Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Incredible Shrinking Needle

I finished this sock last Wednesday, after getting back into town. It's going to be for my friend who lives in the UP, since he never matches his socks it doesn't matter that I've only knit one. I knit it out of some Regia 6 ply Crazy Colors. It's been in my stash for a while and I felt inspired one day, so here's a sock. I also wanted to try a heel flap, since the first two pairs I did had short row heels. I think I may try a toe-up next, with the yarn from my Birthday Swap.

While I was knitting this sock I had a moment of panic. I was knitting away and then I looked down and thought: "Why am I using a size 6 needle? This is supposed to be a 2." I even pulled out a 6 to compare. I really should get a needle sizer. Turns out I was using a 2 all along. Really? It felt so big in my hands.

A year ago, I would have balked at the idea of using a needle smaller than a 5. Knitting on 5s seemed to take so long. A year before that anything below an 8 felt small and slow. I think I taught myself to knit on size 9s and used needles around that size for a good while (years). Eventually, I started exploring new techniques and making more than just simple items.

My hands have gotten used to smaller needles, and I tend to like the way a smaller-gauged fabric drapes. I don't know that I could say I have a preference, though anything above a 10.5 feels large. I have come to enjoy knitting with smaller needles. I guess the more experienced I have become, the more willing I am to spend time on one thing.

What I've learned, and what I think about working with different sized needles, is that knitting is an incredible means to creating a beautiful item. Small needles for delicate or small items, large needles for cozy and warm items: each needle has a purpose and is useful.

Now, back to lace-weight yarn and size 4 needles.


ilikeredbean said...

"short row heels"

just the thought of these make me gasp. short rows, ugh!!!! i am working on a neverending baby blanket on 7s (worsted weight yarn) -- it seems like it's taking FOREVER!

TK said...

Ah, you'll get there. Soon, worsted weight will seem like a quick knit. I made a striped, felted bag on size 13s. Whew. It took me about an hour. I didn't know what to do with myself after that. It was too quick, if you can believe that.

aimee said...

it seems like that was SO FAST, you getting used to smaller needles. you were SO cranky about it at first! i love that you get to just do one sock.

Lynn said...

hooray the sock is done! i miss you guys! moving is hell!!! but we'll be completely done with the old space tonight... (cross your fingers!)