Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I Love Denise

No, not what you might think! That’s the Denise interchangeable circular needle sets and now including the crochet hook version too. It doesn’t cover everything (nothing smaller than 3.75mm/US5 or functional cable-with-points shorter than 17”) but it comes in very handy in ways that regular cable needles do not. I’m reminded of the advantages as I use them to knit my version of the Shalom sweater that I’m calling Peace. Besides the obvious knitting the yoke and body back and forth, I’ve used the cables and stoppers to hold the sleeve stitches. Picking up again just meant popping off the stoppers and popping on the tips. I also popped on my new crochet hook to help pick up the stitches from the underarm and popped it off again and replaced it with the needle tip to carry on. Yup, a lot of popping! When I want to try on the top-down sweater, I add a longer section or two to the cable with the little join pieces, change the needle tips to the stoppers so stitches don’t escape, and thereby avoid having to put the whole thing on a string.

Say what you like about plastic needles, the tips on these are nice and pointy, just the way I like them. And if they don’t slip as fast as the blunter Addi Clicks, they are adequate for the admittedly slow speed at which I normally knit. And perhaps the KnitPicks Options needles have a more secure join and more pretty tips (colourful wood, shiny metal and clear Lucite) to choose from, but I haven’t had to fish for a key or a paper clip to tighten or loosen Denise. Just a little quarter-turn click and we’re away to the races. If it pops off on its own it’s usually because I haven’t clicked the join in properly or I’ve twisted as I’ve pushed up tight stitches. It hasn’t happened often and it’s not exactly fatal.

The wonderful and innovative Cat Bordhi has embraced Denise needles too. I hope she has given them some cachet! Her expanded list of tricks are here if I haven’t blathered on enough for you. And of course I’ve knit one of her felted bags, the one with two zip pockets (pdf here). It holds both knit and crochet cases plus extras (longer cords, extra stoppers and joiners, larger tips, other knitting supplies) in the pockets.

So I know I’ve said all this stuff before, but every time I’m in the middle of a project using my Denise needles, it makes me happy. And when damselfly is happy, she bubbles over. In case you haven’t noticed.

Speaking of happiness, I’m pretty happy with the Peace sweater so far. The elderly yarn is holding up well and the pattern (with mods) seems to fit fine. Here’s the photo from a couple of days ago:

VGsweater_progSee all the Denise parts doing their jobs? Now I’m down nearly to the waist and because the body is mostly plain stockinette with garter front bands and a wee bit of shaping, it’s easy to do while reading. I’ve also finished the armholes to make it easier to try on. Instead of the 3 I wanted, I only put in two buttonholes which I hope will be adequate. I found 2 gorgeous big abalone buttons in my stash that are just perfect but there’s no chance of finding a 3rd matching one anyplace. These buttons are nearly as vintage as the yarn! I could sew them on now too, couldn’t I? Will do. Ah, the advantages of top-down in one piece. The disadvantage is a honking 2 pounds of wool to manoeuvre in one’s lap while knitting. I want this done asap! It’s cold around here. Minus 6 Celsius when I woke up this morning and no frost because it’s so dry. Brrrr…

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