Knitting With Large Needles

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.

BurlySpunPicI 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?

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Crocheting, Knitting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Knitting With Large Needles

  1. myraho78 says:

    Thank you for coming to my garden. So far, could you let me know which flower you liked better ? Would like be interested to grow some of these kind of flowers in your indoor garden with butterflies flying in it?

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  2. I looked … wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. myraho78 says:

    May I invite you to come to see my Garden? You may find it very different!

    Like

  4. knotrune says:

    I found crochet very helpful for my arthritis, it helped my hand flatten out into less of a claw.

    A lot of my yarns are wool/acrylic mix, but I am starting to head for more pure wool, alpaca, that sort of thing. I haven’t had an issue with them being too heavy yet. I am mostly drawn to ones which are light and fluffy 🙂

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  5. Icy Sedgwick says:

    Yeah, it’s hard work!

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  6. Good to know. I’ve always used circular (thanks to knitting Norwegian mother, grandmother and aunts), but have never tried this brand. Thank you for recommending! I will have to give them a try.

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Karin says:

    Chiaogoo (similar to Hiyahiya) have a full range, including circs. Nice and light and warm. I only use circs now too, it keeps so much weight off of wrists and forearms, doesn’t it?

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  8. I’ve seen pictures of your garden (wow!). I grew up “gardening” (though it was pretty over the top … my mother was a stern task master with her “garden” – trans: obsessive!). Now I do as little gardening as I can get away with but knit all the time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would guess it is the weight of the wool … mine is super bulky too and like you I’ve had to knit it in fits and starts … of course my biggest “fit” being the design I had to redo b/c of poor measurements etc. 🙂

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  10. Yes it is indeed important to listen to our body. I find big yarns are a no-no for me, but cables are fine. Most of my cable work is done in DK or fingering weight.

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  11. I am making the Back Bay poncho. It’s driving me batty. If knit to the instructions, it comes out way too short (as noted by many knitters on Ravelry) – sort of like a bra poncho. :/ It came with no schematic so I’ve sketched it out and redesigned.

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  12. I have never worked with Chiaogoo needles but, except for DPs for knitting socks, use only circulars. And boy am I looking forward to finishing the project (trans: getting it off my queue list!).

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think that’s a brilliant remedy!

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  14. On my … that must by like knitting with rope! ??

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  15. This is my first use of bulky weight in at least a decade! I’m one of those knitters who will use only circular … except for socks and then I set a set of 5 DPs. I always flinch when I see knitters with HEAVY projects knitting single points. I assume they must have very strong arms and wrists! 🙂

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Do you work with bulky and superbulky weight natural fibers? I would have thought those would be far too heavy – but I base on that on my experience, of course. 🙂 And I’m impressed that you can crochet. I can no longer crochet as it aggravates the damage in my wrist!

    >

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  17. knotrune says:

    Bulky and superbulky is my favourite, despite arthritic hands. I love how fast the project grows 🙂 I find thin yarn and tiny needles/hooks fiddly and frustrating. I can’t work with a hook or needles much smaller than that called for by the yarn, so can’t do amis or anything too dense. I like working loosely, that helps. Sometimes knitting with big needles can give me trouble, but I’ve never had a problem crocheting with it, the bigger the better 🙂 I find varying projects helps, different gauges and also some knit some crochet.

    I generally prefer natural warm materials, bamboo, wood or bone. Plastic is warm and light, but I prefer the feel of natural materials. I am not a fan of metal, too slippery as well as cold.

    I suppose the weight is not much of an issue as I mostly make accessories. I’ve made a few garments and they haven’t been a problem, the yarns I chose were fairly light I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. kiwiyarns says:

    I have not knit with bulky yarn for a while. It depends on the size of the project, but I have found bamboo needles work really well for me as they are nice and light. For larger projects, I have used a circular so that the weight can sit in my lap and not strain my arms.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Icy Sedgwick says:

    I’m currently using 25mm needles (1″) for a vest that calls for two strands of super bulky yarn and it’s so hard to manipulate them! I find anything larger than 15mm (0.75″) to be difficult to manage.

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  20. rthepotter says:

    I have a blouse with narrow raised waist ties which I tied into loops. When knitting heavy, I rest the ends of the needles in the loops and knit with the blouse supporting a lot of the weight. Don’t know if it would work for you, as one has to sit in the right position, or indeed stand, but my bad wrists found it helpful. Looks a bit eccentric of course, but do I care?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Karin says:

    Like you, I almost never knit with heavier than worsted. I’ve had arthritis since my teens and I’m an ‘old lady’ now with CT in my hands. Knitting and Naproxen keeps them limber though! I recently fell in love with ‘Polar Opposites’ and purchased Chiaogoo straight pins to work it. Although awkward, something like telephone poles, they are warm, lightweight and as long as I knit in my lap, not terribly painful to use. I have a variety of old Bryspuns but have come to favour bamboo over them, preferring the lighter weight, swivel cords for minimizing wrist movement.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your finished project 🙂

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  22. I love 7 s & 8s– smaller or larger hurt my hands. But occasionally I’ll use up to 15 for a quick cowl and also pace myself and alternate with other projects. Which poncho are you making?

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  23. Rebecca says:

    I too have to be very careful with what I knit. I don’t do big yarns, twisted stitches or cables very often for this reason. You are wise to go softly. Pain is a message to heed carefully.

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  24. Pia says:

    I started a little jacket in super bulky recently and thought it would be over quick, but, one row is enough for one day, so I lost interest all together, LOL. I only have two thick needles, 12 mm and 15 mm, I’m using the 12 (#17). It’s rather short in the needle part (circulars), I was wondering if that had something to do with it, or if it’s the gripping that hurts, the weight. It’s wood and the cable looks like Addi, but I can’t remember. It’s thicker than the clicks.

    Love the colour.

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  25. I haven’t knitted at tall since I was in my mid-teens; but I did so from about the age of nine. I admire your perseverance

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