[Repost of material appearing on 15 August 2006]
I think I’ve hit on one of the reasons so many people despise DPNs: insufficiency of length.
I love DPNs. I use them happily with no problems whatsoever. I have employed up to 15 or so at a time on larger projects for which I had no equivalent circ. And that’s what I thought was going to happen with my red doily. I have about three sets of the unusual 2.5mm size. Give or take for previous losses. 2.5mm sits somewhere between a standard US #1 and US#2. Addi Turbo’s standard equivalent of a US # is 2.5mm (that’s what these are), while most other makers label 2.25mm as a 1. Needle size comparisons across makers here.
My problem is that my 2.5mm needles are stubby, little six-inchers. They’re the only needles I have of that diminutive length, probably bought for glove projects long ago. I normally consider eight-inchers to be the absolutely minimum usable size. I routinely seek out longer ones when I can find them.
My problem with the teeny needles on this project is that I have large hands for a fem. That coupled with too many stitches has meant that I knock the stitches off the butt ends as I work. Yes, I know I could use needle end protectors, or introduce more needles, but I don’t have time to fiddle with point protectors on both ends of 12 needles (I’m up to 12 now). This a new empathy-building experience for me, as I never have this problem. Last night I spent as much time recovering dropped stitches as I did creating new ones. If only I were using needles of my favored length, I wouldn’t be having this ultra-frustrating problem!
Now on to the second half of my dilemma. I don’t have a 2.5mm circ of any length. Nor the time or inclination to track one down. But I do know that I knit more loosely on DPNs than I don on a circ, and i do have an overly long 2.75mm circ. So tonight I knit all my stitches off those little DPNs and onto something safer.
A quick answer to the question about that silver stitch marker in yesterday’s photo. It’s marking the beginning of the round. With 6 or more needles in the work and tiny stitches, plus a pattern that migrates left a stitch or two as it progresses, I find it convenient to idiot-proof my beginning point. Aside from assorting stitches so that the round begins mid-needle it’s impossible to use a standard marker on the end of a DPN round. So I use something slightly different.
When I was on a business trip a while back I happened on the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. I went into a booth selling silver fittings, pieces, and beads imported from India. There I got a bunch of tiny dangles all set with semiprecious stones, plus a half-dozen tiny little silver earrings. The kind that people wear by the half dozen, marching up along the edge of their ears, or through an eyebrow piercing. The whole lot was amazingly inexpensive, even considering that neither the silver nor the gems used are the highest grade. The result:
Stitch markers that can be clipped anywhere I need them. The one shown yesterday is the leftmost of this lot, and one of only three I have left. The others have all gone out into the world as gifts. If I ever get to the gem show again I’m heading back to that tent and stocking up. With luck I’ll help subsidize a village of people who spend their days working on these tiny bits of filigree, and not just the middlemen who haul it across oceans to sell in the desert in January.