Thursday, May 27, 2010

Square Knitting Needles & Whether you're a Process or End Product Knitter

It was interesting at the Yarn & Needle Tasting on Saturday that nobody liked the square needles I had out for "tasting". I'd been receiving a lot of calls recently inquiring about whether I stock them or not. I had decided last year not to stock them because I hated knitting on them myself. But after all the calls over the last month or so, I began questioning my decision not to stock them. But when not a single one of the Needle Tasters on Saturday liked knitting with them, I was assured that my decision was the right one.
I know there's some chatter out there amongst knitters that feel the square needles are easier on their hands, but for me, knitting on them is jerky...rather like driving down a road filled with pot holes....bumpy and jerky like the very very long dirt road we traversed on Sunday to get to the trail head for West Mountain (the views from on top you can see here). Somehow the square edge "catches" so making a stitch is not fluid. That's my experience anyway.
Yesterday a customer was in and mentioned that she's been knitting on the square needles but doesn't like them. That led us to a discussion about whether we knit for the "process" or for the "end product". I know I knit for the process more than the end product (not that I don't love the end product too!). But I know that even if I and everyone I know never needed another sock, mitten, hat, scarf, shawl, sweater, etc, I'd still knit, felt, spin and weave because it's an important creative outlet for me.
Where do you come down on this spectrum....more about the process or the end product?

As a side note, I too suffer from terrible hand pain sometimes when knitting or felting. My solutions include wearing the compression gloves & bamboo needles when I knit with the non elastic fibers like cotton, hemp, linen, soy, etc.(although I still love my Addi's for protein fibers), also stopping every 30 mins to stretch the hands, fingers, wrists, arms and front chest muscles really thoroughly, alternating between continental and my expedited version of throwing the yarn, and lastly, working in a crochet project between knits since it uses different hand motions!
And as for tips I have for saving the hands from felting strain... I am just trying not to do so much squeezing as I used to use in the final felting steps.
Does anyone else have suggestions or thoughts on saving our hands for our fiber addiction?

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