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Knitting drama

October 15, 2011
by Erin B

There are some topics that are so political that you should just never mention them on the internet.  Home schooling.  Vaccination.  Religion.  Gay marriage (or as I like to call it, marriage).  Mostly, you either avoid them or quickly leave when the trolls come out and everyone gets a little hatey.

But for people new to a topic, the politicized subtopics are not necessarily immediately apparent.

Like knitting.

I could kind of see the English vs Continental debate as being one of those “quick, change the subject” things.  It got worse when I found out that I am actually in an even smaller minority called “combination” knitters.  Also known as “heretics” and “what the f* are you doing?  That isn’t how you are supposed to knit!  That’s just weird/wrong/stupid!”  Like I said, I could see it coming and I wasn’t surprised and I was ready to change the subject to a less controversial topic, like the upcoming provincial election.  Or marriage.

However, I had NO IDEA about the knitting needles (dun dun da!)

Yes, needles seems to be a hotbed of controversy in the knitting community.  Although, it is a strange controversy.  As a new knitter, I get the feeling that open warfare has just ceased and there is an uneasy truce in place, but everyone is on edge and waiting for someone else to go for there gun.  Or blink.

At least that is how I imagine it….

Knitting needles come in three (or four) basic material: plastic, metal and wood.  The wood team has recently schism-ed into true wood and bamboo (which, I believe, is actually a grass).  They also come in three (or four) different shapes: straight, double pointers, and circular.  Circular is further divided into regular circulars and circular sets with interchangeable tips.  I suspect the thing keeping the debates civil is that no faction has a clear majority.  Every possible combination of material and shape has it’s own advocates, and they will all try to convert you to their way of knitting in a gentle way.  Possibly with a pamphlet. (No, sorry, that was Constable Visit… but you get the idea)

In case you were wondering, I am currently a bamboo circular knitter but I am being tempted by the wood composite interchangeable tips:

WAY out of my current budget, but it would be cheaper than individually purchasing my (current) favourite Chiao Goo bamboo needles:

So, how hotly debated is this topic?  It is so hotly debated that T (who doesn’t knit, but who grew up with his mom who does) has a fiercely defended position.  I have to say, it shocked the heck out of me to learn this!  Although, I have to say, he has some very good points and the most convincing argument I have heard yet.

It goes something like this:  I don’t care what material you get, but for goodness sake, whatever you do, DON’T GET A SET!  The kids will loose some piece out of it and your whole set will be wrecked.  If you buy them individually, you can just replace the missing piece.

Well, fair enough.

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