Last week I was at a work conference in a part of town where I don’t usually go. Lucky for me, it also happens to be the part of town which is home to a good yarn shop. I had been struggling with the project I had on the needles because my DPNs were terribly long. Imagine DPNs the length of regular straight needles (the ones on which you can only knit back and forth – remember those? ;). I don’t know why they were so long (I think the lady at the shop where I bought them ages ago had mentioned something about knitting sweater collars) nor why on earth I had them (they were probably the only ones the shop had in stock at the time). In any case, knitting 15 stitches in the round on them was a pain in the ass, and finding myself in the vicinity of a solution, I dived in. But it turned out that I had no idea what I was heading towards. After I explained my problem to the shopkeeper, she came back with something that you might say comes from the very opposite end of the spectrum.
This set of 6 (!) KnitPro Symphonie DPNs is only 10 cm in length (I guess that’s why you need 6 of them, otherwise no stitches would fit). The shopkeeper was very positive about them and claimed that they were so short that you could tuck your sock-in-progress in your pant pocket and not even notice it was there. My first concern when seeing them was about whether the stitches would keep falling off the ends, but she assured me that this was not the case, and I can confirm that the grip on these needles is unbelievable (even a bit too strong for my taste, but in any case – you can rest assured nothing will fall off!).
However, something I hadn’t anticipated was that these needles would poke me! It turns out that I hold the needles in such a way that I hug them with my whole palm. With an extremely short needle like this, however, this results in the non-working end of the needle poking me somewhere in the middle of my palm. Needless to say, this is not pleasant. I tried and tried to change the way I hold them, grip the needles closer to one end or the other, change the position of my hands, but it was all just uncomfortable.
I later remembered I had had a similar problem with a circular needle with short tips – in that case there wasn’t so much poking (what ended up in the middle of my palm was the join where the tip meets the cable, which is relatively round and soft), but some stability had been lost. As the non-working end of the needle rests on my palm, this provides me with a firmer grip and more control over my needle’s movement. Losing this, I had resorted to gripping the other end of the needle firmer, which led to pain in both my fingers and wrist.
I finished my project with the long DPNs. They may be a pain in the ass in terms of fiddliness, but at least they’re not physically hurting me like the short ones. Looking back on these two experiences, I think very short needles are simply not for me. What’s your take on them? Do you like using them? Am I missing some vital piece of information/instructions? Do tell!