Tools of the Trade and having a stretch
What do you consider to be essential “tools of the trade”? Are you a knitter, crocheter or both? Do you like a particular brand or style of needle or hook?
Over many years of knitting, and a few years of crocheting, I have worked out what tools of the trade suit me and the way I like to work. So for me, its long, straight knitting needles; Cubics or Karbonz, ChiaoGoo crochet hooks and ChiaoGoo DPNs and Circulars. I also have a few Lyn Roberts Silver Crochet hooks which I adore for their beauty as well as the joy of use. (Don’t think silver crochet hooks can be called tools of the trade though!)
Ideally, the tool (needle, hook etc) needs to suit the job in hand (pardon the pun!). So if you have a lot of stitches for a large jumper that is heavy to hold, use a circular needle so the weight of the work is in your lap; use small, slightly grippy needles (like Karbonz) to knit lace and Cubics if you have joint pain in your hands. I have personally tested all the types of needles Gorgeous Yarns sell so I can be sure they are of the quality you would expect. They might not be ideal for me, but they are all tested.
Sometimes I am asked what the best needles or hooks are. It’s such a personal thing, so I generally say give something a try. Pick a size you will use, and have a go. If you don’t like them, you haven’t wasted much money and you can give them to another yarny friend to try.
It is important to have a stretch now and then when knitting or crocheting, as well as having the right tools of the trade. Your hands are amazingly complex anatomically, tiny muscles and tendons all working to move your fingers and wrists in the familiar and comforting rhythms of stitches we love. They get tired and need a rest, so every now and then, stop, have a stretch, put the kettle on and move around. Your hands will feel more comfortable and probably less achy as a result. Have a read of this or this too.
There is quite a lot of interest in Cubics needles for people who have joint pain in their fingers. The theory is that because the needles are square, they are a fraction easier to grip and your joints work fractionally less hard, which overall makes a difference. In my work as an Occupational Therapist, most recently in Rheumatology, I can say with confidence that a small change to the way we do a task can make a big difference. So if you have joint pain in your hands, why not give them a try? I have found they knit to tension, but others have found they knit slightly loose, so have sized down half a size for good tension.
Crochet hooks are a whole new world to me! I started crocheting 2 years ago and with lots of practice, I consider myself to be proficient now. I have tried thin, standard hooks, (too skinny) “ergonomic” hooks with shaped handles (wrong shape for my grip), plastic handle hooks and bamboo hooks before I settled on ChiaoGoos. They have a metal hook with a bamboo handle, which is the ideal combination I think. The hook is robust with a good hooky shape, and slips easily to make stitches, and the bamboo handle is comfortable in use.
What Tools of the Trade do you think are essential; I’d love to hear your views. Let me know if you want us to consider stocking a particular product. I’ll have a look, give it a try and let you know!