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.
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.
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.