General blather

Making Knitting Not Metal

Like I suspect is true for a lot of knitters of a certain age, I learned to knit with metal needles. As far as I know, that’s pretty much what there was to knit with. My grandmothers and Mom and aunts all knitted with regular old Boye or Susan Bates needles, so I did too. When I got old enough to buy my own supply, that’s what I bought. Even after other materials -mostly wood- became available in my area, I still preferred metal. With my good old metal needles, I could knit fast! Stitches slid around like lightning! I tried wooden needles, but they seemed sooo sloooooow. I had things to do. So metal it was.

There’s a certain amount of nostalgia there, too. When my Grandma Kroboth died, my Mom and I and cousin Amie divided up her needles. Some of the needle stash you see there I got from her. Even the metal needles I bought for myself are from my teen and early adult years.

But a couple of years ago, I noticed that when I knit for any length of time, my hands hurt. Sometimes they hurt pretty badly if I had been going at it particularly hard. So nostalgia and speed aside, I suspect if I want to keep knitting and not really mess up my hands, I need to make a switch.

So I tried a couple of other materials. I’m still not a fan of wood. Bamboo is not bad. Some plastics are OK, others are not. So far, carbon fiber is my winner. Almost as slick as metal, but much more gentle on my hands. . Also, I’m not likely to snap them like I have more than once with bamboo or wood. I have a set of Knitter’s Pride Karbonz interchangeables which has been working out pretty well, and recently decided to make the switch for straights as well. I may well throw a few bamboos in there for the bigger sizes, and maybe wood if I ever need the really big ones for anything. But for me, metal needles are a thing of the past.

I am going to save just a few as keepsakes. As for the rest, they will either go back to other family members or to someone who needs them, but I have to admit I’m a little sad to be giving up my metals.

10 thoughts on “Making Knitting Not Metal

  1. When I started knitting I was warned not to invest in metal needles, so I bought very cheap bamboo needles and they were fine to start off with as stitches didn’t slip off. Now I am slowly switching to KnitPro Symfanie which I LOVE. They are made out of densified laminated birch wood and they are way smoother than my bamboo and therefore quicker. I’m sticking with my metal sockwunder needles as they are soooo fast knitting socks in comparison to magic loop, but others I will gradually switch. Much more reasonably priced that ChiaGoo and the other big one whose name escapes me.

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  2. Thanks for provoking my nostalgia. I am remembering my mom and sister knitting with metal needles. I also think my mom had ivory ones. Does that make sense? I am sure there are no ivory needles (or ivory anything) produced anymore, but I believe they were her favorites.

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  3. I would say it was the straights more than the materials. Circulars are really the best option for our knitting. I prefer wood, the warmth of it, but I can see that after time the finish wears off. I hate plastics, ick! I do love my Addi needles, but don’t use them as much anymore, I stick with my Knitter’s Pride woods.

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    1. True! I have mostly gone to circulars, but I do still like to knit on straights when it’s appropriate for the item. I know a lot of people love woods, but they just aren’t my favorites. To each their own 🙂

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  4. I learned how to knit as a teenager. I always preferred crocheting to knitting but didn’t stick with either. I seem to remember that we used aluminum needles although it was a long time ago and I might be wrong. Definitely not wood or plastic though. I don’t have any of them anymore but I have a few crochet needles. Sometimes they come in handy to poke something through to the other side (for fabric).

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  5. I can’t bring myself to give up my straight metal needles, even though they are just sitting in the basement. Did you try Lykke Driftwood needles? I think they are as fast as my metal needles, but I’ve had one break before. They are actually my new favorite needles, but since one broke I’m scared to use them, so they are getting as much use as the metal ones in my basement.

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    1. I haven’t tried them yet, but do keep thinking about it. They are pretty, and they do look pretty smooth! Me and my hulk hands have snapped a few wood needles, so that is also making me a little wary of them.

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