It has been years since I used metal knitting needles, and quite honestly I hated using them back then.
A few months ago, when I was in a yarn store a few months ago the employee made a blanket statement that I took some issue with. She had something along the lines of “all experienced knitters prefer metal needles”. I didn’t say anything, but in my head I was like “excuse me? I have been knitting for almost 25 years, and I prefer wooden needles”
So I bought some metal DPN’s (double pointed needles) and after one sock, I can honestly say that after nearly 25 years of knitting, I can’t stand metal needles. When I finish the sock I am working on (in order to keep a consistent gauge), I will not be using metal needles any longer, and going back to my preferred wooden ones.
One of the things I hate about metal needles is that they are slippery. They are constantly slipping out of my knitting and don’t hold onto the knitting or slipping out of my hands, so the control isn’t there. I have also had larger projects stick, and have to yank on more on straight metal needles than on wooden needles. It also depends on the type of yarn you are using.
So no, not all experienced knitters like metal needles. Some of us prefer wood / bamboo needles.
What I like to tell people when I get asked which one is best, is that in my opinion plastic is useless and a pain in the butt, though the choice between metal and wood / bamboo is really a personal preference.
2 thoughts on “Using Metal Needles”
It truly is a personal preference, as are so many choices in knitting. I can knit both English and continental, but I prefer English. Many knitters tout the benefits of knitting continental, greatest of all being the ability to knit FASTER. Well, IMO knitting isn’t a speed contest. So unless I’m going to be a test knitter with time constraints, I struggle to understand why greater speed is such highly valued perk? I value accuracy and consistency far more than speed and so far I seem to get the best results when I knit English.
I’m not a big fan of double pointed needles, but then, I’ve only knit one pair of socks and don’t have a yearning desire to knit more. When I first started using circular needles they felt awkward and cumbersome, but they are my go-to choice for everything now. Several months back I bought a couple of sets of interchangeable needles and one set is the shorter, 4″ variety. I didn’t like them at first, but months later I now prefer them to the 5″ version. I also bought a set of circular bamboo needles and I use them occasionally.
Even different types of metal needles are different from other types of metal needles. I have many pairs of coated metal circulars that were quite popular decades ago (Plastic coated? Teflon? I don’t know what the “coating” is), but when I tried a pair recently I felt they were much more “sticky” than I remembered them being and I doubt they’ll see much use. Brand loyalty is pretty strong in most knitting circles and if you asked a bunch of knitters what metal needles they like best, you’ll get lots of different answers.
I’m glad there are lots of choices for knitters. Different yarns, different types of projects to knit and vastly different personal styles are what make knitters unique in a world where everyone wants to be like someone else.
I agree with all you said. Which is why I hate generalizations. Every Knitter is different and what they prefer is different.