10 Best Knitting Needle Sets | March 2017
- work well with all materials
- needles feel warm to the touch
- size markings wipe off over time
- case snaps securely closed
- needle tips are interchangeable
- suitable for every skill level
- very smooth needle surfaces
- won't snag on your material
- doesn't include a stopper
- comes with a gold pin
- needles have a nickel plating
- can join 2 lengths together
- tips are fine but not too pointy
- just the right amount of slide
- makes a great gift
- needles don't make a clicking sound
- bottoms have nice rounded ends
- bleached to be mildew proof
- comes with stitch markers
- convenient cloth carrying case
- promotes even join creation
The Healing Benefits Of Knitting
With shopping outlets such as Etsy, Ebay and thrift stores available to most of the modern world, knitting clothes is certainly not necessary for budget purposes, but this centuries-old craft does offer several other benefits. Knitting can induce a relaxed state similar to that experienced through meditation and yoga. The process of knitting lowers a person’s heart rate and blood pressure, and can even reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Similar to meditation, knitting requires a person to focus on just one or two parts of the body. In meditation, one focuses on the chest and stomach while performing the breathing exercises. In knitting, a person focuses on their fingers. This type of concentration quiets the mind and calms the body.
The calming effects of knitting have become so widespread that many healing organizations utilize the craft in their programs. One life coach named Karen Zila Hayes oversees a group called Knit to Quit that encourages its members to pick up their yarn and needles any time the urge to smoke a cigarette arises. Hayes also started the program Knit to Heal, which helps people who have just received the news that a family member is seriously ill cope with their feelings. Even prisons offer knitting to inmates to help with stress relief and aggression reduction.
Knitting is also highly beneficial for the development and maintenance of a healthy brain. The craft has been proven to help children improve in math and prevent a decline in brain function among elderly individuals. One study found that knitting can improve memory function in elderly adults. Persons of all ages who struggle with eating disorders have reported that knitting alleviates their concerns about their body and weight, and reduces the frequency of binge eating episodes.
Different Types Of Knitting Needles
For knitting there are both hand sewing and machine needles, both of which are available with two different types of points; ball points and universal points. A ball point is best for knit fabrics. It slides easily between threads without stretching them out or altering them. Ball points won’t poke at or separate the micro threads, so it’s good for looser materials.
Universal points, on the other hand, push their way through fibers, so they’re ideal for heavy materials like denim or corduroy. The type of fabric will also dictate the size of the needle. Extremely tightly threaded materials can be destroyed by a needle that’s too large, while loose fabrics are easier to handle with larger needles.
Knitters will find the most diversity in hand sewing needles. Those for putting sequin or beads on fabric are very thin and long, with an eye that’s semi-flexible. Needles used to work with chenille — a fabric that resembles caterpillar fur — are long and thick, and have a large eye because the knitter must be able to work with multiple strands of yarn at once.
Darning, which is the process of repairing tears in fabric, or strengthening parts of a material that have been worn down, requires its own special needle. A darning needle has a medium thickness, but the length may vary depending on the type of fabric being used.
Needles for leather work have a triangular point with a very small eye that can fit through the tightly woven threads of the material. When working with leather, hand needles are mostly only used to embroider or decorate the material. For leather hemming or alterations, sewing machines are used.
The History Of Knitting
It is believed that the earliest form of knitting started in Egypt. Archaeologists discovered a pair of knitted socks in the country, thought to date back to 11th century CE. Complexities in the stitching, such as the purl stitch found in the short row heel, suggest that the civilization had been knitting for a long time before the socks were made. Archaeologists also found other objects in the same region that have a knitted appearance, with hints of a complicated technique called nalebinding, which is a method by which several loops are created with a single needle and thread. Other objects dated to the 11th century CE showcased the Coptic stitch, which historians believe may have evolved into knitting.
Most historians state that knitting originated in the Middle East before moving into Europe. The first European country where knitting appeared was England. In the 13th century, English sailors and soldiers are known to have worn knitted caps. The technique did not become popular among the masses, however, for quite some time because of the difficulty in producing steel needles. Queen Victoria was an avid knitter and during her reign between the years of 1837 and 1901, she popularized the craft. European colonists later brought knitting to the Americas.
The first knitting machine was invented in 1589 by a clergyman named William Lee. It wasn’t until 1864 that a man named William Cotton developed the full-fashioned knitting machine, which produces custom, pre-shaped pieces of a knitted garment. During World War One, people would send knitted socks, scarves, mittens and helmets to soldiers in France to give them a sense of comfort while they were away. In the 1980s and 1990s, changes in fashion trends and access to affordable, imported knitwear made the skill less essential in the garment industry, but it still remains a beloved pastime.