Thursday, March 12, 2009

March of the Tools: Knit Picks Options Needle Set

Don't worry! I'm still planning to finish my Gocco post! I've just had a couple crazy nights with the kids and haven't been able to photograph the finished product in decent light. Anyhow, here is a new post for March of the Tools!

Last autumn, when I was getting ready to knit this sweater for my daughter, I found that I would need yet more sets of circular needles. The ones in my stash were either the wrong size or the wrong length, or both. Plus, they were all cheap aluminum sets from big box stores like Walmart and Joann and were quite a nuisance while knitting. The cables had too much memory and got tangled up in themselves while the needles were too scratchy and split yarn easily. While knitting, the stitches got caught on the join between cable and needles and it was just an all-around mess.

I decided I needed a pair of interchangeable needles (my center of the brain that justifies craft purchases was working overtime - just think of all the needles I would eventually end up buying at $6+ a pop!) and hit Ravelry to try to find out what set to get. People complained that the Boye set was just too much like the cheap static circs I was trying to get away from. The Denise set had something else wrong - I think maybe it was too sticky for tight knitters like me. The Knit Picks set sometimes had problems with the cables coming out of the metal ends, but Knit Picks was good about replacing them for free. This was before the Addi Click set came out, but no regrets, they are to pricey for a non-socialite like me. So, I took the plunge and purchased the Knit Picks Options nickel-plated set:
Boy, howdy, did these come in handy! Not only were the needles glossy smooth and the joins nearly undetectable, but the spare cables handily served as stitch holders as well. I love the way the cables flex. I ended up using all of the cables that came with the set on the Tulip sweater - the two smaller sets as holders for the armholes, one larger one to hold the stitches at the bottom hem, and the other large one as a working cable throughout the whole project. I did actually have one of the cables pull free of its metal end cap, but like the Ravelers said, Knit Picks quickly shipped me a replacement free of additional charge. They actually sent a replacement cable set, so now I have three 24" cables and a spare tightening pin and pair of end caps (seeing how I'm always losing small objects, this is a wonderful thing). I also ordered a set of the longest cables available -60"- just to increase the versatility of my set. You know, it was only $4 and I was already paying to have yarn shipped. You never know when you're going to have a spare year to knit a beautiful circular shawl. If only Knit Picks would make a little piece to join to cables end-to-end, I'd be set for life. After I buy the rest of the needle sizes too extreme for the kit, of course. And some matching DPNs.
I did end up using the set once again on this sweater I knitted for my beautiful baby niece (daughter of Audrey), so just a few more projects and the cost is practically justified! (If anyone wonders, my craft-supply-purchasing brain center and my I'm-in-charge-of-the-family-finances brain center aren't friends. Not at all.)


Shirley Cohen said...

I liked to sew in my teens to have a new outfit the next day at school, Then in fashion college I way preferred home dec items. But, after becoming a mom, I took up quilting and anything else I could create for my baby.
What a pleasure it is to make useful items that bring memories for years.
Your work is beautiful and what a pleasure we have in creating.
Hopefully blogging will stir the creative side in more young women and girls. keep on keeping on. Shirley

azurerocket said...

Shirley, thank you so much for your lovely comments! My mother is definitely my creative inspiration. I didn't have much time for it in high school and college, but now that I have young children, it helps me keep my sanity!

Heather Bailey said...

SUCH a sweet little sweater.