I remember as a child, my grandmother had a tubular box in which she kept her pairs of knitting needles of different sizes. She was usually very careful with them but once in a while one of the needles of a pair would disappear and a hunt would begin to find the missing needle. It was a rare occasion when that happened and mostly the errant needle was found. But then that was my grandmother, more organised, more careful, less scatter brained than me!
I can only imagine the number of knitting needle sets I would have ruined had I allowed myself to knit in the conventional manner by using two needles. I mean I still use two needles but they are usually attached with a long cord making it nigh impossible to lose one or even both. That knitting revolution I had spoken about earlier included what are known as circular knitting needles and I can safely say that they are the greatest gift to the knitting world ever. You may think that I am overstating it – how can a mere chord make such a gigantic difference – but believe me it does. Lets first see what circular knitting needles actually are
Circular needles come in both the fixed and the detachable varieties – the ones shown above are the detachable or interchangeable ones. I can just unscrew the chord from the needles, attach a longer or smaller one and begin a new project. It allows for knitting in the round, which means no knitting separate pieces and seaming them together later (ugh! painful). You can make a seamless sweater, cowl, sock, or mitten in one single cast on. Best of all, when you knit in the round, you don’t need to use the purl stitch, every stitch in every row is a garter stitch, making colourwork much easier. Circular needles can also be used to knit flat which means that if you have a big blanket or anything with a stitch count above 200, a long chord between the needles ensures that stitches don’t fall off. Circular needles also save you from those flimsy wretched things called Double Pointed Needles or DPNs. The first time I saw someone knitting with those my heart sank and I almost gave up knitting. Circular needles reinstated my faith. DPNs deserve their own page so I won’t go into the details here.
There are benefits galore to owning a set of circular needles if you’re a serious knitter or intend to become one. A set of interchangeable circular needles are not very expensive and it gives me great pleasure to tell you that a unit based in Jaipur of a company called Knit Pro International makes these needles partly by hand and exports them worldwide.
They say in the hotel business, its all about location, location, location – I say, in the knitting business, its all about needles, needles, NEEDLES.