I’ve been pretty quiet these days. Portland is in the midst of a snow-pocalypse and we’re all cozy at home. Snow is a rare occurrence in this town and this week we’ve had three days of it. The town has pretty much shut down. Cars and bikes are staying put and anyone venturing to the corner store for the essentials is on foot.
Most people, that is. I, however, took my North Idaho snow-savvy self to Twisted in my little not-so-snow-savvy Volkswagen. It was a little rough going, but a trip to the yarn store was essential in its own way. You see, I cast on my Olympic knitting project and found, horror of horrors, that I don’t have the right needles. A snowed in weekend, good stuff on the TV and a fully stocked fridge are nothing without the right knitting needles!
So, I had to buy new ones. Here’s why nothing in my rather ample needle stash would suffice.
- The gorgeous Plucky Knitter yarn that came in the Cookie A club this month is a little bit lighter than most of the fingering weight yarn I usually use to make socks.
- Said gorgeous yarn is also a little light on the nylon content (just 10%.)
- The last time I made a pair of socks out of Cookie A sock club yarn that met this description I wore a hole in them faster than you can say Hamantaschen (which is the name of the pattern I used.)
So, for these reasons, I decided to knit these socks with a tighter gauge than usual. I pulled out my stash of needles and sorted through the options. Here’s what I found.
First, though my preferred sock knitting needle arrangement is two circulars, I do not own a pair of size 1 circulars with short cables.
Without the circulars I would like, I decided to use the Magic Loop technique. I had two different needles that would work. To begin, I cast on with an unidentified circular needle I’ve had forever.
I think it’s a size 0 and the black cable would suggest Knitter’s Pride. Though I liked the gauge I was getting and appreciated the pointy tip for this lacy pattern, the join (where the cable meets the needle) was terrible and with all the stitch-sliding that happens with Magic Loop, I knew that these needles weren’t going to cut it.
So I returned to the needle stash and pulled another one out.
This is one of the metal needles I ordered from China. Paula from Knitting Pipeline discovered these super-cheap needles on eBay and I couldn’t resist jumping on the cheap needle bandwagon. The needles aren’t my favorite, but they do in a pinch and it’s always good to have some extras around, just in case. Though the join was much better, you can see in the photo that the needle is very stiff and inflexible. (You can also see in the photo how gorgeous that Plucky is!) I made do, though, and happily knit a few repeats of the lace pattern while watching the Opening Ceremonies. (I did manage to look up from my sock project long enough to witness the fifth ring fiasco. Poor Russians.)
Well, when I woke up this morning I could tell cabin fever was starting to settle in, so I decided to use it as an excuse to head out and remedy my needle dilemma. I also needed to purchase yarn for my Madrona homework, so I had good reason to head towards Twisted.
First, I scouted out the yarn. I’ve been dying to work with Quince and Company and Twisted has such a fantastic display of colors, I couldn’t resist. I picked out three contrasting colors of Lark — two shades of gray and a green that matches my winter vest perfectly (I think we’re making a hat.)
The homework instructions say to choose a DK weight, and technically Lark is worsted, but I figure I’ll just knit tightly and make it work. I also picked out a 16″ size 4 needle to go with the yarn. Hopefully I’ll cast that on this weekend.
While I was looking at the needles, my eye caught the Addi Sock Rockets in the corner. I asked the friendly gal at the counter about them and she raved! She said they’re the perfect combination of the pointy tip of the Addi Lace but the slick metal finish of the regular Addis. She totally sold me. I considered buying just one long needle for Magic Looping, just to save the expense of a second needle, but then I thought a minute. I realized 1 — I really do prefer two circulars. And 2 — I’m planning on making lots of socks this year. So I decided the two needles were worth the expense. I picked out two 24″ size 1’s and called it good.
Now, truthfully, I would have preferred a 16″ cable, but Addi doesn’t make the Sock Rockets with a 16″ cable. Also, if I had brought the project with me, I probably would have ended up getting a size 0. But I think the pointier tip will help keep my gauge tight, and the 1’s will end up being more versatile anyway. Incidentally, my usual sock knitting needles are 1 1/2’s.
I just sat down and knit a few stitches with the new needles and I love them. I was a little worried because I’m usually not a huge fan of really pointy needles. I would say that the Sock Rockets are not as pointy as the Hiya Hiya Sharps, but for me, that’s a good thing. I tend to split my yarn if the needles are too pointy. So far the Sock Rockets seem perfect. Call me a happy Addi customer!
I did realize, however, that the new needles would change the gauge of my knitting enough that I shouldn’t just continue on with the new needles. So I just pulled out the whole sock.
Oh well, I’ve got an evening of Olympic-watching ahead of me! I hope everyone is warm and happy and knitting!