On Straight Knitting Needles

I am now 100% certain that the Yarn Harlot can see into my soul. She KNOWS me. Like no one else does.

For real.

At least that is what I have concluded after raiding my local library for all of her books and ravishing the pages with great delight. (If only there were audio versions so I could listen AND knit.) Never have I felt so understood by another human being. Now I know it’s not just a knitting obsession that I face each day. It’s a Knitting Lifestyle.

So there, World.

In other news, I have spent the entirety of the past year knitting on circular needles of various sizes and brands. Even for swatching.

As luck would have it, my inventory of knitting needles (or the ones I could find) lead me to swatch with my size 7 rosewood straight knitting needles over the weekend. It had been a long time since I had picked up some straight needles.

It was glorious.

The feel in my hand. The weight. The length (they were on the shorter side…a perfect length for a knitting a scarf). The material (I probably wouldn’t have been so overjoyed if they were cold, metal cheapies).

A divine tactile experience.

In my early knitting days, I used almost entirely straight needles. Circulars scared me. I mostly knit scarfs. When I branched out to hats, I used double pointed needles (which I will never learn to love). Some years ago, I began to knit larger garments and shawls, bravely discovering the more flexible universe of circulars. The straight needles were left abandoned.


I was so mesmerized by the joy of rediscovering straight needles that I was tempted to knit my fingerless mitts (Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted in Well Water) on them, which would have required seaming. I hate seaming, so the idea didn’t fly for long.

Soon, though. I just might have to knit a scarf. Or perhaps a cowl with grafted ends. It simply must be.

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along. 


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  • Reply Tina October 14, 2015 at 5:10 am

    Shortly after my husband and I married, he bought me a complete set of Brittany walnut needles. I love them but never use them, or the many other straights I own, just see to use circulars. Maybe I should break out a pair for a scarf πŸ™‚

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life October 14, 2015 at 5:29 am

      Thanks Tina. Those high quality wooden needles are so nice.

      Please forgive me, but I think I may have accidentally deleted your comment on my blog.

      I had much blogging drama this morning and ended up with two similar posts. Good grief. Thank you, however, for taking the time to stop by and say hello.

  • Reply Heather October 14, 2015 at 6:06 am

    I use circular needles for a lot of different projects because it happens to be the size that I need πŸ™‚ But, I have never knit anything small like hats and socks on circulars, I always use the DPNs. A scarf sounds lovely to me right now – it is 40 degrees here!

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life October 14, 2015 at 6:24 am

      40 degrees! Come visit! 80 degrees here ( not to rub it in). May your day be filled with knitting and other good things.

  • Reply Terry Wynn October 14, 2015 at 6:07 am

    I had one of Stephanie’s books and was able to pick up the others from someone destashing them. The best purchase ever. Like you, I think they would be super as audio tapes.

    I don’t have any super nice wood needles. But I can imagine they would be wonderful to knit with them.

    Thanks for taking time to blog. I so enjoy yours.

    I hope you have been able to find out why your washing machine was trying to escape!

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life October 14, 2015 at 6:26 am

      Thanks so much Terry.

      I think the washing machine will ever remain a mystery. Some engineer at Sears probably knows but can’t say due to a confidentiality agreement or something…

  • Reply Amanda Dymacek October 14, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Ha. I never loved knitting until I discovered knitting in the round, but that is largely because I don’t enjoy purling. DPNs are the ease of knitting straight and the joy of not purling, so I’m surprised you feel this way? Does Yarn Harlot know?

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life October 14, 2015 at 7:06 am

      The Yarn Harlot knows all, aside from the fact that she doesn’t know I exist. Purling isn’t so bad….I have grown to like it more and more over the past couple of years.

  • Reply Donna October 14, 2015 at 6:53 am

    I love the Yarn Harlot. I’m hoping to run into her this weekend at Rhinebeck like I did last year (but this time I WILL ask to take a picture with her – I was too shy last year).

  • Reply woolythymes October 14, 2015 at 7:40 am

    I have some old brittany walnut needles (discontinued years and years and years ago when they could no longer get good walnut) that among my pride and joy…..it’s always such a delight to bring them out occasionally!!! I can only imagine that the rosewoods would be similar….sometimes I look for a project just so I can use them. πŸ™‚ Hope you find yours soon!

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life October 14, 2015 at 7:44 am

      Thanks! I am determined no, so it will probably happen… Send good pattern ideas my way if you happen t see any!

  • Reply Lindsay October 14, 2015 at 8:21 am

    I need to read some of the Yarn Harlot’s books! Which is your favorite?

    Until I read your post, it didn’t even really occur to me that I knit almost everything with circular needles now. Your words mirrored my own experience — I used to knit exclusively with straights and was nervous of making anything in the round. And somewhere along the way, I guess when I got my Knit Picks interchangeable needles, I pretty much stopped using straights at all. Maybe I should give them some love! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life October 14, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      I am desperate for a set of interchangeables. I don’t have any yet. Sad.

      I will have to get back to you regarding my favorite Y. H. book once I have read them all. Still only part way through some…

  • Reply Ann October 14, 2015 at 9:36 am

    There is a company that specializes in audio books for knitters: http://outloudaudiobooks.blogspot.com

    I know that the Yarn Harlot released at least one of her books as an audiobook.

  • Reply carolinehauf October 14, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I know! The yarn harlot is truly a wonderful person and a kindred spirit for sure. I live a few hours away from her and went to her talk when she came to my city and she is warm and funny – just like her writing. Your post is inspiring me to drag out the cache of straights that I’ve inherited from my MIL. I haven’t been able to yet, but I think I’m ready for a little trip down memory lane.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life October 14, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      Well, if you do end up dusting off the straights, please share how it turns out. In the meantime, I am jealous that you have laid eyes on the Y.H. Best, Andrea

  • Reply Paula @ Spin a Yarn October 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I learned to knit on straight needles, found out about circulars and have never looked back πŸ™‚ Maybe I should bring those bad boys out again πŸ™‚

  • Reply caffeinegirl October 14, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    I started on straight needles, but that’s just because I learned to knit a long time ago. I don’t think I’ll ever go back! I do use them to teach new knitters.

  • Reply Tamera L October 15, 2015 at 9:22 am

    May I recommend the Blue Glacier Cowl by Jo Strong? It’s knit flat, then closed with a 3 needle bo. I’m using the diamond mesh for one of my WIPs.

  • Reply Alina October 15, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Oh I know this feeing! I also started with straight, then switched to circulars. Your description makes me want to come back! I was going to read something by Yarn Harlot for awhile now. Thank you for reminding!

  • Reply Elizabeth October 15, 2015 at 10:25 am

    mm they do look lush! I prefer straights because I like to “wedge” a needle. I also quite like DPNs!

  • Reply Lucy Bowen October 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I can only echo everyone else. I learned on straights and only own cheap metal ones. I love my circulars but may invest in some decent straights to tempt me back!

  • Reply pumpkin sunrise October 16, 2015 at 6:47 am

    isn’t it funny how tactile knitting is and how soothing handling needles can be? I love that about knitting. I have read that book a long time ago and need to re read it once again.

  • Reply kathy b October 17, 2015 at 7:52 am

    I felt the same way reading all her books!

  • Reply bonnyknits October 23, 2015 at 9:19 am

    It’s funny, reading things I was convinced that YOU could see into MY soul! Of course I think all knitters love the Yarn Harlot, but I’ve had that same experience with needles. I love making hats so much that I get stuck on circs, and they truly are my favorites, but every once in a while I make something on straights and it’s marvelous. That’s why I will never understand people who want to arm-knit. The needles are almost the best part! (After the yarn, of course.)

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