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.