Tools of the Trade: Knitting Needles


Photo Copyright ©2012, Deborah J. Wunder

Like most knitters, I have, over the years, accumulated a fairly impressive stash of knitting needles.

I have a ton of old-fashioned straight aluminum & steel needles in two lengths, an original Boye Needlemaster set, my Mom’s ancient (from the 1940’s) set in a red plastic case, bamboo straight needles, a set o French straight plastic needles with spring steel cores, a set of French plastic double-pointed needles with spring steel cores, aluminum circular needles in varying lengths and sizes, plastic circular needles in varying shapes and sizes, a few bamboo circular needles, various sets of double pointed needles in aluminum (including one from the 1950s from England), and Goddess only knows how many odd sets of needles of one kind or another.  We won’t even go into the crochet hooks, or I’d be here all night.

As any knitter or crocheter knows, these needles do accumulate.  Sometimes, you inherit a loved one’s needles; sometimes you need another pair in a particular size because the pair you have is already in use; sometimes a new thing catches your eye and you want to try it (casein needles, anyone?  Square aluminum needles?).

Every so often, I look at the drawerful of needles, the vase on my desk full of straight needles, and the jarful of crochet hooks, and contemplate thinning them out.  But how can I choose?  Each set or pair has a ton of memories attached to it, because they have all been well-used.

Even the oddities — the afghan hook, the hairpin lace pins, the lucet — have had their day in the sun.    I have not yet succumbed to the new Leisure Arts Knook, however.  Opinion on it seems very divided — the crocheters love it, the knitters don’t.  And since money is tight, and I both knit and crochet, I am not feeling greatly impelled to buy one.

The needles I currently find myself using most of the time are my circulars.  I have been knitting mostly socks over the last two years, and I magic loop, so I have two pairs of 00’s in the 24-inch length, and two in the 32″ length.  All our sets are Addi Turbos.  I love the action (they are nice, fast needles).  One day, I would love to own the whole Addi line.

So, tonight’s request is:  Tell me about your needle stash!  Did you buy the majority of your needles?  Inherit them?  Buy sets or individual needle pairs?  What needles do you use most often these days?


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