Sunday, December 21, 2008

Are you a Pusher?

Are you a pusher? Whenever I forget, or get in a hurry, all of a sudden I'm a terrible pusher. I gleefully shove the needle back through the stitches. As an English-style knitter, this lets me maintain better control of both needles as I "throw" the yarn around and greatly improves my speed. When I was learning on Clover bamboo needles, this wasn't a great tragedy. But last year a generous family member gifted me the Knit Picks Nickle-plated Options Circular Knitting Needle Set (complete with binder, before it was switched over to the clear pouch). I cannot express how much I LOVE these needles. This leads to the problem ...

I have a couple of Addi Turbos, and at the time I thought they were the bomb. I even have a really nifty little set by Plymouth Yarns (the Bamboo Sister Set). Interchangables.. how cool is that?!

These needles were more than adequate. Addis in particular have a beautifully smooth join and hat-knitting zipped by on them. The longer circulars served me well knitting my first baby blanket. Then a new kind of knitting came into my life... lace, and with it laceweight yarn.

I really wanted to produce some of that amazing lace that I saw in magazines and books. I picked out a project and bought a bunch of laceweight yarn, but before leaping off the deep end, I thought I'd make something small. Something easy. Something that wouldn't frighten me off of this very thin, very insubstantial yarn..
Airy Scarf
Enter the Airy Scarf. It looked simple enough. I pulled out appropriate Addis, my new lace-weight yarn, and went to town... and HATED IT. Ugh. The yarn was terrible to work with.. so hard to get it to move around the way I wanted it to. Something as simple as a knit-two-together was impossibly difficult. I forced myself to finish the scarf and in disgust wrote off lace knitting altogether.

Christmas arrived, and with it the deliciously pointy Options needles and all of a sudden, lace knitting seemed possible again. I worked out some swatches and everything just clicked! The narrow tips picked up that tiny yarn wonderfully and didn't just push it around the needles like my other sets. I jumped into the Sugarplum Shrug (Interweave Knits, Holiday Gifts 2007) with great abandon (once figuring out that it didn't actually call for lace-weight yarn! But that's another story).

But where does this all add up? Pushing. My Options may be fabulous for manipulating stitches.. no need to balk at k3tog or more. But the tip of my finger when I stop thinking and start knitting like crazy.. the poor thing suffers. Today I am on a self-enforced knitting break to allow a small split to heal before it becomes worse. It is absolutely no good to punch a hole in your own fingertip, and I refuse to bleed for my craft. At least, not on purpose!

So, to anyone that I showed the handy "trick" of pushing that needle back through the stitches, I'm sorry! Quit now and save your fingers, or enjoy the gentler points of many of the lovely needles out there. Just be careful, or you too might be taking a few breaks from your knitting.. to heal!

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