I know I mention knitting as one of my hobbies, but at this point, it’s really more of a pipe dream/work-in-progress/source of frustration. I’m new to it, not great at it, and feel like I’m all thumbs when I’m doing even the most basic garter stitch practice swatch. The fact is, being new at something is uncomfortable. So, I persevere through the discomfort and failure. I realized recently that a huge part of my problem was the knitting needles I was using, and in an effort to help other newbies, I’ll share my reviews on the needles I tried.
When I started knitting, I pored over reviews and descriptions of needles before purchasing some to try, hoping to hit the jackpot on my first try. I don’t know about you, but I hate wasting money and I really wanted to avoid having to try out a bunch of needles ($$$).
The Problem…My Starting Point
I bought a couple different sizes of 16″ ChiaoGoo Red Lace Circulars because they seemed wonderful! Pointy, smooth satin stainless steel, good quality, non-kinking cords, great reviews. After they arrived, I started working on gauge swatches for a very ambitious (for me) pattern, and it was a miserable experience. The needles were too short to be comfortable in my novice hands and far too pointy for me. I was splitting my yarn on nearly every stitch! I couldn’t even rip out my work successfully, because it was all so tangled and messy. I realized I was also knitting way too tightly, but that’s an entirely separate issue. After trying repeated swatches, I accepted that maybe “great” needles aren’t great for every knitter, at every skill level. Please don’t take this as a negative review of the ChiaoGoos – I’m certain that they are excellent, but I’m just not there, yet.
I was out running errands the other day, and ran into Hobby Lobby to see what kind of options they had for circular needles. I was so excited to see that they had a couple of wooden options with longer cords for me to try. I picked up a set of Knitters Pride resin-infused wood interchangeables and a set of Knitters Pride Bamboo circulars (not interchangeable). I grabbed the next 2 sizes up from the needles I’d been using, because my swatches were coming out with too many stitches – like I said, too tight.
So far, I’ve only tried the resin-infused wood needles, but I have to say, I just love them! I feel so much less inept with these. They are more blunt than the ChiaoGoos, so I’m not constantly splitting stitches. They are the perfect compromise between super slippery stainless steel and super grabby bamboo. They have a nice, smooth finish, and though the cord has some memory and wants to hold its coils a bit, the transitions are smooth. Overall, this has made a huge difference in my comfort and enjoyment while knitting, and just as importantly, in the consistency of my stitches.
I’m so excited! Hopefully I’ll be able to start that big daunting project soon! It’s a beautiful shawl that my 15-year-old daughter requested, but it’s quite a big project for someone who’s never knitted anything more complex than a basic hat. Here’s hoping it’s a reasonably enjoyable learning process, and not too discouraging. I’ll keep you posted!