Geek of the Week: Knitting Tools

P1010004Knitters are notorious of course for Stash, by which we always mean yarn.  Like most knitters, my hoard of yarns cannot fit into a picture; I am lucky if it fits into a room.  But yarn, like the money it used to be, passes through your fingers and is gone, knitted into garments or afghans or Willie Warmers or  anatomically-correct squid or whatever and then set free into the wider world.  What does stay with the knitter is the tools.  I have tools handed down to me from women who were knitting before I was born.  And of knitting tools there is no end!

First and foremost for the knitter is needles This Christmas, for example, I received the fascinating multicolored wooden cable needles pictured.  There are  needles made out of everything from milk protein to gold (for those with a nickel allergy).cableneedles

The three-tiered rectangular Chinese basket in the picture was given to me by a lady in a nursing home.  All the needles and tools were of course immediately assimilated into my collection, but they are visible above and beside the basket.  Long straight needles stand up in a large vase, and the shorter double-points live a promiscuous existence in the purple plastic envelope.   All thirteen sizes of circular needles, in many lengths of each size, ran wild until safely corralled in a file box, where zippered hanging file bags keep each size safely segregated and imprisoned. (Both knitters and writers often have an unhealthy relationship with office supply stores.)  I have so many I cannot count them; anyway many of them are out of circulation in Works In Progress (WIPs).

This might be a good moment to dive into knitting acronyms; we have very nearly as many as the US armed forces.  A WIP that languishes long enough untouched descends to become an  UnFinished Object (UFO), a limbo which can last for many many years.  Eventually the UFO is either knitted into completion, sometimes by another hand — I am the go-to girl around here for raising UFOs from the dead — or descends into the final deep, the TOAD, which stands for Tried Object, Abandoned in Disgust.   This acronym is essentially a back-formation so that it fits in with what you eventually do with TOADS: you frog them, unravelling all the knitting and winding the yarn back up again into balls to be thriftily reused in some other less TOAD-ish project.  Why is pulling out your knitting called frogging?  Why, because it goes rip-it, rip-it, of course! (Thank you, thank you, let’s have a hand for the band!)

P1010001One of the most important things for anybody with a lot of gear to do is to keep it organized.  Otherwise you can never find that yarn needle, button, or crochet hook when you need it.  (The crochet hooks are not in the picture, but dozens of them live in a coffee mug.)  And time spent searching for misplaced equipment is wasted, valuable moments that could be used in writing of knitting.

Next week’s Geek:  Nancy Jane Moore!



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Geek of the Week: Knitting Tools — 2 Comments

  1. Have you seen the LIGHTED knitting needles for working in the dark, or on long car rides after sunset? Spendy but really cool

  2. No I haven’t — where is the link?!? From lighted needles of course is a very short jump to needles with WP capability, so that you can consult your pattern with convenience, and from there it is a short slide to full internet connectivity, so that you can buy yet more knitting stuff WHILE KNITTING. It’s a sad, sick world!