Silver Threads

a knitting blog with occasional side trips

2013 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week—Day 6: A Tool to Covet

7 Comments

Day Six (Saturday April 27th): A Tool To Covet
Write about your favourite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc) tool. It can either be a tool directly involved in your craft (knitting needles or crochet hook) or something that makes your craft more pleasurable – be it a special lamp, or stitch markers.

Is it an item that you would recommend to others, and if so for which applications/tasks do you think it is most suited. Conversely, do you have a tool/accessory that you regret buying? Why does it not work for you?

I’ve thought about this since the prompts were announced, and have come to the conclusion that I don’t have a favorite tool. I do have favorite tools in other fields—a favorite pen, some cooking equipment that I always reach for first—and I know that I don’t feel for my knitting and crochet tools the same way. But I do have a soft spot in my heart for my first crochet hook and knitting needles, and decided that writing about them would be as close to the spirit of this prompt as I was likely to get.

crochet hook

My first crochet hook

This is the tool that got me into all this: my first crochet hook. It’s a size H (5 mm) crochet hook from Boye. My mother bought it for me in 1976 when she made me take that first crochet class, and since there’s not much you can do to damage one of these hooks, it basically looks exactly as it did 27 years ago. From this hook and others from Boye, I developed a preference for crochet hooks with rounded hooks instead of the sharper, more chiseled kind. I’ve used both kinds, but I’m convinced that I split yarn more frequently when using hooks with the more angular heads. As I did more crocheting, I bought more of these hooks, making sure that each new size was a different color. (Sad to say, the finish on the newer hooks tends to wear off with dedicated use.) I own other crochet hooks now, but my Boye set is still close at hand, and the H hook is a well-used part of the collection.

knitting needles

My first knitting needles

Even though I got rid of most of my straight needles, I still have my first knitting needles as well. They’re a pair of size 8 (5 mm) straight needles made by Aero Bernat. Bernat needles were the only brand that the LYS of my hometown carried, but I haven’t seen them offered for sale in the United States for years; the last place I saw them was a yarn store in Vancouver, BC. While my set of Boye crochet hooks was all over the rainbow, my set of Bernat needles was a uniform gray. I did love these needles, so much smoother than the anodized aluminum ones you could get at Walmart, but the plastic end caps tended to crack if you dropped them on hard surfaces too often (like, say, the linoleum floors in your childhood home). Even when cracked, they usually stayed on, but every now and then, I had to get my dad to glue the end cap back on again. And while I loved the metal needles, I was stunned to discover that the larger sizes (probably size 9 and up) were plastic. I felt betrayed. Surely they weren’t that much heavier. And how could anyone put up with how plastic “gripped” yarn once they’d felt it glide against metal needles? So I began to round out the upper end of my straight needle collection with those anodized aluminum needles, and if the collection was no longer uniform, it was more equally pleasant to knit with.

So there you have it. Those first tools shaped my ideas of what good hooks and needles were like, and even if I don’t use those specific tools much nowadays, they are the foundations of my collection.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “2013 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week—Day 6: A Tool to Covet

  1. I am impressed that you remember. I certainly can’t!!

    Like

  2. I agree about the plastic needles – not keen on them myself either. Lovely to hear the history behind your craft. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you. All that said, and I just started a project on plastic needles: a shawl on the one pair of Knit Picks’ Zephyrs I own (acrylic is plastic, right?). Oddly, the wool yarn feels fine as it slides along the needles, but the needles feel ever so slightly “sticky” against my skin.

      Like

  3. Enjoyed your posting and I also remember my first hook but sadly don’t have it anylonger. I wish the quality of products will increase again.

    Like

  4. I remember, as a child in the 70s, my mother knitting constantly and she would swear by Aero needles…according to her, they were the best (and probably still are). I used to delight in “sorting” them out for my mother. These days if I find a pair in good condition, I will grab them. Nowadays I crochet and the second-hand aero hook that I have is highly valued in my collection. Very smooth working and well balanced with a good shaped head. They really are the best quality.

    Like

    • I’ve never seen an Aero crochet hook—well, duh, I was off getting distracted by all the pretty Boye hooks. Although maybe it’s just as well, since now I don’t know what I’m missing. And I’m not nearly as enthusiastic about the few Aero circular needles I have, mostly because of that stiff cord they’ve got. But even though I like my Addi Turbos just fine, and even though I’d hardly use straight needles nowadays, I miss those Aero needles.

      Like

      • My mother never used circs so I can’t comment on the characteristics of their cords, but I did receive some advice about “sticky” needles and hooks (apologies if I am stating the bleeding obvious): washing your hooks and needles in a small amount of dishwashing detergent in warm water removes any build up of oils which can cause hooks and needles to ‘stick’. I realise that different materials (e.g. wood, plastic, steel) have different amounts of resistance/slipperiness but a quick warm wash removes the oil & dirt friction factor. Seems pretty obvious but when I was a newbie, I had no idea and hadn’t even considered it until my mentors suggested it.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s