cardigan · knitting · norahWHY · sweater

a square review.

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out and review Kollage Yarnssquare knitting needles. In an effort to find some needles that might help with my carpal tunnel in my right wrist, which has been an ongoing problem since I was in university, I thought maybe these would be the answer. Kollage Yarns sent me a pair of 3.75mm circulars and 3.00mm DPNs to review.

IMG_20140705_171413

I chose a simple baby cardigan to knit as I wanted to work on something that I would be able to finish relatively quickly in order to write a review without huge delay. This is my own design – I just measured some of Norah’s baby shirts, did a few simple calculations based on what I suspected my gauge to be and cast on.

IMG_5938

Pattern: My Own Improvisation

Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift in colours Buttermilk, Scotch Bloom & Sunglow

Needles: 3.75mm (square circulars) and 3.00mm (square DPNs)

IMG_20140715_192740

The claims in favour of square needles include the following:

  • ergonomically suited to hands,
  • decrease stress and strain for knitters,
  • faster knitting,
  • more uniform stitches,
  • no dropping stitches when working with slippery yarns, and
  • easier to use by those who have arthritis, carpal tunnel, or stiffness in their hands and fingers.

Kollage Yarns also makes two different cables for their square needles: Soft and firm. I tested out the firm needle but I haven’t knit with the soft so unfortunately, I can’t compare the two. They also make both metal and wooden square needles. I was sent only metal ones but based my dislike of wooden needles (they aren’t slippery enough for me), I can affirmatively tell you I wouldn’t personally buy the wooden. That is purely personal choice!

IMG_20140710_155239

I am a very consistent knitter already, so the promises about more uniform stitches didn’t apply to me. I don’t row-out (my knit and purl rows are the same gauge), which I attribute to being a continental knitter. As well, I have never been one to drop stitches … even when I was learning. I’m not sure why that has been the case!

IMG_20140710_121431

I did not knit faster with these – neither the circulars nor the DPNs. If anything, they slowed me down. Whether it was because I was learning to knit with different needles or my hands will only move so quickly, I did not notice any difference. When I was knitting with the DPNs, I found them quite awkward at first but actually really enjoyed them once I had finished a few rows. Would I buy them over a pair of conventional DPNs in the future? Maybe, yes. They were light, smooth and incredibly sharp, which I love.

IMG_20140710_122442

Reading other reviews and blogs, I had noticed that people found a gauge difference with square needles and often had to increase the size of the square needles to attain their same gauge on round needles. I had knit a swatch a while ago on 3.75mm needles in this same yarn on round needles (I’ve been planning this cardigan for a while!). Once this sweater was finished, I compared my gauge: I was exactly the same. Almost without exception, I have to go up 1 or 2 needle sizes to obtain gauge so I actually was not surprised in regards to this aspect of the needles. Over time, I have learned that I am a tight knitter compared to others out there.

IMG_20140715_082326

My carpal tunnel flares up when I purl because I am a continental knitter and the position that I hold my wrist in cuts off the circulation. I can work the knit stitch for eons and never have a problem with my wrists. What I was most curious about was whether the square needles would ‘fix’ my discomfort while purling. Even with the amount of purling in this project, I can’t honestly say that these needles helped with my wrist strain. The reason for this is 2-fold: These needles are too small for me to notice much of a difference between conventional round needles and square, and second, I think only a sweater- or shawl-sized project would tell me for sure whether these were the magic cure for me. That said, would I buy a 4.5mm or 5.00mm square needle to trial on a sweater or shawl project to see if these really will help my wrist problems? Absolutely.

I liked the feel of the circulars. I only tried the firm cable but it was sturdy and easy to magic loop with even though it was only 24” long. This left me very curious about the soft cable and when I buy a larger size to try on a sweater project, I will buy a 32” soft cable circular.

IMG_5941

Due to the size of this needle, I would not go out and buy a bunch right off the bat. I will try one or two larger needles prior to making that type of commitment but I am looking forward to trying these again. They might, over time, be a worthwhile addition to my needle collection if the larger sizes really do help with my wrist strain. I will keep you posted as I try different sizes.

Thank you to Kollage Yarns for allowing me the opportunity to try these – if anything, it has left me wanting to try more of the square needles.

IMG_5943

Lastly, the super cute buttons I placed on this – they have been in my button stash for years! – and my plain old standby backing buttons.

IMG_20140710_124407

Do you suffer from wrist strain or stiffness? How do you treat it? Have you found different tools to assist you?

Please share! We need our wrists and hands to be in good health to continue with our chosen hobby!

Happy knitting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s