Well stocked

Today’s Yarn Love Challenge prompt was multiples.  And it seemed like a fine reason to dig out some of my DPNs and show them off.

These are just my long ones (like 12 inches and up), and they’re grouped by size, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, 8s, and 9s. You can see that I have several sets of at least a couple of those.  Especially the 3s as I find those are my favorite for hats and cowls (and I’ve got an extra set of 2 and a new set of 1.5s on the way).  The pile of short DPNs is even bigger.

But really…having the right needle for a project is just as important as having the right yarn.  I like to have metal, a smoother wood, and a grippier wood (or bamboo) to pick from if I can.  I get a different gauge with each material, and sometimes switching needle material (instead of needle size) is the way to get the fabric you want.

You can find me on instagram over here, and you can find the Yarn Love Challenge festivities over here if you want to follow along.  I’m having a great time seeing what everyone comes up with!

 

Pairing

Have I mentioned recently that I believe in swatching?  Swatching teaches you all sorts of things.  It tells you what size your finished thing will be.  But it also tells you if that yarn and that stitch want to play well together.  And sometimes…sometimes it tells you that your yarn and needle combo is not meant to be.

You’ll recall I was all excited to go back to knitting a hat on DPNs (after having grudgingly knit the last one on circs).  I had my awesome new Indian Lake Artisan needles all lined up and ready to go.  And I had some lovely Manos Silk Blend yarn all picked out.  And when I put yarn to needles, I pretty much instantly learned that this yarn and these needles do not want to play together.

Now, this is not the fault of the yarn or the needles.  They’re both lovely.  I like them both very much.  I will happily use both.  But the loosely spun, slightly grabby, single-ply yarn does not want to be knit with the wooden needles, no matter how silky smooth they’re sanded.  My stitches were uneven, I kept splitting the yarn, and the whole thing just felt frustrating.

I switched to metal needles and things instantly got easier.  No more splits and much more even tension.  Knitting this way will be a much more pleasant experience.  And I’ll save the wooden needles for the next project.

But this is the sort of stuff that you just have to swatch to figure out.  You’re not just swatching to check needle size (though of course that’s a big part of it).  You’re swatching to check the overall pairing between the yarn and the needle and the stitch.  That means you’re looking at the texture of the needle (grippy? slippy?), the sharpness of the tips (blunt? pointy? long or short taper?), and even the color, as well as size.

So swatch.  Swatch early, swatch often.  And don’t be afraid to have lots of needles to choose from.

Not purple…still a hat

So it’s been sort of all purple all the time around here.  The hearts and the hat and before that the slipper were all rocking the purple.  So I think it’s time we bring on some blue.  I mean not too much (we all know blue is not my favorite shade)…and not for too long (because that second slipper needs to happen and it’s firmly back in the purple camp).  But a little break from the purple could be good.

That’s Manos’s Silk Blend in (I think) Ice Melt.

And it’s getting knit up with my shiny new Indian Lake Artisan needles, because I have had Quite Enough Of Circular Needles Thank You and am ready to get back to my happy place.

Proof

There. I can now say, with certainty, that I am perfectly able to knit a hat on circular needles.

Turns out I can also say, with equal certainty, that it is not my preferred method of knitting a hat.  I figured out that I just really really REALLY dislike sliding the stitches off of the cable and back onto the needle.  The physical sensation of it is just unpleasant.  And I’m not a tight knitter, so I don’t think that is the problem.  So unless someone makes circs where the cable and the needle are nearly the same size, I just don’t think they’re going to be for me.

But, now that I’ve proven I can knit a hat on circs, I get to go back to my preferred method and try out these amazing new DPNs I got!  They’re from Indian Lake Artisans, they’re twelve glorious inches long, and I suspect I’ll love them to bits.  Fingers crossed this will be the end to my quest for the perfect long DPN!  Expect a full report once I get a project underway, but for now, I’m expecting good things!

And if you’re looking for the hat pattern, rest assured it will be coming out later this year (most likely early this spring if I have my way).  I know lots of you are waiting for it, and I totally want to get it out for you!

 

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Proof of Concept…

So I mean yes, it does seem to be technically possible for me to knit with circular needles…

But I’m still finding it deeply, deeply awkward.  But I still fail to have suitable long DPNs in this size, and I still do not want to knit a hat on short DPNs (I’ve done it, it’s pain).  So I’m still pretending this will work.

Tell me it eventually feels less like wrestling with an angry squid?

And in case it doesn’t, lots of lovely folks recommended the needles from Indian Lake Artisans when I posted about this on instagram.  They apparently make awesome needles and can do them in custom lengths.  I’ve placed an order and you can expect a full report when they arrive!

Edited to add:  Don’t worry folks, I totally am magic looping it when I’m actually knitting! I just have the stitches all slid together for pictures/trying on (trying hats on being one of the few places where I’ll grant that circs have the advantage).  I’m not trying to knit with one hat spread out over the whole cable, I promise!