Saturday, February 27, 2010

New technology needles

I have been admiring and praising the Hya-Hya DPN for knitting softer spun yarns on the basis of some hand knitting at a show. These are very light weight knitting needles made from stainless steel by fusing the tips on to tubing. Recently I bought a bunch of them and it turns out that for use with a knitting sheath sizes US#1 and larger sometimes tubing crimps and collapses suddenly unless the knitting sheath fits them just perfectly. used very gently, and they will likely work very well, but I am an agressive knitter and they lasted seconds.However, minor wear in the knitting sheath can result in such loss of perfection. Their #0 and smaller needles are solid stainless steel, which does not crumple like that larger needles but does not have much spring and bends rather than flexing.

The Signature needles have that fine point so beloved of fast knitters of tightly spun yarn. Again in sizes above #0, the needles are made by fusing aluminum tips to tubing. Again localized pressure on the shaft of the needle can result in fatal (to the needle) crumples. Moreove, Signature needles do NOT like being stepped on.  Knit VERY gently if you must use your Signature needles with a knitting sheath, and I do think you will be OK. Signature’s needles in sizes #0 (and smaller) are made of a very high quality stainless steel, and are not real “springy”, they may bend on you in knitting sheath use. Still they are beautiful needles made by very nice people.
My needles just are not as pretty. On the other hand my needles have more spring, and there is nothing that your or your kid or your horse can do to damage the needles that I make (except leaving them in the damp so that they rust.)  Take the above with a grain of salt, because I bend my spring steel needles all the time. I bend them and they keep on working.  Hya-Hya and Signature do not keep working if they get bent.


Archaeologyknits said...

I am still reading your blog. Even though I find your historic interpretations off, I do agree that knitting sheaths are interesting and potentially valuable tools.

I am also glad for info. on Hya-Hyas, which I have been meaning to order and try myself.
I would suggest you look at Inox brand. They tend to remain functional while bent (mine have a u shape similar to the bent needles you have pictured), and they offer lace varieties that have the sharp points one likes. (their lace needles go up to 8 inches long and go down to 0000 in size).
Tight knitting will quickly take the coating of where needles touch during knitting, but they remain functional and smooth.

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to try knitting using a sheath - but I can't seem to find supplies. Could you tell me where to get them?

smoqui said...

I have been reading and following your blog for a while, and so far have left only one comment. It was that I personally, and some of the Dentdale knitters, use the needles bent into a mild crescent shape instead of straight. This does not affect the springiness, but does make it easier for short people to use the needles because the tips can be lower and easier to reach. There have been some comments about the needles bending in use. Yes, there is to be sure some of that, but in other cases, the bending (of both long and short needles) is intentional and useful.

My second point would be that I disagree with leaving "texture" on the tips when they are ground. I have found that the best speed and most comfortable knitting comes from needles that are either intentionally polished, or those that have "work hardened" and polished by simple use over long periods. I personally prefer them to be mirror polished so that they do not catch on the yarn and cause it to "fluff." I have also found that I prefer the needles not to swing around or swivel in the sheath. This can be more of a problem when they are used bent, but a trick to solve that problem is to put a very slight bend in the portion of the tip that fits into the hole, giving a sort of spring clip action which helps to keep them from swinging or pulling out too easily.

I notice that you have apparently done a bit of editing. Your videos are very good, and the overall appearance of the blog is great. I would like to request, though, if possible, that you use a bit of "footage" shot much closer to give detail to the knitting. It is not too easy to see the technique you are using from the "over-the-shoulder" position, and a few closeups would be appreciated. Keep up the good work.