Reverse needle snobbery

This seems like a fairly simple statement, and I guess it is. I’ve had a kind of reverse needle snob thing happen to me tonight. When I first started teaching myself to knit, I bought the most inexpensive aluminum needles that Michael’s had to offer. When I realized that I was going to like knitting and want to continue at it, I went back and bought needles in every size in the assorted color metal (aluminum, I believe) kind. This was before I knew anything at all about the world of knitting; I was such a “babe in the woods” that I had spent the whole 15 years of my crocheting career thus far using the acrylic yarns that I could buy from Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Meijer’s, Wal-Mart etc. I thought, when I discovered TLC Brand Amore (the boucle yarn in gorgeous colors that they have), that I had discovered the pinnacle of yarn. It was fuzzy, but not like those eyelash yarns that I saw there that scared me so much, and it was so soft and the skeins were 6 oz. (didn’t yet think in terms of yards). I had hit the fiber jackpot here. Okay, that was a bit of a tangent, and I still do really like that yarn for a quickly knitted or more likely crocheted (I still much prefer to get out the hooks than then needles when it’s a blanket that I’m going to be working on) blanket where you just work mindlessly back and forth until it’s as long as you want it. Back to my point, though…

Right after I managed to put together a few decent rows of knits and purls; my first scarf was barely off the needles, I decided that what I really wanted to do with my knitting was to knit socks. That seemed like the pinnacle of knitting to me. Who doesn’t want hand knitted socks? So I did sock knitting research and my next purchase were double pointed needles in the same multi-colored metal as the straights. I wasn’t even going to touch those crazy circular needles at this point. That happened when I bought the Denise set on Ebay (A descent into the madness that is an obsession with having the best working interchangeable set out there…I’m still waiting for the Addi set…again I digress). So now I have these needles and yet I somehow never try the sock knitting. The DPN’s, I find, are quite long and pointy and seem really frightening somehow. Nope, I think to myself, I don’t want to mess with those. Then I got the Denise set and I swore that I wasn’t going to mess with those DPN’s. I could learn 2 circs. or Magic Loop and I wouldn’t have to worry at all. Next I discovered the wonder that is bamboo needles instead of the metal ones. Hallelujah!! So much easier to work with – things stopped always sliding off. So I bought a huge mixed lot of bamboo needles on Ebay not long after I tried my first one. In the lot were a few pairs of bamboo DPNs. I put them aside until a project came up that I, for some reason, didn’t have the circs. to use; maybe it was something knitted on needles smaller than a U.S. size 4. I don’t know why I can’t remember what the project was. It’s driving me nuts…I’m sure I’ll wake up in the middle of the night (it is the middle of the night) and remember it…I’ll write it down. Anyway, I dug out the DPNs, screwed up my courage, did a bunch of reading of websites and went to Knitting Help a half a dozen times to watch it done, and then I finally cast on for that mystery project. Long story short, after some initial wrangling, swearing, throwing balls of yarn etc., I discovered that I really liked knitting on DPNs. For awhile I found small little things I could make using the DPNs, I knit a lot of hats and put the stitches on DPNs before they really needed to be b/c I’m a dork like that. J

Time moved on and I got better at different techniques, but I never did knit those socks. I tried on the DPNs once, but it was an unmitigated disaster. The pattern was Jaywalkers by Grumperina and I don’t remember exactly what happened, but it was bad. I moved on and used mostly Magic Loop if I had to do anything with a small circumference. I don’t think I ever really got over my fear of DPNs. I loved using them to end projects or even work in the middle, but I stayed away from small things that needed to start with a small number of stitches, or I used the long circular for them. I ordered the Knit Picks Harmony sock knitting DPN kit and I’m working on the Monkey socks, which has lessened my fear of both small DPNs and sock knitting, which is good. So I’m working on the second A Little Twist wrist warmer for my mother and I don’t have a cable with my Options sets that is long enough to Magic Loop that hasn’t had the cable come unattached from the little silver housing. No Magic Loop this time. So I dug out the old box I had put all my DPNs in during an organization kick; I wasn’t going to be using them, after all, so why not put them up? I grabbed the bamboo needles in the right size and got out the yarn. The biggest annoyance I had with the DPNs came rushing back to me: The yarn always “stuck” to the needles and I had to take the time to push everything along constantly. I worked through the first pattern repeat this way, knitting looser and looser until my gauge in just those 6 or 7 rows was crazy. I frogged the pathetic mess and went back to the box to look for a smoother set of needles but the only other thing I had in size 8 were those old, long, scary metal DPNs from ages ago. I don’ t think I’d even used them other than to practice learning circular knitting when I was still learning to knit. It was not a good experience, IIRC, and I wasn’t anxious to use them. The thought of going on with the bamboo needles, though, was too annoying, and I would never do something as normal as say, maybe I should work on the socks if this project is becoming such a nightmare. Work on the socks now and the wrist warmers when we get home where the rest of my knitting needles and notions are (we’re at the old house this week getting things packed up and cleaned before the foreclosure finishes going through and we’re locked out. It would suck to not have the rest of my clothes, books and most importantly yarn and fiber.) So I grabbed the needles and the yarn and cast on while watching TV. Guess what?! I LOVE THESE DPNs!!! The Malabrigo moves like butter over these needles and they are just long enough that the looser stitches from the beginning don’t constantly slide off. I do have to admit that I tried a little “cheat” for joining in a circle here: I knit the first three rows of the pattern flat and then joined in the round in the fourth row. We’ll see how that comes out before deciding if I’m going to do it again. It didn’t really alleviate the stress of joining, just b/c there’s already a little knitting there doesn’t stop it from trying to pull apart, leaving a ladder, at the joining point etc. Again, we’ll see how it comes out.

I’ve gone on WAY too long to just have told one little story re: DPN’s. I’m very chatty tonight, it seems. I think it’s the combination of pain meds. and penicillin for this tooth that needs to be pulled. Ah well, thanks for listening to me ramble. The move is coming along nicely. Not with much help from me, though, I’m afraid. I’ve been in mind altering, brain numbing pain on and off with this tooth ache. It’s the worst pain I’ve ever endured, childbirth excluded b/c that’s a class all to itself. We were planning to be done yesterday morning, but this has slowed things way down. I’m hoping to be able to accomplish a lot more tomorrow. I plan to work on the Twists (as I call them for short) for a little longer and watch and episode of Doctor Who before going to bed and will get back to the Monkey socks when I get home. The Twists will become my travelling pattern and stay with me at all times. I hope to have it cranked out before going back to CA in late March. If it’s not, I have a serious slow knitting problem. I just have to remember that I can’t start new projects until old ones are finished. The only knitting I’ve done in the last few days is related to the Twists. I swatched and then played with needles for two days and now I’m finally getting into really knitting them. So I’m off to warm up a Sloppy Joe from dinner for a snack and then get back to the good Doctor and Miss Martha Jones.

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