on choosing tools

In September I wrote about three steps I take to evaluate a new tool. What are my thoughts on those tools today? I’m still using them and have spent additional time thinking about my tool choices in general for any given project. When I’m faced with options what weighs more heavily to influence my decision?

Types of tools

There are three types of tools that I use.

  1. A good tool is one I turn to again and again.
  2. A great tool is one that I can adapt to my needs.
  3. A useful tool allows me to fully customize and adapt it to how I work and what I need.

However, that’s not all. In the case of knitting needles, there are a range of materials, styles, and options that provide a dizzying array of choice. We can choose for

  • different styles – straights, dpns, circulars, interchangeable circular
  • length – long, short, somewhere in-between
  • tip style – pointy, blunt
  • shape – round, square, hexagon
  • material – bamboo, metal, plastic, carbon, glass
  • budget & availability – available in big box stores, local yarn stores, or by special order only?

And more. Are you overwhelmed yet?

What do I choose?

It’s why I’m always looking for different needles. The tool I choose will be the one needed for that particular project. I like when the tool I’ve chosen becomes useful and becomes one with the flow (and helps me meet gauge).

By and large I’m partial to interchangeable needles for this reason. If a curious kitten eats the cable or one needle, no worries, I can replace that part. Or, if mid-project I need to change to a longer or shorter cable, I can keep using the exact needles I’ve been using. If for some reason I need to adjust my gauge and use two different size needles I can create whatever configuration I need. In the case of the Kollage Needles, while I’ve not tested them specifically there are interchangeable options!

photo of partially knitted glove with knitting needles

Over the years I’ve been called the “tiny knitter”. This is due to my preference for small gauges but also because I like smaller sized needles, four and five inch lengths make me happy. What also makes me happy is if I’m working with a longer needle and can bend it to my will and not break it. That’s the case for these 2.0mm Kollage needles I’m currently working with. I’m knitting a pair of Kate Atherley‘s Houldsworth Glove in Anzula Gerty (it’s a OOAK colour, but Mariana or Teal are close siblings). Honestly the needle length is a touch too long for me to feel fully comfortable. However, something pleasant happened as I worked on the cuff. The needle bent slightly to my will. Can you see?

photo of some knitting needles and DPNs that are curved

The same thing happened to these bamboo dpns I’ve been using for several years. This has created needles that are incredibly comfortable in my hand and I’m enjoying this project.

I urge you to try a range of different needles, you may surprise yourself and find a new favourite! Note: Louet North America sent me four different knitting needles to review (the FTC wants you to know).

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