Monday, August 2, 2010

Knitting needle storage solutions

An admission: I own a gazillion knitting needles. Literally. In my quest for the perfect needle, I've bought a ton of them, including four interchangeable sets: Denise, Boye Needlemaster, Knit Picks Harmony Wood, and Knit Picks Nickel Plated. Frankly, I don't like any of them. I hate the joins between the needles and the cord, plus the yarn always snags and the needles come loose. (Maybe I still don't have the right set; Teresa loves the Knit Picks Acrylics and I've heard nothing but wonderful about the Addis.) But despite my disdain,  I still use them all the time because it's so easy to quickly get the right needle size with the right cord length.

The good thing about Denise and Boye sets is that they come with their own cases. Knit Picks sends its needles out in really lousy plastic zipper bags. I spent weeks in quest of a better case and found this carry-all on sale at Joann Fabrics. It's not perfect, but it keeps the needles sorted and allows me to store all of my Knit Picks needles by size.

Besides all these interchangeable needles, I've got a ton of other circular, DPNs, and straight needles. I've never found a good storage solution for these until now. I bought a Shimano fishing lure binder with extra pages from a hunting and fishing store online. It's perfect. There's a recloseable 3-ring bag for each size, and it all zips up into a nice little package.

This terrific binder still doesn't solve my problem about knowing which needle sizes I already own. I've tried Ravelry's knitting needle inventory feature. (If you haven't found this, it's under My Notebook.) I know this should work but it doesn't because the needles that show up on my inventory never seem to be in my binder. I need RFID for my needles - and yarn, too. (For the uninitiated -  which you probably all are - RFID, or radio frequency identification, is used by large retailers to track inventory through the use of radio waves. Sure beats counting everything by hand.)

By the way, see the little square thing in this picture? I bought it from Kathy Zimmerman's shop. It's an Addi 4-inch gauge; you knit your swatch, lay this little device on top, and get a perfect gauge count. No more fooling around with rulers and trying to accurately count your rows and stitches. What a simple but revolutionary idea. The gadget also features a needle gauge but the holes are only in milimeters; I wish it also provided US needle sizes.

Finally, a quick update on the Augusta. I finished the second sleeve last night. What a quick knit! Tonight I'm starting on the back. I figured I'll knit it next and work out any bugs before starting on the fronts. I'm really digging this sweater. Can't wait to see how it all turns out.


  1. I feel your pain on the needle storage. I have all the same sets you have. I also lose track because I have a multitude of WIPs and can't remember what needles are located where. If you try the Knit Picks acrylics, let us know how they are. My favorites of all are either the Addi's or the Knit Picks Nickels. I'm anxious to see how the Augusta comes out. I haven't seen the pattern book in person yet, but it's on my to-see list.

  2. Thanks for writing, Laura. May I ask, how do the Addis join to the cord? Any other feedback about them? I'd love to get a testimonial of both what they do well and what they don't.

  3. You need to hold a sale!
    Thanks for the ideas on storage. I tend to be bumpkin-ish and have my circs (except for the knitpicks set and DP's) in size numbered zip locks all fitted into a tote.
    My favorite needle, because of aching fingers at times, is Bryspun circulars because they are pliable and have give and don't work against the hand.They are recommended for arthritic knitters.But after a few weeks of use , they begin to catch the yarn at the join..a real pain $$$$. Second comes (I can't believe I am admitting it) the Coates and Clark Susan BAtes brand of brightly colored contoured acrylics which form to the hand.I really like those and they last forever!
    Now for patterns where I have to use a lifeline(thanks for that lesson learned, Julie!) I have my new Knit Picks acrylic set which I like....but just for the lifeline factor.
    HOWEVER,they do not have much give and I can tell that the 4,5 and 6 size will eventually bend and warp after time. Yes, they do unscrew, but one learns to check every now and then to see if it is loose(lesson learned the hard way.)One feature I like is the little set of metal connector tubes one can use to connect several cords together to fit even afghan knitting(or..I;m not being funny... ample sweaters in the round)
    They are stiff on the hand and wrist though, but give traction so that the stitches don't slip off the needle when put down like the boye metal ones.
    OK..enough of me..I tend to be long winded when I comment. 'Scuse- em -mwa!'
    But if there were one brand of needle I would recommend above all others , it would be...are you ready for this...are you sitting down?/!! SUSAN BATES contoured ACRYLIC CRYSTALITES CIRCS OR contoured SILVALUME CIRCS FOR THOSE WHO LIKE METAL.There! I've admitted it.

  4. I have to admit that the knit picks are the best I've worked with. I like that they are CHEAP (The addi set at the store I frequent is 189.99 and that is literally a week of work for this minimum wager!) I've heard from some people that they don't like the join on the addi. So I think it is a to each there own kinda thing. I have to say though the sharp points on the knit picks are wonderful! :)

    I love the sweater! I want to start one for myself but it is simply to hot. And I have oh so much Christmas knitting to complete!

  5. I LOVE my Addis! The join is fine and it couldn't be easier to switch tips: insert the cord deep into the tip and twist. Tug gently to be sure it's in, and off you go! I've never had one untwist or come apart.

    I like my Denise set, too. I've never had a problem with the join on those, either.

    Can you give me a bit more feedback on Knitpicks Harmony interchangeables? My main hesitation is that you need a tool to tighten the cable join; does it stay when you're done, or does it come loose? How are they to knit with? I use wool & alpaca mostly, so I want a really smooth needle.

  6. Hey Anne, tightening the join on the KP needles isn't a big deal, but keeping the thing screwed together is. If I knit for a couple of hours, I have to stop and rescrew the needle together between 3 and 5 times. Maybe it's the way I knit (Continental)? I like the Denise join much better but don't like the plastic needle. I'll have to look for the Addi set at a LYS to see how that set works. Thanks for reading, girl!

  7. Good point about the sharp points on the KP needles, Miss Katie. Those points are really wonderful on both the wood and nickel versions.

  8. Teresa, I'm not above using Susan Bates knitting supplies, but I've never seen or heard of the Crystalites. I'll have to check them out.

  9. Hey Julie,

    Why don't you take a permanent marker and mark the US needle sizes on top of the metric sizes on your swatch/needle gauge gizmo? Personally, I prefer metric size, it's a lot less confusing, I wish everybody would adopt that system.

    I love my Addis interchangeable although sometimes it hurts my fingers when I try to push the cable in to twist it in place. Knit Picks are alright except that the join does come unscrewed while knitting, even when knitting English style, and worst, the cable joins do come apart and that's very annoying especially when knitting lace (Thank god for life lines, ask me how I know).

    I own a Namaste "tool bag" and I love it, it holds all my circulars (except the addis interchangeable) plus all my essentials in a fashionable looking bag that I can carry with me wherever I go.


  10. Hey Michele, nice to hear from you! OF COURSE you want us backwards Americans to adopt the metric system, you Canadian, you! I'm going to get one of those skinny Sharpies and add the American sizing. Thanks for the advice.

    Thanks, too for the insight about Addis and Namaste bags. I've wondered about both and will check them out.

    BTW, my vacation has been rescheduled to later in September. When are you headed back to FL?

  11. Hi where do you keep all your knitting patterns i have found it hard to find A4 files to put them in?


  12. I am in the process of looking for new interchangeables, I just broke the male part of my denise connecter, 3rd one I've broke. 2 in the last 3 months. One of the male parts was bent when I got it a few yrs back and when I broke the first one I just put them aside and forgot about them till recently. Sooo now I am looking for a new set. What is it you don't like about your sets? If you want to sell a set for cheap... *wink*wink*wink*nudge*nudge*