When Pony needles launched their online store, five years ago, I grabbed one of their bamboo circular knitting sets and have enjoyed knitting bedcovers, pullovers, hats, swatches, shawls and everything else in-between! The bamboo needles were light, had an underlying supple feel and they gave the knitting an arty look, especially the brass knobs and adaptors, which were so unique and ethnic.
Those were the years when I would be shuttling between Delhi and Ranikhet in trains, and I was accustomed to women and children peeping at my knitting and asking about the circular needles…where had I got them from/ did they feel nice/my mother and grandma were always knitting/ do people still knit?/ and so on.
In the last five years, I have sat on my knitting and broken two pairs of those fragile and beautiful needles. A beloved pair has been left behind in the night train. A smart friend wrangled a pair out of my dithering heart. And then, a dear friend presented me with her set!! We had bought them together, but she was busy training and creating professional women cab drivers in the capital, and knitting had slid off her plate, ever since I had left the neighbourhood and the city. Life was knitting along.
Pony have launched their new set of SLICK interchangeable circular needles and I have got a set on my work table. It is a smart, neat, shiny package and the highly polished aluminium needles stand smartly in their designated spots. A small chamber houses three sets of neatly coiled, shiny ended cables and a set of brass knobs. The orange cap consists of a Metric and US needle gauge.
Feeling like a traitor towards my beloved bamboo needles, I fitted the 3.25 needles ( shiny green) and knitted the I cord for a jacket…and that was that… I loved the experience! The smooth and shiny needles glided effortlessly through the rows, their light ends moved quickly through my surprised fingers and there was no tension anywhere. To double check the feeling, I knitted a lace swatch with the thickest needles and the pointed, smooth surfaces just took all the “yarn overs” and “pssos” in their regular stride.. It was a great feeling.
So then, you would ask, if I have to buy a set of circular knitting needles, which one should I go for? And I would answer, “well, it all depends on you, your knitting and your love-life!”. Now, for the explanations after the exclamations..
- If you are starting out on knitting adventures, enjoy surfing the Net and have already joined Ravelry.com, like a little bit of orderly space-saving gadgets, then go for the SLICK set. You will love the feel of the light, smooth needles gliding through your patterns and projects.
- If you have been knitting for a long time, and if your fingers and wrists are just a little wary of large projects, if you love the aesthetics of bamboo and other green aspects of living, if you want something which just folds up and sits quietly in your drawer, go for the bamboo set. The joy of knitting with intent and purpose can be felt deep and dense with that tinge of holding-on-to-the-yarn which bamboo gives to the process.
Many long time knitters will find the Metric and US gauge cover a trifle confusing. We are so accustomed to the UK system of “10 and 9 for the main knit, 11 and 12 for the borders”, that moving to the Metric system can take a little time. However, take heart–if my hill knitters can talk confidently of 3mm and 3.25 mm needles , correctly guess if a fat one is 5 mm or 5.5 mm, anyone can figure out the Metric method.
Ponycraftstore has also launched straight needles made out of Maple wood, as well as bamboo. If you have a knitting besotted friend or relative, consider giving them a set of these knitting needles. They are light and lovely, and they will keep arthritic finger joints going for a much longer time.