Monday, June 25, 2007

It's all in the wood

As in rosewood and ebony.

I have been having issues with knitting cotton for a long while. No matter what I did I could not get or maintain gauge. First I would have to drop down several needle sizes to obtain gauge, then have to constantly measure my work and adjust my tension to maintain the gauge, which is a real pain in the neck. I rarely have gauge problems with wool or wool blend. I thought it was the texture and pile of the cotton yarn. I seem to have much better result with tightly twisted yarn like Karabella Zodiac than with Nashua Ecologie Cotton.
Then I discovered Susanne's and Holz & Stein needles.

I was knitting primarily with Addi Turbo or Denise Interchangeable Needles. I tried Crystal Palace bamboo needles before but did not like the joins which always catch yarn.

Then I heard about Susanne's ebony and rosewood needles and got a pair of ebony to try. They are wonderful. The joins still catch the yarn once in a while, but not enough to annoy you.

The best, is the Holz & Stein needles from Germany.

The ebony is the Susanne's and the rosewood is H&S:

The Susanne's has metal joins where as H&S has none. That's pretty much the only difference between the two but it makes a world of difference. I was able to get gauge! No more loosey-goosey stitches!

I realized my problems were (apart from loosely-piled yarn) the needles. I love Addi Turbo. However, the Addi does not grab the yarn and while there is no problem with wool, there is with cotton. My stitches are too loose and flopping all over the place, making it impossible to maintain gauge.

The top is Addi Turbo, the bottom H0lz & Stein. Both are Ecologie Cotton knitted on #6 needles. The stitches achieved with the Addi are much looser and the gauge far off. The Holz & Stein, however, gives me much neater stitches and the correct gauge.

Yeah!! I can knit with cotton now!

This is Evie, a free pattern from Debbie Bliss. I am knitting it in Blue Sky organic cotton. The pattern calls for needles size 8 and I got gauge with Holz& Stein size 8. Way to go! The only drawback is that the Holz & Stein are very hard to find, and pricey to boot. You can get them at Catherine Knits (you need to call; they don't have online ordering) or at Knitty Noddy . At $30 a pair they are an investment, but in my opinion they are worth every penny!

In the meantime the zucchini plants are producing.

I picked five more zucchini over the weekend. So far I have had nine, which is nine more than I had last year.

Things are looking good in my knitting and gardening world!

Happy knitting.



Phyl said...

Try the Addi Lace Needles. I'm liking them. Need to also find the H&S needles you talk about.

Hope all is well!

Lee Ann said...

Hi there. It's Lee Ann in Solomons. Good trip down. Had dad sleep in guest room to get a good night sleep. I stayed with mom. It's Sat am and been raining since about 5am. Your blog is great and we enjoyed our zuchs and cucs last night for dinner. Be home later tonight.
Your blog is great.

Nelia said...

Good for people to know.