Thursday, May 24, 2007

Turning to the Dark Side

Last night, I finished these socks:

The yarn is Lana Grosa Meilenweit Cotton Stretch. The pattern is my own design (coming soon to River Knits!) Last week, I posted on the Gaea Creations blog about some of my design process for these socks. I love them. I love how they fit. I love the yarn. I just wish it were a little cooler out so I could wear them. Even cotton socks are too hot when it's almost 90 outside.

But, let's talk about these socks for a moment. Those who know me know that I went through a long period of sock resistance. As much as I loved wearing handknit socks, I didn't like knitting them. At all. Then I discovered the wonderful Crystal Palace bamboo double pointed needles. My knitting life changed. I suddenly enjoyed knitting socks. I swore by those needles for a long time. Still do. But....and I hate to admit this...I've found another technique I think like just as much.

Knitting socks on two circs. (Shhhh! Someone might hear you!)

I resisted it for a long time. Then I tried it a few years ago and hated it. I mean really really hated it. When I started the socks in the picture above, I knew I had to give two circs another try. The heavy patterning just called for fewer needle changes. So, I pulled out two sets of size 1 Susan Bates circulars and went to town. Or tried to go to town. It was more like limping and tripping to town. I found myself fighting with the needles. They didn't want to allow the stitches to move freely from the cable to the needle tip.

When I mentioned my dilemma to Elizabeth and Michelle, they both told me I needed to try Addi Turbos. I had my doubts that it would make that much of a difference, but I was willing to try. Off to RK to buy two sets of 24" size 1 Addis. After some deliberation, I decided to get the Turbos, as opposed to the new lace needles. The turbos have a slicker surface, and I felt that would be more appropriate for the yarn I was using.

When I got back home, I swapped out the Susan Bates needles for the Addi Turbos. Within one row, I could tell a difference. And it wasn't a small difference. It was like doing an entirely different craft. Like going from welding to flower arranging. Here's why:

Can you see the difference in the join? It's sort of difficult to see well because the cable on the Susan Bates is clear. But, if you look closely, you can see that the Addi join (left) is smooth and almost imperceptible when you are knitting. The Susan Bates join (right), on the other hand, is like trying to move the stitches over a mountain of metal. I don't think I'll be using these needles again.

Now, with the Addi Turbos in place, I was going to town. The socks flew by. Before I knew it, the first sock was done! Within a few days, the second sock was done. Amazing!

I'm not going to say I'm a convert. I will still use the wonderful Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs for simple socks--the ones that don't have a lot of stitch patterns. But, I must say that I could fall in love with knitting socks on two circs.

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