Saturday, September 18, 2010

I have a point here...

A couple of months ago, when I got a little extra boost to my finances from teaching two 8-week courses at the same time, I rewarded myself with something I'd been coveting obsessing over thinking about for a long time.

Signature Needles!

They came in a nice little grey nylon drawstring bag, and I bought a set of the plastic tubes for storage. I intend to treat these like the specialty art tools that they are!


I got the size that I use most often in DPNs - 1.5 or 2.50 mm and I got them 5" long (options are 4", 5" or 6" for the DPNs). Signature needles come in both straight needles and circulars (in limited sizes right now) but a lot of my tiny knitting is for socks or other small circular knitting so it was DPNs for me. That's where I thought the advertised "stiletto" points would do my knitting the most good. Signature needles come in a three different points - stiletto is the sharpest. If the circulars were made in small sizes I would have gotten a circular, but the smallest at the moment for a circular is a US 5, so I'm waiting. At $45 - $55 for a set of DPNs, I had to choose carefully.


Before I got my own set, I imagined that the stiletto points would be as sharp as sewing needles and that I would be constantly piercing my fingertips as I knit. They are nicely pointed, but they aren't sharp like that.


I found that they were easy to use with tiny stitches and splitty yarn. I used them with my recent summer socks, below. The shaft of the needles is a beautiful colourful metal (is it aluminum?) that is not so slick that the stitches slip off easily when I don't want them to; in fact the shaft of the needle seems to grip the stitches, while the point allows stitches to slide from needle to needle while knitting. This is not the case with other metal DPNs that I have!

In comparison with some of my other favorite needles, all size 1.5, the Signatures are certainly the best for very close or tiny work.

(sorry I couldn't get this picture any sharper)

Starting on the left of this photo are the Pryms - they are matte metal and grip stitches nicely but the points are actually blunt. I never use them with splitty yarn for this reason.

The next pair is my very lovely Darn Pretty Needles from Grafton Fibers. I really love these needles! They are hardwood, very durable and beautiful, and they are also made with a variety of points. I have the sharps, and can use them for pretty much all knitting, even very fine knitting. Because they are wood, they grip the stitches so that nothing slips off. Also because they are wood, the tips do become less pointed over time (it takes a long time but it does happen). The makers told me that I can sharpen again by sanding with a business card and this works fine. They are a wonderful tool. You can see that the sharp points are not as sharp as the Signature Stilettos.


Next in the photo is the Signature Stiletto needle. Note the looonnnng slope of the point. This is unique and, I believe, what gives these needles their ability to slip under the tightest stitches and the finest yarn. They definitely have the finest point of my collection.

The final pair is my KnitPicks metal DPN. I have the wooden ones too, but since they are similar to the Grafton Fibers needles as far as point, just not the same quality, I didn't put them in the comparison photo. The metal KnitPicks, as you can see, is almost as pointy as the Signature needle. You can also see that the tip doesn't have the same long slope. And because the point and shaft of the KnitPicks needles is made all in one with the same metal and the same slick polish, I have a lot of trouble with my stitches slipping off the KP needles when I don't want them to.

So there you have it! Was it worth the money? definitely! But the price will prohibit me from having a whole collection, sadly. I do very much want to get a couple of the circulars when they come in size 2 and 4 and will save up my pennies for that time!


Carol said...

You will love them always. I make myself finish a project just to free up a set for a new project. I have bought my favorite size for socks 2.25 mm. I have 2 sets of those now and then later I bought 2 sets of the 2.50 mm like yours. That was over a year ago.
Just this week I received my first pair of circulars in size 5/3.75 mm. I'm doing a sweater in fingering. I love them. I have always bought the stiletto tips.
The needles are pricey yet they are the needles I reach for when I begin a project. I have wood dpn's, square dpn's, nickel plated dpn's, bamboo dpn's and my very favorites are the Signature Arts needles.
My machinist son examined my needles. The shaft has machining done round and round, very finely so that our stitches don't slip off.
My addiction is out of control. I am up to:
4 sets of straights
5 sets dpns
1 set circular

Enjoy your new needles.

Mette said...

Thanks for showing your tools. I have to check out those needles.