The Verdict
As promised, I’m back to let you know how I got on with the 9 inch circular needles I took for a spin.

I have a feeling that some of you won’t be pleased with what I’m about to say … so I’ll not muck around. I’ll just say it: I am not a fan of the teeny tiny sock needles. You can see I persevered with them for quite a while because the leg of my sock is nearly done. I really did try to like them. After all, so many people do. But I just couldn’t. With every single stitch I yearned for different needles.

Let me explain why.

Casting on was ok, I’ve told you about that. Next, I was straight into the ribbing and in the beginning I was all thumbs. It took quite a few rounds to figure out how best to hold the needles. I usually knit ribbing by knitting in the western method and purling in the eastern method. It’s a great way to keep ribbing lovely and neat and if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I explained it once upon a time in another blog post. Anyway, after a while I did get to grips with the short tips and did manage my usual ribbing but as I was working I imagined that it might be easier to knit Continential style, with the working yarn in my left hand, rather than the English style I’m used to. 

Maybe you could let me know if you like these needles and if so, whether you knit continental style? I did try but really, it was no better because continental knitting is so unfamiliar to me too!

Then, as I knitted I noticed I was rubbing the edge of my finger on my right hand in the same place over and over. Ouch. I guess over time that’d pass but it was quite off-putting.

My biggest disappointment came when I finished the ribbing and moved on to the sock leg. I’d been hoping to knit a sock with a lace insert down the front and I did try a few rows but I found it so awkward and difficult to manage anything other than straightforward knit stitches I gave up, ripped back and started again with a vanilla leg. Not so pretty.

I do have to say, it was fast knitting once I’d mastered a reasonable technique. There’s no yanking stitches around a cable, no moving from needle to needle. Just knit, knit, knit. My little sock grew like the wind. But, and this is a big BUT, I really didn’t find it relaxing and I found myself avoiding knitting and feeling quite negative about sitting down and knitting. Oh no! It was horrible. 

I wondered what exactly it was that was putting me off so much? I’m open to new things so I didn’t think it was that. I managed to get a reasonable technique sorted and although I wasn’t thrilled about knitting a vanilla sock I wasn’t that upset about it. My finger grazing did get better and hey, it was pretty quick going. 

I decided in the end that it was the tiny range of movement that I really didn’t like. I found that all movement was concentrated in just a few fingers and those movements are really tiny. Knitting with just the ends of my fingers made me tense and tight. My hands stiffened, my shoulders crunched up, my neck became rigid and I clenched my jaw. It made me feel exactly the opposite of how knitting usually makes me feel. Soft, relaxed and calm. It’s hard to imagine that there’s much movement in knitting but I guess for me, my usual style with longer tips uses more of my hands and wrists than I’d realised. 

I know a lot of you just love these tiny needles – did it take you a long time to get used to them or was it love at first round? 

For those of you who haven’t tried them – maybe try to borrow some before you buy your own? Have a think about your knitting style, are you a big movement knitter? Have a go at holding your needles right at the very tip, maybe an inch from the end – how does that feel? Tight? Odd? Just fine?
So, over to you. What do you think of 9 inch circular needles? Have you tried them? Want to? Love them? Hate them? Any tips you might have for someone wanting to have a go?

I’m off to rip out my sock and start again –  I feel quite relieved. I think I’ll have a go at the lace pattern I fancied. X

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