Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas blues!

Dear Santa,

It's great that you came early this year with a set of those new Caspian interchangeable needle tips from Knit Picks, because I'm still clinging to the idea that I might fulfill my New Year's resolution to seriously bust some stash in 2013. New needles are going to be just the thing to help me settle in with a few pounds of wool and all ninety-one hours of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and crank out stuff for everyone's stockings before the clock runs out on my promise to myself!

I really am absurdly pleased by these babies. Something non-knitters, or new knitters, often find surprising is the intensely personal--and contingent--nature of one's choice of needles. (Actually, what non-knitters seem to find most surprising that there is more than one kind, since point sticks are pointy sticks, right? I can't tell you the number of times I've been knitting in public on circulars and seen that puzzled look on someone's face that comes immediately before they ask, "What does that string in between the sticks do?")

(Image from WoolFreeandLovinKnit--thx!)

Me, I've been through 'em all, practically. As a kid, I first learned on the kind of metal-capped, size 8, pastel-coral-colored plastic straights that look so nice arranged in an antique jug in your sun-drenched craft studio. I knitted on and off throughout my teens and twenties, mostly with a few pairs of hand-me-down plastic circulars from my mom's 70's-era collection (possibly Bryspun, but I've never been able to verify that conclusively). I didn't know anything about gauge and was pretty cavalier about things like fit and finish, so the results weren't always great, but at the time I did like the way they felt in my hands--springy, with nice sharp tips that slid neatly in and out of the stitches. The plastic finish was smooth, but not so much so that the needles were always slipping out of the live stitches at inopportune moments or during transit.

When I got more serious about knitting in my late twenties and early thirties, I discovered that gauge was a thing, and that you actually get better results when you use the right size needles (see, kids? College, graduate school, and then more graduate school really do make you smarter!). So I started buying needles as needed for various projects: Lantern Moon ebony circulars, Chiao Goo bamboo dpns, the odd pair of Addi Turbos. I developed a wee obsession with Brittany birch dpns for a while there--I liked that there were five in each set, instead of four (having lost a couple of those extra needles to cat-chewing incidents over the years) and the smooth blond wood spoke to me, especially in the shorter lengths they offered. But I will freely admit that for a long time I was a promiscuous knitter--I'd still go with just about anything that came to hand, and my needle library was a real hodgepodge of different brands, styles, and sizes. Given the only common feature, which was that they were mostly sizes 4-6 (with just the occasional 8 or 9), you really could say I knitted like I dated...

So perhaps it's no coincidence that when I moved to Texas in 2006 with my new husband, I was finally ready to settle down with one kind of needle, the one that was just right for this here Goldilocks. Turns out the Knit Picks Options interchangeable tips in the Harmony wood finish was THE NEEDLE FOR ME. Other Harmony knitters will know exactly why: Super-pointy tips; smooth but still toothy finish on the wood; fine, flexible cables with unobtrusive joins; very reasonable price point. The only thing I didn't love about these needles was that they were...purple.  I don't hate the color; obviously, it's not a dealbreaker, since I've been knitting happily on these needles for years now. I have a plum-colored dress I quite like, and a dusty lilac one, too. But I'm not really a purple person, and deep down in my heart, I confess, I have wished for these needles to be a different color. (Different, that is, from any of the OTHER three finish options these needles come in, which include a nickel-finish metal, Zephyr clear acrylic, and Sunstruck blond-wood laminate, none of which are so much better than the original purple for my purposes that I've felt it worth switching...perhaps since they all come with the signature purple cable.)

Lo and behold, they come out with these Caspian needles! They're a beautiful peacock-tail blend of blues and greens, with lovely deep-teal cables. I heart them so much; they're just what I've been wishing for all these years. To paraphrase Dean Martin: Santa may have brought you some stars for your shoes, but Knit Picks kindly gave me the blues...the ocean-colored, emerald-cabled Caspian blues.

I'll be wishing all of you the best for a warm and joyous holiday season, and for a bright and bountiful year to come!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

nice review!
so glad these are on my wishlist! hoping to unwrap my set tomorrow!!