Haven't knit in 30 years.

mudlady_gwFebruary 27, 2007

I learned to knit in 1962 and still have all my needles and supplies. I want to get back into knitting and I decided to make a watch cap to see if the fingers still worked. A little arthritis, but pretty much OK. I didn't have a number 7, 16 inch circular needle and we have very few yarn stores in my area. I found a shop that carried bamboo needles and some fantastically expensive needles that looked like stainless steele. I bought the bamboo and started the pattern. I cast on to a size 8 needle as was my habit because I tended to tighten up when casting on. Previously, my gauge had always been OK once I switched to the proper sized needle. Anyway, I cast on with an 8 needle and then switched to the bamboo circular. Moving the stitches up the left side of the needle feels very tight and I am very careful to keep my knitting relaxed. I find I HATE the feel of the bamboo and, even worse, my gauge is off. The number of stitches per inch is supposed to be 4.5 and I am getting 5. However, I am getting almost twice the number of rows. The pattern called for worsted weight yarn and I am using Red Hart worsted, also says medium, 100% acrylic. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks.


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Welcome back! I learned to knit as a child and didn't pick it up again until a few years ago when the kids were grown. Boy, has the knitting world changed. The internet has made yarns, tools, knitting information and patterns much more widely available. I buy most of my stuff online now because there are better choices and prices. Some sites to check out are Elann.com and Knitpicks.com. The expensive needles you mentioned may be Addis. They are very slick for fast knitting. Bamboo works well for slippery yarns but not for grabby ones. You can try the Inox needles which are also metal coated or the interchangeable sets at Knitpicks which are very reasonably priced. If you're not allergic to wool, there's lots of superwash, soft wools available now that are much nicer to knit with than acrylic. Re: gauge, if you're having trouble getting gauge, you may want to switch to a smaller needle. As for row gauge, if the pattern specifies lengths in inches, then the row count shouldn't be a problem. However, if the lengths are specified by number of rows, you'll have to do some math to make adjustments. Have fun!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 8:45AM
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Just wanted to add that for small circumferences like hats there are 2 techniques worth learning - magic loop with 1 long circular and knitting with 2 circulars. The 16 inch circulars can be hard on your hands and when you decrease to the crown of the hat, you'll need double pointed needles if you don't already have them. A needle that's nice and flexible for arthritic hands are the Brypsuns.

Here is a link that might be useful: magic loop

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 9:06AM
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It's me again, to correct what I said about using a different needle size to get gauge. You may want to try a larger needle, say 9, to get stitch gauge instead of a smaller one. It's possible too that the bamboo is making you knit more tightly. In any case, the label stitch guides are only approximations. I rarely get gauge with the specified needle size because I knit loosely.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 9:46AM
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I like bamboo, but I have only double pointed ones. They hold the knitting better than metal ones, which just slip out of the stitches constantly. I also like avoiding using the metal needles because they make my hands cold.

I bought my favorite circular needles used on Ebay. They are molded from a hard nylon type plastic, and molded as one piece so I have no join at the needle and cable that causes stitches to stick.

Keep at it. You will enjoy getting back into knitting.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 10:23PM
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I've been knitting for two years now (NOBODY told me how addictive this new hobby would be lol) and I'm like you I don't really like the bamboo needles, they work great for about 20 minutes or so then they warm up and grab all the yarn I've tried on them.

I bought a pair of Susan Bates Quicksilver circular needles in the 16 inch length and what surprised me the most about them was the fact that they actually warm up when you are using them. If you lay them down for a few minutes and pick them back up they are cold then suddenly they get warm in your hands. I love these needles, I knitted a hat first thing with them and it was easy going, the yarn slides ever so nice around the needles.

Oh, I don't have a yarn store in my area either I had to order from the Internet. ;0)

Happy knitting, hope that helps ;0)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 11:55PM
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Thanks for the responses and encouragement. I have been at it again long enough to know I strongly prefer my 45 year old Boye aluminum needles. Sheilajoyce's information about bamboo keeping the stitches on the needle better than other types explaines why I don't like the bamboo feel. I do need DP kneedles to finish the hat and for that I probably will get bamboo. I am going to check a large crafts store, Michael's, in the hope that they will carry a decent selection of needles. I can't wait to complete this hat and try something more complicated and also use good yarn. I went cheap this time because I didn't know if the old hands could still knit, and also because I had no idea if my cats would permit me to knit. One of them sat and watched intently for about five minutes the first time he saw me knitting. I will always have to be careful not to set my knitting down where they can get to it because I know they have evil in their hearts.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 12:05AM
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Nancy, my three kitties don't seem to bother my knitting when it is just lying in a basket, but they sure want to chase that thread while I'm using it. But I do have to be careful about leaving any of my circulars lying about, because they like to chew on the cords. They are useless if that happens.

Sheila Joyce, I'm interested in knowing what brand the circulars are that you mentioned are all made in one piece. I think I'd like to try a pair. Or can you tell me the seller's name?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 8:52AM
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Donna, as I said, I bought them used from an Ebay auction and have no idea where they came from or how old they are. They have no identifying marks on them. I have never seen them in the stores, but I do like them and would buy more if I ever saw them.

If kitties like your yarn too much, some people use a one liter plastic soda bottle to resolve that. You cut a hole at the hip of the bottle just before it starts to narrow. The hole has to be large enough to let you put your yarn inside the bottle. Thread the yarn through the neck of the bottle and out the top. Or some people put their yarn inside a zip lock bag and leave only a fraction of an inch of the bag unzipped for the strand of yarn.

I wish I were not allergic to kitties. I DO miss having one.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 4:14PM
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Well, Donna, anything for you. I owe you for all your great advice, so I just checked on Ebay for more of those needles. I find them when someone mentions vintage circulars. They are nylon; I was right. One set came attached to its original card. It was made by Marcia Lynn for $1.56 originally, I believe.

Here are the Ebay items with the nylon circular needles included in the lots.

230096530976--this is the one with the Marcia Lynn set on the card.

Also, 320086359247--the white ones pictured are the nylon ones.

140091055499--green pair, white, and pink are nylon.

260091412843--on the right, the white and blue pairs.

The best pictures are at item 140091060112--the 1st picture shows nylon sets on the left. The last picture shows them on the right--green, blue, white, pink.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 5:24PM
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Sheilajoyce, you're a doll. I'm watching a couple of those auctions now. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 6:09PM
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