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All That Yarn - Yarn Stories Part 3

Updated on July 26, 2017

Amy's Knitting Needles and Case

They don't make them like this any more. Knitting Needle case with sizes by the holes.
They don't make them like this any more. Knitting Needle case with sizes by the holes.

Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks

I have a lot of knitting needles and crochet hooks. Some were given to me, some I purchased, and some I inherited from various people and family members. I worked with a gal who said she “had more knitting needles than God” because she bought a shoe box full of them at a garage sale. I beg to differ, I believe I have way more knitting needles and crochet hooks than she can imagine. I bought some for the classes I have taught over the years; I bought myself a set of at least one of every size and sometimes multiple sets of the same size since I used that a lot for some of the patterns I make up; and I have some for “just in case I need that size” in my stash.

One case of knitting needles. Assorted sizes.

Long, short, double pointed, plastic, wood, and metal knitting needles.
Long, short, double pointed, plastic, wood, and metal knitting needles.

Where all those knitting needles came from...

When I was younger, probably in my twenties, a family friend and fellow church member Amy Friedlund called me and asked me to come over to her house. She had been ill for many years, and did not get out much, so I had not visited with her in quite a while.

She told me that she had some old knitting needles and if I would make use of them she would give them to me. I thought maybe she had a few pairs and I could always use more when I had one project “on the needles” and needed the same size for another project.

When I went to see her, she gave me a tall burlap covered tube. It was nearly full of knitting needles. There were two holes for each size from 0 to 15, and the tube was divided by a printed down the middle so that one side held 14” and the other 10”.

I had never seen such a case, and have never found one anywhere else. It was a treasure! Some of the needles were wooden, some metal, and some plastic or a synthetic that is no longer manufactured. I used the metal ones, but did not use the bigger wooden ones as when I got them there were few patterns calling for size 13 or 15 needles. Also, other than baby hats I have not used the smaller sizes like 1 and 0. I don’t make socks or tiny baby booties so I had no reason to use them.

I do appreciate all the varied sizes, colors, and materials. The case is so handy to keep them organized and they hang free inside the tube. If any of the smaller ones are put in a larger hole they just disappear inside the tube, and I have to turn it over like a piggy bank to try to get them out. It does not open up so I don’t put any double pointed knitting needles in there.

My father and I once went to a thrift store or more likely a junk store on a Saturday afternoon. I saw some double pointed knitting needles in the jewelry display case. The person selling them had bundled them in pairs. I asked to see them as I was thinking they were double pointed knitting needles and not some part from something mechanical.

After I saw them up close, I tried to explain that double pointed knitting needles come in sets of four or five needles and not in pairs. She didn’t know anything about knitting and was not convinced that she had to bundle them in a set of four. I ended up buying them separately as two pairs of knitting needles instead of one set of double pointed knitting needles.

In later years I found and purchased several packages of double pointed knitting needles in various sizes at the Mercantile in my Grandmother’s town (this was long before they stopped selling yarn and crafts in the basement). Since they did not sell well, or the store had ordered a lot of them when they first got them, the prices were printed on the packages instead of on a sticker. I got several pairs since I was teaching beginning knitting and crochet at my local community college. I paid under a dollar for each set in nearly all sizes they had available at the time. I felt I found a great bargain. I still have many of those left, those I didn’t sell to students in my community college classes, and they come in handy when I need double pointed knitting needles for a hat pattern.

Just a few of the many knitting needles.

Boye NeedleMaster set
Boye NeedleMaster set

Too many needles, but just enough to share.

When I was a teacher, and I could order things at teacher prices, I purchased several sets of interchangeable knitting needles by Boye. I had asked my students in my community college class if they were interested in getting a set, as they ran $49 a case which was quite pricey in the 1980s. I mistakenly ordered 40 sets instead of 4 sets and had to ask the company I got them from to take back the extras. There was no way I could afford $1,960. for knitting needles on my own, and not enough students wanted to buy them that I could justify in keeping the extras for the next year’s class.

I kept two sets for myself, and gave one to my Grandmother. After that I misplaced one set and ordered a new one online. It was about the same price as back in the 1980s. But the way the company made the needles had changed. They used to have a piece that made the larger needles fit the cable. It was available as a spare part (online) but cost quite a bit to replace. The newer needle sets now had all the needles fit the cable without having an extra “re-sizer” part to put on. So my new set would not work with my old set.

Luckily I found the second old set when looking for something else. When a friend of mine knew of a teen who was getting into knitting and could not afford materials and supplies, I offered to send her a “care package” of knitting stuff. I sent her the new set of interchangeable needles along with a variety of yarns. The teen was thrilled to get such treasures. In a way I was passing on Amy’s gift of needles by providing someone who was a beginner some needles to work on her own designs.

Lots of scarves.

2012 Scarf Project for Special Olympics Wyoming
2012 Scarf Project for Special Olympics Wyoming

Guys and Knitting

A gal where I worked decided we were going to get together a group of knitters and crocheters to make scarves for the 2012 Special Olympics. She thought it would be great to teach people who did not know how to knit and/or crochet, and it would be great for team building with co-workers.

Well, we opened the project to any employees who wanted to join us over the lunch hour. We ended up with just three other employees, one employee’s girlfriend, and one guy. We met in a conference room that was had many employees walk through (it was a short cut for most). We also met at the front receptionist desk (where I worked) as two of the three were located in the same building with me. We took pictures of us knitting and crocheting, as well as the scarves when they were all done and bagged ready for delivery.

One of the days we were working in the conference room, a couple of guys came through, asked about knitting and then teased each other about using pink knitting needles and learning how to do it. I told their supervisor that they had “volunteered” to learn and help make scarves. The supervisor said he would make sure they showed up for lessons.

Well, they didn’t but the supervisor himself came to a couple of meetings and he learned how to knit. I don’t know if he ever finished his scarf as he was too busy to come to more than a couple of group meetings. He didn’t return the yarn, so I’m hoping he did get one done or at least gave the yarn to someone who would make a scarf. The two guys who made it a joke? Well, they never bugged the group again, but they didn’t come back to learn to knit either. Oh well, their loss!

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