Thursday, January 3, 2008

Prayer Shawl Update

I just started knitting the Lion Brand Comfort Shawl for a coworker who is battling cancer.

This is the first time I have worked on circular needles, and woe is me. I know that circular needles are supposed to be more ergonomically correct, but my hands, wrists, and forearms are quite sore this morning. The cord connecting the two needles is still quite stiff and curly, and I keep pushing the cord out of the way as I am working. (It's driving me crazy!) The finished rows keep twisting on the cord, and the stitches aren't easily sliding from the cord onto the end of the needle as I work down the row. I find myself pulling/pushing the project onto the ends of the needles every few stitches.

What am I doing wrong? Do any of you more experienced knitters have some suggestions for me? I know of people who knit everything on circular needles and wouldn't go back to knitting on regular needles. I'm disheartened, because if it doesn't get any easier, I don't see myself ever knitting larger projects or projects in the round.


Knittymuggins said...

Sorry for your frustration :(

I can't claim to be an expert, but I might be able to help a little. I have heard (I haven't tried this yet, but I've read it in magazines) that if you boil a pot of water and then hold the cord of your needles in the steam above it, it will soften the "curl" of the cord and you can straighten it into a less curly shape. I'd be interested to hear how it works if you try this :)

Also, are you a tight knitter? Maybe you are experiencing trouble with your stitches catching on the join between the needle and the cord because your stitches are tight and are therefore not able to move smoothly over that section of the needles. I have a bit of a problem with this myself since I knit tightly and have just resigned myself to having to deal with that issue whenever I knit on circs. I've noticed though, as I become a more confident knitter, that my gauge has loosened a bit and I don't have as much trouble with this as I used to. So give it some time and you may find it becomes easier for you too :) At least I hope so!

Your shawl looks lovely so far! Can't wait to see it finished! Good luck :)


Elizabeth Spinner said...

I have tried the hot water trick and it does work. What I do is run a pan of very hot water from my tap and dunk the cord in it for say 20 or 30 seconds. Remove it and dry it, gently smoothing the cord straight. It should help.

Also, it looks like you are using Clover/Takumi bamboo circulars, yes? They are durable and you can find them in many stores, but they do have stiff cords ("high memory cords"). So, you could also try going to the LYS and get some Addi Turbos. A slight bit more expensive than the Clovers, but the cords are MUCH floppier. Or, go to KnitPicks and try their Options or Harmony interchangeable circular sets. I've just cast on a Baby Surprise Jacket with my Christmas present Harmony needles and I like them very much.


Jess P. said...

I'll just reiterate what everyone else said. Yes, dip them in hot water and see how that works. Sometimes just working with them for awhile will help them relax, but I'm not usually that patient.

I've ditched all of my circulars that don't relax because it's just not worth the hassle for me. I usually go for Addi Turbos because they don't have as much "memory" in the cord. I have heard really really good things about the Knitpicks Harmony, mostly because they don't have any "memory." The higher end needles also seem to have smoother joins so your knitting won't snag where the needle joins the cord.

K. said...

Thanks for the advice, ladies! I've been reading about the KnitPicks interchangeable systems on and off this afternoon, deciding if I should purchase them or not.

A little voice is telling me to purchase them...

Why couldn't this have all happened before Christmas, because they would be a perfect Christmas present!

Jenny said...

Is that Homespun yarn? For me, it is difficult using Homespun or similar yarn with bamboo needles, circular or not. The stitches are not likely to fall off, which is nice. Yet I remember that it was hard to get them to budge at all!

I don't want to open a can of worms... It's just my preference but the Addi needles are actually too slippery for me with this type of yarn! I would opt for something in between. If only you could bring the yarn to a shop and try it out with different needles even just for a few stitches..!

Wish I could be more helpful. Best of luck :)

K. said...

Elizabeth, thank you thank you thank you! I got my KnitPicks Options needles in the mail Friday, and I started re-knitting the prayer shawl. I love them! And they really aren't more expensive than the Clovers when I consider that I got nine needle sizes in two different cord lengths. And two of each size cord... so that's sort of like getting 36 sets of needles. The shawl is going well.