Because of damage I sustained to my hands many years ago, I do not knit with wool heavier than worsted. The weight of heavy wool on top of the strength needed to manipulate large needles aggravate the damage.
I recently made an exception. For the first time in at least a decade I am knitting with a bulky weight wool. Actually it’s more than bulky weight; it’s extra bulky: Brown Sheep Company’s Burly Spun (8oz/22g, 132y/121m). I love this colorway: Tormented Teal.
Of course, that weight wool requires a large needle. I had no needles large enough for this weight wool; I gave them to my daughter some time ago. Eschewing my favorite (Addi), I purchased a couple of different kinds of US#13 to test that would be lighter and easier for my hands:
- Brittany’s 7.5″ double points (made in California from sustainably harvested birch);
- Bryspun’s Pearls circular (plastic, made in Oregon);
- Bryspun’s Bry-Flex circular (plastic, made in Oregon); and
- Clover’s Takumi circular (bamboo, made in Japan).
Bryspun’s needles are working best for me. They are lightweight and allow give, and their cords are thicker than Clover’s and rarely kink (which is quite nice). The tips also have an unusual concave shape making it easy to pick up the bulky single ply wool. (Please note that I have needles that are decades old. Though my favorite needles are by Addi, I have a some non-Addis needles. The Brittany’s birch needles have worn better over the decades than Clover’s bamboo. I have one pair of Bryspun plastic double points that are about 15 years old that have worn well.)
No matter the needle, however, to safeguard my hands while I knit a poncho out of Burly Spun, I pace myself.
Have you knit or crocheted with extra bulky yarn? If so, what needles or hooks do you find work best for you?