Thursday, 11 December 2008

Seriously fine tools.

Many years ago, back when I was determined to knit, back when I envisioned a life of clothing myself in lovely sweaters, I optimistically bought a complete set of plastic needles in a padded plastic case. The 'set' was the best on the market at the time, the most cool knitting thing that knitters were using.

Over the years, these needles were used only occasionally, and seldom for knitting. I picked up the needles to unlock bathroom doors that 2 year olds had locked on themselves and one time I made scarves for each of my kids. I'm quite certain that I never used them enough to account for the 40 dollars I paid for them.

Time passed and one day I finally figured out knitting and took out the awful plastic set of needles. Within the first 4 rows, I realized there had to be something better than these. I was right. First things first, I bought a few decent straight metal needles. Then I picked up various and sundry sets of dpns because I had quickly moved on to making socks and loved it.

I first began this current crop of hats on some of those dpns, but I found for an adult male head, my 4 mm dpns were a too short for my comfort. I moved to one of my 3 really long sets of 4 mm circular Turbos. (??? How did that happen?)

In general terms, starting my circular needle set with long cables, has stood me in fairly good stead, but I have to tell you, there are times, as I knit on this first hat, that the long long cables were driving me batty. Dragging that darn cable around each time, pulling it through, was taking every bit of the fun out of knitting and turning it into work to avoid.

I decided to invest in a proper set of short circulars. If I plan to get all this holiday knitting done, I need something that is going to help me get done, not hinder me. I know I will get my money's worth out of a set of two same length needles even though part of me says I could have done it with one 32 inch and one 24 inch. I can see all kinds of knitting where the benefit of two needles would be immediate. No needles change in the middle of a pattern in stranded colourwork for one. The burning question is do I buy many individual needles or do I wait for the set?

If knitting is a symphony, then a Turbo is a Stradivarius. If the Turbo click sets live up to their advance billing and the quality of their other needles, they would be the Stradivarius that all the really famous violinists want, the single most perfect instrument that they can find.

The idea of a set still appeals. Wouldn't it be lovely to just sit there and be able to make the right size and length? Wouldn't it be organized? Wouldn't it be a dream come true? Like all dreams, the reality sometimes has a little more to consider.

The turbo click set is pricey. Do I spend one big chunk of money or should I buy the individual needles a couple at a time? The jury is out right now, since the sets are still not delivered to the distributor and I could not access them even if I wanted to.

I'll have to make the decision soon enough and in a way it is comforting to have the time to really think about the options.

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