Jobo Designs

Letting the crafty creative juices flow. Knitting, spinning, crafting, dyeing, rabbits, sheep and more!

19. April 2011 11:02
by Jobo

Woody Knitters: Hand Crafted Knitting Needles

19. April 2011 11:02 by Jobo | 0 Comments

On my last trip up to Belfast Mini Mills... I saw these fabulous wooden knitting needles!  The company is Woody Knitters, and the needles are handmade here on PEI. 

I had been wanting some smaller (both in diameter and in length) wooden needles, as I have read that they are excellent for lace knitting.  The wood is smooth, but grips the lace thread so nicely.  Also, the needles are so feather light, and very warm in your hands.  I have tried bamboo dpns before, and they were ok... I didn't appreciate the bendy feeling of working with them.  I tried a pair of ebony wood Lantern Moon needles also, but for socks, they just didn't work for me.  I broke 2 of the set before I finished an entire sock.  They looked lovely, but didn't hold up to my rough travel-knitting needs.

For lace however, I am very pleasantly surprised at how much I like the wooden needles!  These are a 3 mm diameter set, made from Ramen Wood, with a bead top.  The wood is silky smooth, finished with Tung oil.  This set is 12 inches long, so just perfect for my build.  (I think maybe short people have short arms too!  The standard 14 inch steel needles I use feel like they are too long for me to be comfortable)

  April 11 2011 014lily of the valley samle with wooden needlesApril 11 2011 010

I've tried a few samples now on these needles, and I find them quite enjoyable to use... and here's why:

- Sharpness: The tips are just the right level of pointy.  For fine lace work with even finer thread yarns, a fairly pointy tip is required for manipulating the stitches properly.  I've done various stitches, including K3tog in Orenburg-style stitches, and Nupp stitches in Estonian style samples. 

- Flexibility:  For lace knitting (where presumably the knitting stays put, in one location from start to finish, unlike socks, that travel in various states of completion for a month in purses and bags for on-location knitting) a little bit of flexibility is okay!  The bendy nature that I hated in sock needles, was not a problem in lace knitting.  Where you are only knitting back and forth, and not in the round with all of it's requisite twisting and manipulation, that slight "give" makes the process less rigid and actually more enjoyable!

- Grip:  Steel needles are tough, they don't break, but they are very slippery.  The smooth finish results in stitches sometimes slipping off.  Have you ever sneezed in the middle of a lace repeat, only to have a half a dozen stitches slip off one or both needles?  Have you ever dropped a stitch in the middle of something complicated and have to try and pick it back up?  Wooden needles, though smooth in their own right, are just that teensy bit Grippier than the steel needles, and seem to result in less stitch-slippage.  The thread moves cleanly along the needles, stitches behaving as they should, but I am finding that I drop fewer stitches, and have less accidental stitch frustration

- Weight:  Compared to the steel needles I had been using... these needles feel like they hardly weigh anything!  I used to find that holding up the heavier needles, at sometimes uncomfortable angles, to try and create more complex stitch patterns - that I would get sore shoulders, or tired arms.  Not so with the wooden ones.  The length might also have something to do with that though...  The size and weight are just more comfortable for some reason.

Of course, there are a few drawbacks... I bet I could snap these toothpicks quite easily, if I wasn't careful.  And also, I'm not sure how durable they will be for many uses.  Only time will tell, but I have really enjoyed them thus far, and have plans to use them for my first Haapsalu Shawl (Beautiful Estonian Lace) as soon as I can get the yarn spun :)

All in all, the best 14 bucks I've spent in a long time!

If you would like more information about this brand of needles, please let me know... I don't think they have a website, but I do have an email address to share if anyone would like to contact the maker!

4. January 2009 15:26
by Jobo

I Got 'Mooned'! Lantern Moon Double Pointed Sock Needles

4. January 2009 15:26 by Jobo | 3 Comments

Isn't Christmas fun? and New Years?  and isn't all the holiday hubbub exhausting?

As much as I hate to admit it, its nice to be back to a regular routine again... Some people find January cold and dark and boring, but I think this year, that means perfect circumstances for me to stay in, get cozy, and stay comfy on the couch.  This year's homemade Christmas gifts went over well enough that I think I will try and get a move on early, and finish up a few presents that I can give away next year to some of the more difficult to buy for family members.  Yarn is ordered, patterns chosen.  Maybe I'll stay organized this year?  who knows.

On the Knitting frontier... I finally got around to testing out those Lantern Moon Double Pointed Needles I bought when I was on Vacation in Las Vegas back in November.  I'm not exactly sure why it took me so long to whip them out, but quite an unexpected change from the boring old steel needles from Walmart that I have been accustomed to. 

Specifically, I am using size US 0 / 2 mm Ebony Double Pointed 6 inch needles (you can see all of Lantern Moon's products here) paired up with the Chocolatey Brown Cascade Heritage Sock yarn I also bought while I was away.

First Impression:  Wow these things are bendy compared to steel needles!  In fact I was a little afraid at first that I would break them, because they felt so malleable in my hands.  Think of skewering firm vegetables for kabobs in the summertime... those skewers feel pretty weak, but are actually stronger than they feel.  After knitting a few rows, I think I learned to hold them a little bit differently, because the initial fear of toothpick-snapping passed.

Second Impression:  Warm and Cozy.  I never really noticed just how COLD metal needles are.  While I was working on my first toe, I grabbed a spare metal needle sitting on the coffee table to use to untie a knot in my foundation crochet chain, and there was a noticable Chill to it, whereas the ebony needles always feel warm, and natural.  I suppose that coolness is to be expected from a bare metal product, but the awareness of it is news to me.  Also, these things are as light as a feather.  The whole set of 5 ebony needles is quite light compared with a similar sized steel needle.  I noticed no rough areas on any of the 5 needles, and felt Zero catching on the soft Merino Sock yarn.  The points were not excessive, but sufficient to do some lace stitches with no problems.  I am not sure I would want to do any tight knitting or complicated stitch work with them at this point though, because of the bendy nature, I would be afraid to put too much pressure on them.  I am also afraid of breaking them in my purse (c'mon... don't most people carry some sort of knitting project with them at all times?  geez.)

So once I got over the basic fear of breaking essentially a 5$ toothpick (a set of 5 DPN's retails for a little over 22$USD compared with the same sized steel needles from a department store retailling at around 3-5 $ a set) I think I am really going to enjoy the switch.. though affording a set of every size may take some saving up.  At this point, I have a set or two of virtually every size in Steel collected!  The only real issue I see with the Lantern Moon Needles is the durability of the product for the cost.  There are no retaillers in my direct area that sell this product, so I am limited to local purchases of steel or bamboo needles, or mail ordering or buying on the internet, and snail mail is definetly too slow if you want to start a new project this upcoming weekend.

Final Rating - 2 Thumbs Up!

Anyhoo!  That's the scoop for today!  Being at work at the Hospital all weekend has made me crave an evening of TV watching and spinning/knitting, which I will be heading off to do really really soon.  1 hour to go!

Happy "Kn"ew Year


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