I was reading along in a Ravelry forum this morning when I saw the following quote from Ann, one of my on-line knitting friends (Rav name AnnGustard):
“When I was a child knitting, from the UK Woman’s Weekly mainly, you always went down 2 sizes for ribbing – everything was either 4ply, where you’d use a size 12 for ribbing and 10 for the main part; or DK where it was size 10 for ribbing and 8 for the body. Four sets of needles – straight of course – was pretty much all you needed. How times have changed!” (quote used with permission)
This made me laugh! That’s exactly what it was like for the first few decades that I knitted. My needles were straight, and I had very few of them. I needed very few of them. I mostly knitted with DK or worsted weight yarns. (Note that Ann is referring to UK needle sizes; the US sizes are different.) How times have changed indeed: there are knitting needles in every corner of the house! And, in a knitting corollary of Murphy’s Law, they are always the wrong needles for whatever I am planning.
After reading Ann’s comment, I decided to see how many knitting needles I could gather in 2 minutes and take a photo. These don’t include any needles currently in use, or any needles that are sitting in a project bag with the leftover flotsam from a finished project not yet re-distributed, or any needles buried in one of the boxes I couldn’t dig out in 2 minutes.
I grabbed all of those at hand, and ran outside in the blustery wind, where Doug helped me snap a few photos (and after which, I ran around the garden picking up all of the knitting tools which were blowing around in the wind).
There are quite a few sets here: my lovely and reliable ChiaGoo interchangeable circulars (in the black and white case), my HiyaHiya circulars (in the blue case), my KnitPro Karbonz (in the box at the back). There is a large plastic box containing my limited sets of straight needles and an enormous tangled mass of fixed circular needles in all sizes and lengths. There are two project bags stuffed full of needles, including some very nice fixed circulars of various makes and models.
Also not included are the knitting needles I inherited from my grandmother. I wrote a post about these in 2012 (!) which you can find here, but below are photos of her needles:
Grandma certainly had more than four sets of needles, but she was knitting up till the 1990s, and her collection spans about 70 years of knitting (plus, she worked in a yarn shop). Nonetheless, all of her knitting needles, together with the entirety of her other knitting tools, fit into one small carpet bag.
It is a bit of a running joke in my family that any time I need a specific size needle, I won’t be able to find one. (They, at least, find it funny.) Every time I start a project, I spend lots of time pawing through this:
The question remains: If I have so many knitting needles, how come I can never find one in the size I need?