I am still chuckling about the story of a very particular lady who is a bit of a square when it comes to knitting. She cannot get over the fact that anyone under the age of 40 could know anything about knitting/crochet/yarn/life. Apparently, she came into the shop one afternoon and directed all her conversation to the owner’s mother (who was only visiting). The customer was determined to “out-expert” the young knitting-shop-owner-scalawag. She issued her orders and the shop’s owner scurried around to provide the customer with what she required. She paid, gathered her items and blew out of the shop like hurricane leaving the shop owner standing there slightly nonplussed.
A few days later, the Hurricane was back. With the same agitation as she had when she first visited the shop, she stated that she was sold a pair of “square” 4.5 mm needles instead of round ones… (Please insert awkward silence and seething stare here…) In a flurry, the shop owner apologised and offered her a conventional pair of needles. However, the customer angrily replied that no, actually… she required an additional pair of these strange square needles in size 5 mm and to make sure they were the square ones because “that will be all I will be using from now on!”… (Please insert awkward silence and seething stare here…)
And now you are sitting there and wondering, “What? Square needles?” or “Why angrily?”
Right… let’s address the whole “square needles” thing first. They are a product advertised to be a knitter’s favourite needle because the design makes it more comfortable to hold and offers “hours of pleasurable knitting with no hand fatigue.” They are recommended for anyone who has arthritis or carpal tunnel. The ergonomic design is cuboid-shaped and gradually tapers into the needle points. In rosewood textured laminated wood, they are a delight to the eye, as well. They are light-weight, durable and flexible.
Engineering specs aside, what I really love about these needles is that it seems easier to do colour work with them. It is easier to manipulate the yarn on the needle because it sits on a firm edge of the needle and gives you a better grasp when you weave the different strands behind the work to carry the colours along. In addition, I use a Cubics double pointed needle (DPN) to mark my place on the chart pattern as I work because it won’t roll away! The DPN works fantastically as a cabling needle, as well. Unlike the smooth metal needles, the Cubics has a polished, porous surface and this helps add drag to your yarn but not as much drag as bamboo, plastic or cheap wooden needles. When you work with them, they feel secure and not slippery. It makes it less fiddly and easier to start your foundation row when knitting in the round!
Doing some investigating, I found out these kinds of needles have been around since around 2006 but now they have been honed better and only starting to gain more attention. The needle points have been perfected to make sure they are the same as standard needles. Still, you may need to practice with them a bit and make a swatch or two just to ensure your gauge is correct.
I will be trying the circulars next.
Are these the end-all-be-all in knitting accouterments? For me they are… and for our Hurricane Customer, seemingly! But as always, our choice of needles are as personal as the kind of underpants we prefer to wear. All I can say is come into the knitting shop and have a go. As for our Hurricane Customer— why was she so tempestuous? Ah, who is to say? There is nothing as funny as folk.
***Apologies so late. It’s a Bank Holiday!