I thought I'd take a few people's advice and try knitting in the round. I thought I'd start with arm warmers or a hat. I find it easiest to knit with big 10mm bamboo needles and chunky wool, pencil roving yarn at the least-but prefer the pencil roving waste.
So, does andyone have any advice for needles? I have only seen needles which are thin and have long wires, wouldn't I be best with a shorter wire, only big enough to do the hat comfortably?
Also any suggestions for places to buy? Other tips, like favourite funky fat yarn?
Shorter wire would be best, approx. the same length as the circumference of your head if you are planning to knit a hat. I know that here you can get such needles in all sizes, so I think that even in Uk there should be no problem with the size. Have you ever tried working with five short needles? Here our knitters use them for knitting socks. As for the yarn, probably other members can help you better.
Hi Zed, I agree with Nada--shorter circular needles would be best, assuming you're starting at the bottom rim of the hat, but you will likely have to switch to 3, 4, or 5 double-pointed needles for the finishing, because the number of stitches will get too small. A hat is a good project for beginning circular knitting! Also, the material of the needles (wood, bamboo, metal with slippery surface or metal with rougher surface--not rough as in bits of yarn would get caught on it, but grippy-er surface, I guess) will affect how well the fiber you're using slips on and off the needles. For very slippery yarn, I would use bamboo or metal with a grippy surface, or you will risk the yarn sliding right off when you least expect it! For yarn that would feel better moving quickly along the needles (almost anything mixed with acrylic, especially, and some cotton, and rougher wool), I would use the slippery metal needles.
Inox makes very good needles, with a unique surface in between grippy and slick metal, so good all around, and Clover is good for bamboo/wooden ones. I think the brand name of the really slippery ones is Addi. At the big box stores here are needles with grippier surfaces and bright colors, but I can't remember the name right now. Maybe Boye?
3,4 or 5 needles?! I can barely manage two huge sticks! I thought I'd just have to reduce the stitches near the top. Thanks anyway, there's probably no easy answer and should learn a bit more before attempting the hat!
Zed, here is a video showing how to knit with five needles. Not very difficult, believe me. www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrfSQNgROpM This comes handy when you are knitting e.g. small socks and where even circular needles would be too long.
I refuse to use more than 2 needles for socks and small things. I use the 'magic loop' method if the item is too small for regular circs. There are wonderful circs now, but I've not noticed any big enough to knit pencil roving.
Surrounded by fiber & cat fur in Oak Cliff, TX, a cool & funky neighborhood in Dallas, TX!
About the 3, 4, or 5 needles...with stitches spread over 3 needles, you knit with the 4th. With stitches spread over 4 needles, you knit with the 5th. Sorry if that sounded scary. It's for when the tube you're working on has too few stitches for even the smallest diameter circular needle. I like working with stitches spread over 4 needles because they form a nice square and are easier for me to manage than 3. Somehow it all hangs together better in my lap. Plus, even for flat knitting (going back and forth, not around and around), I use circular needles because they are easier on the hands/joints--all the weight of the piece hangs in the middle rather than toward one end of one needle or the other.
Thanks, Tricia! Maybe down the line, but I've really only done plain knitting, a small amount of purling, dropped stitches and made a hole once. I just thought knitting in the round might be easier than sewing up.
I hate sewing up, too. It's the most disappointing part of knitting, because it never comes out quite right. Knitting in the round does help with that bit. I've been doing some amigurumi animals for people for late holiday presents, and there's a lot of sewing involved there, too. My seams are always too bulky no matter which craft I'm doing. Maybe I need to put in fewer stitches....
A good tip is to cast on two needles, and once you have all the stitches, you pull out one. That way you make sure all the stitches are loose enough, and you don't get discouraged by tight loops you can't really work with.
I cast on with 2 needles and knit 1 row before transferring to the circular - otherwise I invariably get a twist in which means you end up with a mobius! When I have to switch to dpns, I prefer 5 needles, you can get really short ones about 4" long, which are easier to handle than the longer ones.
As you've already said, best idea is to pop into the knitting group and get some personal tuition.