I hate to spoil the mellow, friendly tone I started by telling how I realized that Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life, but if I am to present an honest picture of my world I'm afraid controversy is inevitable.
Today's topic is socks on double-pointed needles (dpns) vs. socks on two circulars. You may wish to leave now, or at the very least hide the children and lock up the pets.
I'd only worked on dpns until this weekend, when John taught me the rudiments of beginning a sock with two circulars. What can I tell you? I was feeling wild, iconoclastic, rebellious. Had I been wearing a bra, I would have burned it.
We are now on day three and inch six of the first two-circulars sock. Here are my feelings so far.
Like a good little Buddhist I find myself inclined to follow a Middle Way between the two usual camps. In one camp, you have those who believe any knitter promoting the use of circulars is an unmitigated yahoo and very possibly a menace to the underpinnings of decent society. In the other are those who suspect anyone using dpns probably also wears bustles and sends messages by telegraph.
My own, more moderate, feelings I have recorded below.
Category One: Convenience When Traveling.
Possibly the finest aspect of socks as a knitting project is portability. I can (and do) take them with me whenever I have any distance to travel by public transit. They fit well into my accustomed shoulder bag and still leave ample room for gym clothes, books, small firearms–the impedimenta of modern urban life.
As it is the nature of Chicago transit to be, shall we say, unpredictible, my socks-in-progress are subject to being pulled out of the bag and shoved back in with great haste. This has on more than one occasion caused a dpn to go flying through the air, leaving whole rows of stitches vulnerable. If the errant needle hits the floor, I must decide whether to retrieve it and risk catching something incurable from whatever's down there; or just give the needle up for lost and fix a whole mess of dropped stitches once I get home.
Like well-mannered children, unless greatly interfered with circular needles stay put. Winner: circulars.
Category Two: Ease of Use
As of now, I don't seem to go any faster on the circulars than I did on four dpns, in spite of having fewer changes of needle. It's a mystery I could solve through careful observation, timing, record-keeping, and data analysis. However, had I that sort of time on my hands I would probably elect to spend it doing something else, like reading the Halcyon Yarns catalogue or polishing my boots. Winner: tie.
Category Three: Aesthetics
There is a certain dignity in the sight of a knitter working round and round on double-pointed needles. Even those who do not knit sense this, and tend to ask questions from a discreet distance and with a sense of awe. Double-points have history behind them. Double points have tone that circulars do not, in much the same way battered, old Louis Vuitton luggage outshines brand-new bags from American Tourister.
A sock being knitted on two circulars has far too many weird wires that shoot out the top and bottom, bobbing and flipping like a poor piece of 60s mod sculpture. The knitter appears to be cuddling an alien life form, to which he gives succour. Aesthetically, a sock on two circulars is brash, nouveau–a guest who talks too loudly and laughs too long, causing unease even when he is amusing. Winner: double-points.
My opinions may well shift as I progress into the heel flap. If so, I will revisit the topic.
And I know that there is a third camp, comprising those who advocate the Magic Loop. But of course they're just a bunch of whacked-out hippie freaks.