You know how some projects end up feeling like wrestling matches—stitches get caught on the join of your circular needle, and you spend more time nudging stitches than you do knitting? Lace projects are where this happens for me. The combination of thin yarn and large circs is a recipe for nudging.
I had a bit of that with my first Nesting Wrap, Bristol Ivy’s brioche pattern. Not terrible, but it was the sort of thing that got me to thinking: if only this size 10.5 needle weren’t a circular needle. If only it were straight, and somehow allowed me to do that thing in two-color brioche where you have to slide the stitches back across the needle to work the second color?
Well, I figured out how to get this fantasy to become reality. I realize this is a very specific hack for a very specific project. But it does make me think about needles, and how sometimes the tool we instinctively reach for may not be the right choice. I guess that’s my Thought for the DayTM.
My fantasy required double-pointed needles of unusual length and size: ten inches long, size 10.5. That’s just a weird size for a DPN. Socks for a giant? Knit your own sleeping bag? I embarked on a comprehensive search of the internet, a visit to Meg Strong at Haus of Yarn, and a consideration of making my own superlong DPNs out of dowels. Conclusion after this exploration: I’m not really eager to take on needle manufacturing as a new craft.
I could find exactly one source for such an exotic needle, Susan Bates Quicksilver Double-pointed Needles, size 10.5, 10″. The source is Webs, of course.
I got out a set of Clover tip protectors, from the drawer of exotic knitting notions. (Are there any fans of point protectors out there? This is the first time I’ve had a real need for them.)
Here’s what happens. You knit one row in one color—here, it’s the dark Mallard color I’ve just finished. Next, I’m supposed to knit the Verdigris. See how it’s not knittable, given that there’s an obstacle in the way, namely the point protector?
Well, alls ya gotta do is move it to the other end, and voila: off you go.
When the pattern says, “Slide stitches back to other end to begin next color,” you just move the tip from one end to the other, slide your stitches, and you’re good to go.
It’s about ten billion times faster than working this stuff on a circular. Zipzap, I tell you!
Halfway through this second batch of Jade Sapphire Cashmere 4 ply, I’m in a pretty serious groove. I still can’t get over how brioche knitting looks in this soft yarn. Airy and light. Knitting with cashmere is a rare treat for me, so it’s nice to be able to create a very special project without having to worry about much. It’s a rectangle of cashmere in beautiful colors. Right now, that’s just the ticket.
PS Our kits for the Nesting Wrap include five different colorways of Jade Sapphire Cashmere 4ply, each one really lovely. If you’re cutting back on sugar and carbs, I highly recommend this as a delicious substitute.
PSS The pale Nesting Wrap in the pictures is in the colorway Pebble Beach and Stonehenge. I still don’t know which color is which—it’s basically pale plus a little bit paler. Two-color brioche for the color averse.