Monday, August 19, 2013

How many needles does a knitter need?

I've gotten on an airplane only nine or ten times since 9/11, but I live my knitting life as if I traveled daily by air.

Among the airport security people, there has never been found any of them who are knitters. Or, who have any clue what knitting entails. After hearing a few horror stories about how airport security people have ripped complicated knitting projects totally off the needles, I switched to using wood -- or bamboo. It now appears there is a difference between wood and bamboo. I always thought bamboo was wood, but looks like I was wrong.

Now wooden needles do have certain advantages -- they do not appear to be so threatening to airport security officers. Sometimes the yarn absolutely drags on the needles, which set me to thinking about the fastest pair of needles I own. They were bought at a knit shop now closed, but I drug them out of my stash, only to find they were size fives, too small for the ankle warmers (K-State purple, by the way) that I am working on.

Shouldn't be too hard to find a pair, known as Addi Turbos, at the corner knit shop (turns out knit shops are getting harder and harder to find). Wrong. That's another story, but I settled this morning for a pair of size 8 of a brand called Nova. Couldn't get 14-inchers, took what the store had, 10-inchers. (Overheard the clerk tell some of the knitters who were gathering for a class that nobody is knitting with 14-inchers these days!)

Since I knit the pair of ankle warmers at the same time (keeps them the same size) I had two anklewarmers on the wooden needles. Dubious, I sat down with my project. I was right, two ankle warmers on one 10-inch needle is too much. I was so concerned about keeping them on the new size 8 needles I failed to observe if they were truly any faster. Looked for a rubber band I could use to restrain all the stitches from pushing their way off the needle. Yarn is like that, some it has very aggressive, pushy tendencies.

One of the ladies I met this morning talked rhapsodically about circular needles, so I searched through my tangle of circular needles for size 8. Did the second row on a second set of size 8 -- if you can call a plastic string with two pointed ends a set. Remembered after the first ten stitches why I had fallen out of love with circular needles.

Now what? Remembered that I was using a set of plastic size 8 for a pink-and-white baby cap. If I would go ahead and finish the cap -- I was at a place where I was decreasing and had to count every stitch as I went along -- I would free up the plastic 8's to use on the ankle warmers. Made the next row on the ankle warmers with the plastic needles -- three rows in a row with three different needles!

After that I really needed a break. Spent the next half-hour reading my favorite knitting blog, the knitter from Toronto, Canada.

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