knit picks slide so easily makes them so much less painful for me to knit with. But I wish the dpns came in a longer length. I’ve been making men’s socks and I’ve had to be really vigilant to keep all those stitches from sneaking off the 6 inch needles!

  162. I used to LOVE matching my needle to my yarn. Now I have mostly Addis or bamboo, though (depending on the project), so the days of color coordinating are gone. Sigh…

  163. I have Crystal Palace sock needles in 1.5 and 2.5 to add to my 0, 1, 2, and 3. The frustrating thing about Crystal Palace is that they refuse to put the metric equivalent on any of their needles, not simply the in-between ones. So although I would like to convert, I have a hard time remembering which metric size corresponds to what.

  164. I knit socks on a single long circular needle, and knit picks mens I get to buy more yarn, since their needles are 1/3 the cost of addi’s, and to my hands, just as good. (Maybe not as absolutely perfect a join, but good enough for government work, as the saying goes.) If you use 2 circs, the price difference is enough to buy 3 or 4 extra skeins of sock yarn! I was using bamboo circs, but the cord is much more difficult to work with.

  165. never got into socks with circulars. i sort of enjoy the “history” of dps, although i do knit on circulars for nearly all else. i have the turbos in 12″ but my hands cramp on them — and, i have to go to dps at the foot.
    the other thing: i have yet to finish toe-up socks.
    but, since i have recently bought a TON of sock yarn — tofutsies, lorna’s, cherry tree hill, etc — well, perhaps there will be a toe-up in my future. i have a pair started. just didn’t get into finishing them.

  166. Hey, all,
    I find this discussion really interesting. It seems my hands are quite complacent – they like all or almost all needles. I’m one of the death grip knitters and the only needle that broke while working with it so far has been a pony pearl 2.5 mm (I’m not good at the American system, I’m German. I can usually “understand” the US system, have to use a table for UK, and of course, metric is home ground for me). The PP broke at the place where the metal center starts when doing a k3 tog. So no more PPs for me, at least not in such small size.
    What I don’t like in nickel plated needles is the reflections you get from them when working in artificial (especially halogen) light, which can be tiring on my eyes. So for knitting anything using a stitch pattern (thats usually when I use my eyes most – when doing plain knit socks I don’t need to look that much) I prefer the grey Inox or Bamboo or wood.
    Still I have preferences – I love to use Holz&Stein Rosewood, and for Bamboo I prefer Clover – nice hard tips, not that bendy as most other brands. But usually I use what is free anyway.
    As for metric/US: In Germany at least you couldn’t get 2,25 or 2.75 mm till the advent of the Internet. In normal shops they usually still don’t have them, I have to order them via Internet. So the Internet really brought diversity and choice for us. And yes, I do think 0.25 mm makes a difference in the smaller sizes. At least it does for me. And when you go below 2 mm, we always had 0.25 steps, but still those small sizes were and are hard to get. I’m very happy the Internet made things more available for us.
    Now the only thing I’m stumped about is that Knit Picks doesn’t do international orders. I’d really love to try these sets, especially the circulars. Mind you, for socks I’m all dpns, but mostly everything else is on circulars.
    And while we are still at the circular/straight discussion: I’m not a straight long needle fan, but lately I converted to knitting scarves on Clover straights in 23 cm length. Own the whole set already. Love ’em. Short enough to not trouble my hands and not poke a person sitting next to me, and no coiling problem. But yes, after having knitted on a circular for some time I need to change gear so as to not drop a needle when changing needles. Never happens with dpns though, funny enough, isn’t it.
    After reading my gabber I must say I’m really a weird knitter it seems…
    Chris 😎

  167. I’ve actually read this entire discussion, but I still have a question. I can knit hats in the dark–using a single circular–but I cannot manage dpns in the dark. I would like opinions: are two circulars for socks easier to manage than dpns? I haven’t really looked at what’s involved–is it half the stitches on one needle and half on the other? Or all on one circular and knit with the other?

  168. I just started two circ socks after 30 years on dpns and its kind of fun, but like you I find the bamboo flex too much, although a friend makes great ones from bamboo skewers that don;t break as often. I just ordered the knitpicks set as I can save a lot of money as I must have broken at least four bamboos, they break where they are stamped with the company name, a weak spot in my hands…

  169. LOL! I just *had* to add my comment to Chris 😎
    “..after having knitted on a circular for some time I need to change gear so as to not drop a needle when changing needles. Never happens with dpns though, funny enough, isn’t it.”
    And I thought I was the only one who did that! I almost always knit on circulars but switched to a pair of straights for a scarf when I didn’t have the right size circular free. Knit to the end of the row and *plop* just keep dropping that left hand needle! Hey, in circulars you just pick it up with the right hand and keep going. I had to keep retrieving it from under the sofa where it always rolled. But, yep, never happens with DPNs. I think our hands have “muscle memory”
    I’m trying Magic Loop for socks for the first time (I’m a DPN gal myself.) I can’t say I’m in love with it. But it does seem the way to go for travel knitting. I’ve retrieved too many DPNs from bus floors, under car seats, bottom of briefcases, etc. Home I’m sticking to my DPNs though!
    Barbara L in MA

  170. i have only just become addicted to knitting socks, so i *think* that i like bamboo, but i’m not sure. as far as metric vs. u.s., well, my mom taught me to knit when i was 4 (that would be 46 years ago, phew), and i now have a mishmash combination of canadian needles from the 50’s, metric, and u.s. it’s a mystery.

  171. I didn’t see anyone else mention this, and it may be because no one here is as old as I, but US needles used to be numbered 1, 1 1/2, 2, and 2 1/2. I was born in the US and have lived here all my life, but I hate US measuring sytems! Contrary to popular opinion here, metric is so much easier.
    Even the way we write dates has to be different from the rest of the world. What is wrong with us?

  172. I really like the Knitpicks also. I recently used their dpns for a non-sock project, and I really liked them. You are right about the weight, though, they seem comfortably heavy. πŸ™‚ As for the sizing challenges – I notice that I’ve been paying much more attention to metric sizing than the US. Who’da thunk, huh?

  173. Dude! So if they’re, like, heavier by 2 cents Canadian, they’re even LIGHTER in the US, because in the US, that’s, like, only ONE-AND-A-HALF CENTS, so then they’re only heavier by a penny, and we have maybe even smaller pennies, so I think that probably down here, they’re almost the same as aluminum.

  174. Knitpicks has incredibly expensive shipping prices if one doesn’t live in the contiguous United States. I live in Alaska and simply can’t afford their shipping. They don’t offer free shipping at any price level to us. Its almost as if Knitpicks doesn’t seem to realize that Alaska is a state in the union.

  175. I’m a Brittany birch dpn fan. I’ve only broken one in the several years I’ve been using them and Brittany sent me four! replacement needles. Great customer service. I also like the 5″ length.
    I tried some beautiful hand-forged bronze dpns once, but found them heavy and cold. They left black marks all over my hands, too.

  176. (insert obligatory rant about being unable to use the very awesome KP needles because of the nickel)
    I’ve started putting both the US & the metric size on my knitting notes. I’m amazed at how much of a difference that .25mm can make in a sock!
    Last time I was at Webs I found a needle sizer by Inox that has all the mm options on one side and the US sizes on the other. It’s very nifty!

  177. Stupid SAE. It’s what happens when you standardize “Oh, it’s yea so big” and “Oh, about yea so much.” 12 inches in a foot, 5,280 feet in a mile – pish! and also posh! Metric is much nicer. How many centimeters in a meter? Why, a hundred! Just move the decimal point and voila’.
    I like my knitpicks needles, though I use the 2 circulars for socks. Never have I seen circular needles with such fantastic joins – even the interchangeable ones join so smoothly!
    I’ve been trying to work out how you do the one-needle-under-the-arm thing, but can’t work it out. I am told that it is quite fast, but I wonder if it’s easy on the wrists. I feel like I’m trying to write left-handed and upside-down with my toes if I try.

  178. I would go for the knitpicks except for one itsy bitsy problem – they are too damn shiny. Maybe it is my aging eyes, but I have recently become very sensitive to shiny needles, especially when I am knitting black.
    Now, if they did them with a coating like inox/aero I would be in needle heaven.

  179. You know, I’m not overly picky on needle brands. I guess it depends on the project I am working on. Cabling, I want a rigid needle, lace rigid to slightly flexible and for mindless K & P anything will do…lol

  180. Yesterday was Tuesday–did you spin?
    My relationship with my needles? Unfaithful-I cheat on the KP, the Brittany’s, the Addi’s and the S. Bates. Does anyone one not have multiple socks going at a time? I love the variety. I love having 1.5’s and 2.5’s. More ways of getting gauge or controlling ‘firmness’. I have said for years that I am going to donate my straight needles and everything above 6 mm. Haven’t followed thru yet.
    Periodically my knitting is deemed excessive and Millie decides to remedy the situation by ‘tasting’ them. Apparently negative attention beats no attention. Goodbye complete bamboo or Brittany set.
    On my ‘wishlist’? I want a ‘needle hospital’. I would very happily purchase a single needle or two. Purchasing a new set of DPNs only means that I continue to be short a needle and that only means that I can’t start another sock.
    Or perhaps a ‘Humain Society’ for needles…. not cats.
    Do darning needles fit into this category?

  181. Back a few decades I was taught never to measure a knitting needle on any gauge but the one of the same brand. Boye gauge for Boye needles, Bates for Bates, etc. This doesn’t solve the problem of different actual sizes (vs marked sizes) but it does remove the ambiguity.
    If you really want to know the diameter of a needle, get a metric micrometer. You may get some real surprises with it.
    Regarding the metric system, the US is so far gone onto it that we don’t even notice. Look at pills, for example. Or beads. Soft drinks (2-liter bottles) and booze. Balls of yarn from those seeking a world market. Tools and machinery (it’s no accident I have a metric ratchet wrench set).
    Sure, some things are still on some odd-ball system, like wire gauge or sewing needle size. Not to mention nails, which are still in pennyweight.
    I think there are two main strikes against using the metric system in everyday life. The first is that there are no primary units in useful sizes for some things. The liter is just too big, whereas the cup is about right when you’re cooking. (We can have the volume vs weight measurement argument right after the straight vs circular needle argument is resolved.) Ditto the meter, when you’re measuring inch-sized things.
    And the second, which probably sounds trivial but is something I run into all the time, is that 10 isn’t divisible by anything but 2 and 5. Quarters and thirds get you into the little lines on the ruler, not the nice easy-to-see big ones.
    Just remember, something is the same size whether you measure it in centimeters or inches, liters or ounces. All measurements are just arbitrary numbers, based on an arbitrary standard. Metric measuring tools are all around us in the US, on the back of our tape measures, on the other edge of the rulers, at the holes in gauges. Just use those tools (consistently, no mixing the two systems) and you’ll find things are no more difficult.

  182. Diana was asking about using dpns vs. 2 circs for socks and knitting in the dark. You can use 1 circ for socks, as I understand there are very short ones available with that diameter. This would be the same as knitting hats on one short circ, only with very stubby needles on the end of the cable. I can’t use them, because with such short needles my hands tend to cramp. The plus of the method is only one needle, so nothing can get lost, very important when knitting in the dark. And you are already familiar with the technique.
    One alternative springs to mind, and that is the magic loop. You work on one relatively long needle, and while knitting you have two loops of the cable sticking out. This is best seen, I think googling “Magic Loop” should get you the info needed.
    The 2 circs method IMHO is too dangly. Half the stitches are on one circ, and the other half on the second half, and you always use the same needle on the same stitches, but change needles to go in the round. There is not much danger of a needle getting lost except for if you are a very loose knitter. One needle could slip out of the stitches while you are using the other.
    DPNs have one bad tendency (although I can and do knit in the dark on them): they can fall down. And you don’t like hunting a small needle in the dark. If you are used to 5 dpns you could also work in the dark on them, but there really is the dropping problem. This would be even worse if you are a loose knitter and/or use very slippery needles.
    If all of these methods are new to you I’d go for the magic loop for knitting in the dark. Just as with using a circular needle in the ususal way it would take some time to automatize enough to be able to knit in the dark.
    If you are very familiar with one of the methods, I think with some more exercise you should be able to knit in the dark with your preferred method.
    Hope this helps you to decide which way to turn,
    Chris 😎

  183. Oh, good, I “write” exactly the same way. Who was it that said that “Writing is easy. You just stare at the paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”? At least with knitting, even when I’m making dumb errors, I know pretty much how to do what I’m doing and don’t have to wait for inspiration… especially at the level of knitting I’M at.

  184. How timely! I just received my new Knitpicks dpns and your book, Cast On, for my birthday.

  185. Oh…I was waiting for a post like this. I’m buying the Knit Picks dpn set today now that they have your blessing! I, too, cannot knit with anything else other than metal and I love the Susan Bates (and any vintage metal dpns – like Marcia Lynns with sharp points – that I can get my hands on at tag sales, thrift stores, etc.)

  186. Hahah I totally recognize the Susan Bates sock needles. I don’t use them very much since I mostly use circs for my socks, but I ended up with some very “tired” needles last time:
    Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but my KnitPicks circs (which I assume are made with the same metal as the DPNS) have discolored as I’ve knit with them. Are you have a similar problem or is anyone else having the same issue?

  187. I actually have fondness for these teflon covered Susan Bates things that are hecka heavy, but really sharp and slick… and very cheap.

  188. I love when we get to peek at your needles/materials! I usually have my beloved HiyaHiya needles, they’re simple stainless steel, no nickle finish or color. I do love my KP’s, but I’m happy with variety and love color!
    I’m slow with figuring out metric, but personally I prefer metric for needles.

  189. It’s always puzzled me that the US introduced the world’s first decimal currency but never really got round to adopting the rest of the metric system. At least you’re consistently imperial, though! My generation in the UK thinks of length in metres but personal height in feet and inches (not to mention distance in miles), and weight in kilos but personal weight in stones and pounds. Work paper sizes are metric, but writing paper sizes are imperial. And packaged food in shops is marked metrically but sold in imperial measures – so golden syrup comes in 454g tins, and milk in 1.136 litre bottles.
    As far as knitting needles go, it’s metric all the way! I wish our circulars came in the same lengths as in the US, though – direct equivalents are hard to come by.

  190. AHA!!! I have a tool-thingy for measuring gauge and measuring US needle sizes and wondered why some of my needles don’t fit the needle holes sizes I would expect. When I get home, I am going to check the mm for confirmation. Then I will buy a metric tool-thingy. Thank you, Steph, for solving this mystery for me!

  191. Sharp little points on the KP dps, huh? Here I am making a heel that calls for unwrapping 2 wraps on a stitch, then purling all 3 loops through the back. I need a sharper point that Susan Bates puts on her 00 needles or a jackhammer. Did I mention that my knitting seems tighter than some other people’s? I’ll have to think about KP — but the flaky plating scares me a bit.

  192. Thanks for sharing what needles you use for sock knitting. I saw you on Knitty Gritty knitting a basic sock and I thought that what you were using was Knit Picks needles, but I was not sure. I bought some since then just to try and I love them. I too HATE that give from certain wooden needles in the smaller sizes. I’m always waiting to snap one. In addition, I also LOVE needles with a sharp point. I do some lace knitting and love the points of knit picks needles. I too have other kinds of needles and let the material that I am knitting with dictate the needles but for socks and lace…sharp points are for me. Thanks Stephanie

  193. I have the Susan Bates sock needles, and I chose them because they are colourful and pretty and at the time I wasn’t an experienced sock knitter and had no other criteria to better chose a set. But I do love them, and the “oooh pretty!” factor hasn’t gone stale on me yet.

  194. Oh man – I love bamboo/wooden needles for all of my other knitting but when I tried some (and they were pricey, even though they were on Clearance) for sock knitting I snapped them like twigs. It made me insane.
    People had told me my tension is tight, but I had no clue how tight until I tried to knit socks with delicate slivers of wood.
    I’ve yet to try the Knit Picks needles – I just ordered some Addi Turbo circ’s, since learning Magic Loop I find it so much faster than dpn’s but before that I just used the metal dpn’s my Nana and mother had – no clue who made them.
    The Bates option to co-ordinate with your yarn is enticing though…

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