As I mentioned in my previous post, I went on a shopping spree on the wonderful WWW and in the city of Valladolid. Some of the things I bought on the internet are backordered. Some things are arriving by mail now, though.
Trivia about the British Royal Mail: it only works Monday to Friday. No Saturdays means slower than even Spanish mail. Who knew?
Anyway, one thing I’m wicked excited about and actually got here in a timely fashion is happily clicking between my happy knitter hands: circular sock needles! I found out about their existence in a sock book I read a couple of years ago and here in Spain I’ve
spent wasted my time at local yarn stores asking about 9″ circulars.
Wasted my time? Why, yes, that’s what I said. You see, here in Valladolid most of the LYS industry is based on beginner knitting. I mean, really, I should have learned my lesson in a shorter period of time. You can’t even really buy double-pointed needles in most shops that specialize in knitting around here. Things are the way they are in the local knitting market because: A) Most stores don’t specialize in knitting only, but rather sell fabric, yarn, and bobbles; B) Most stores want people to take classes because that’s where the money is: you can sell a knitting (or crochet, or sewing, or whatever) class and the student/customer pays a fee for the class and buys the necessary supplies at the shop.
So, looking for “advanced” knitting supplies? Looking for new-fangled knitting things? Looking for old-fangled knitting things? Don’t come to Valladolid. Hit the online shops. The best knitting shop in Valladolid, as a matter of fact, is online only. That’s tiradelovillo.com. No, this store does not pay me for advertising. Things are as they are here in Valladolid. It’s really comparable to how the world works: few forward-thinking people willing to try new things, lots of people fighting to keep the status quo.
Anyway, back to those magical circulars. I’ve been knitting a lot with them. I bought this particular brand of my tiny circs:
I was so excited about trying them out that I casted on a sock last Thursday, the very same day I got them in the mail, and finished the sock on Sunday. That’s right! I knit a sock in four days on US 1 needles. Here’s the work when it was in progress:
Aren’t those mini circulars just cute? Also, this was the second sock of a pair that I planned to knit for part of my partner’s Christmas gift. So, the socks are done! I don’t even get “second sock syndrome” when I knit one half of a pair on DPNs and another on 9″ circs.
As soon as I finished that sock I casted on another one:
So, let’s see… what do you want to know about knitting with 9″ circular needles? You could take some individuals’ reactions to them at my knitting club (I sent them a Whatsapp about them when they arrived in the mail). One person said they had bought some a few years ago, tried them, couldn’t knit with them because there wasn’t enough needle to hold on to, and gave them away. Another person said something similar, that they were too uncomfortable to knit with. So, every response to my Whatsapp (only two, though) was negative as far as personal experience with them is concerned.
My experience with them is the total opposite. I LOVE THEM. I’m having absolutely no difficulty whatsoever with them. It’s really amazing to knit socks on circular needles as if I was knitting something much larger on circulars, like a hat or a sweater. I don’t have anything against DPNs, but they are a bit fiddly. The 9″ circulars are just more efficient on time. The only time you need to switch to DPNs is to finish knitting the toe (or to start knitting the toe if you knit toe-up). Well, unless you can use the magic loop method or the two circulars method of knitting socks. It’s likely that if you know how to do the former two methods you won’t need the 9″ circulars. I have never been interested in those ways of knitting in the round so, the little circs are just right for me.
I would add that knitting with 9″ circular needles successfully isn’t about hand size. I’m a guy with some big hands and unusually long fingers. My hands don’t cramp up and I have no issues with the shorter needles. My guess is that this way of knitting is right for you depending on how you hold your yarn. I can knit both “continental” and “English” ways and my preferred way of knitting is the “continental” one, so I hold my yarn in my left hand and I’m right-handed. I control my yarn tension with my index and middle fingers when I knit “continental” style. I’m guessing that if you hold the yarn in your right hand and knit with the “English” style it all depends on how you hold your yarn and control its tension, too. I tried the “English” style and it was too uncomfortable for me, but that’s the method that I don’t like using for anything. This year I’ve knitted 0 projects with the English method. I’ve even stopped using it for color work. So, don’t take this paragraph too seriously.
My conclusion? Don’t listen to anything other knitters say about absolutely anything. If you want to try something out, go for it. Your experience is unique and might be different from everyone else’s. Mine certainly has been with the 9″ circulars. Now, I’ll knit more socks in a shorter period of time and my DPNs won’t fall into the sofa.