My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


One of Those Days

It has been one of those days. It started out well enough, but went downhill from there.

Nothing dramatic, just one annoyance after another, and very little knitting time. So it was probably not the best of ideas to attempt to start a project on size 15 needles when I finally got a bit of time. This is as far as I got before I decided that life is too short:

I don’t think I’ll tell you how long it took me to get to that point. My hands are simply not built for size 15 needles.

So this project has been retired and I have backed away slowly.

Lucy, on the other hand, had a great day.

As you can see, she was very productive. Unlike her Momma!


  1. I can’t do the big needles very often either. I’m so used to my size 1’s. And you with your size 0’s – yowza!

  2. {{{{{{{{{{Wendy}}}}}}}}}}

  3. I agree, The larger the needles the harder it is for me to knit. I like my sock size needles and nothing bigger than a 7US. I hope tomorrow will be a better day for you.

  4. I feel your pain. anything bigger than 6mm and my hands are aching.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Dear Blog =-.

  5. I’d be happy to make it for you Wendy. I don’t have issues with the bigger needles.

    Let me know.

  6. Suzanne says:

    I’m with you on knitting with big needles – don’t like it! My dd wants me to knit a lacey top out of bulky cotton on size 11’s and it just doesn’t feel good! (All the more reason to get it done quickly so I can get back to my 0’s and 1’s… and 4’s for lace.)

  7. After knitting so many projects on smaller needles (US 4’s and under), anything knit with large needles hurts my hands after a while. I’m working on a shrug in US 8’s and noticed that my hands have started cramping up after a bit! Sorry it didn’t work out for you. *hugs*
    .-= MsLindz´s last blog ..Mmmm, Tamales (Oh and knitting, too!) =-.

  8. I like using big needles occasionally…most of the time though it feels awkward. Trying to get my kids group to use smaller needles is a challenge though. No…really…it’ll be better on size 6s…promise…

    .-= Abigail´s last blog ..Oh Hai April…. =-.

  9. I knit a lot of lace and a lot of socks… size 8’s feel huge to me!
    .-= GeekKnitter´s last blog ..The Beginning Of The End =-.

  10. Wendy in Cambridge says:

    I can’t do size 15 needles, either. I’m fine up to a size 10, but that’s it.
    The vest from Vogue is lovely, though.

  11. mary Roach says:

    I don’t use those big cigar sized crayons either. What did you learn? You are a grownup.

  12. Carol B says:

    I’m not happy knitting with anything over about a 10. I have to really, really, really love a project to knit with anything bigger.

  13. Debra I says:

    I can commiserate. I knit some big-ass mohair on 13’s one year for a holiday gift. It was interesting, but not my favorite size knitting. I’m more comfortable on 6’s or 7’s — that’s my shawl knittin’ size. I brought a sock to my sister’s last night to work on while we visited, and switching to 0’s was even strange. (Maybe because I do my shawl knittin’ with fingering yarn, and here I was making a sock with it instead! How novel!) But not as painful as 13’s.
    Take a deep breath. Maybe the “aging hippie” spirit will move you another time when your hands can better deal with huge needles.

    Remember when folks would knit on sz 35 or 50 needles? Talk about holy cloth.


  14. try up sizing with a few in between sizes. example: work on some worsted socks that take say 4 or 6’s then do a dish linen with 10’s then switch to the 15’s. Don’t have to complete each project, just enough rows to acclimate the hands.

  15. Hi Wendy, I love size 15 needles ๐Ÿ™‚ I am not fond of the smaller ones 0-2, if you ever want any I’d be honored to ship mine to you:-) I thought I had to have needles in most every size if I was to ever call myself a ” Knitter” ,LOL so in my enthusiasm to take classes, buy books,etc. I amassed a needle collection in various sizes that I will never use. You are most welcomed to the “small ones” ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jackie C

  16. Carolyn says:

    I remember when I first started knitting and my mum’s size 6s felt small to me. After many projects on smaller needles, they feel enormous in my hands! I can’t even begin to imagine a size 15…

  17. Although I often knit aran sweaters, usually on size 6 or 7 needles, I find knitting with broomsticks just awful….especially after doing a bunch of socks on zeros or lace shawls on 3, 4 or 5. Even a recent wedding afghan was done on only a size 9…about the largest I can stand. The only time I’d use broomsticks is if I’m demonstrating a technique for a group of knitters.

  18. I’m just the opposite. I can get along with my size 2 Harmony needles for socks but otherwise anything below a 9 cramps my hands like crazy. I’ve worked on projects all the way up to size 19 without any problems but 10ยฝs are my all time favorites..
    .-= PlainJane´s last blog ..More Lap Robes =-.

  19. I have a knitbuddy who said “I just can’t get used to these huge needles” the other day at knit group. We all looked over and had to laugh as she was knitting on US4’s. Her usual projects are lace or socks so I guess the size 4’s would seem big to her (she even spins laceweight and has never figured out how to spin anything bigger).
    I was offline all weekend (inundated with the resident 9 and 15 yos, adult kids and dogs and talking to overseas family and deployed friends via Skype) but wanted to wish you a very Happy Blogiversary. I’ve been reading your blog for years- since the Petfinders kitty bed knit-a-long (I knit several kitty pi beds and even won a prize!)- and hope to be reading it for many more.

  20. Oh! I’m so glad I’m not alone. I used to get tempted by projects using large needles because I thought I would finish them quickly. But those large needles are so unwieldy that the project would take a long time to complete and be totally UN-FUN.

  21. linda-kay says:

    It’s kind of funny. I started knitting scarfs on size 15’s – then evolved and fell in love with knitting socks. Now I pick up the size 15’s and they feel like clubs! And please take care of yourself Wendy! Lucy’s counting on you – lol!

  22. Send it to me Wendy…I’ll get it done for ya!
    .-= Sherry Anderson´s last blog ..Open House!! =-.

  23. At this time in my (day-job) life, I am happy to get anything on (and off) any sized needles…. sigh….

  24. Wanda Rosenbarger says:

    Sorry you are having a bad day. I just received your new book in the mail that I preordered long before it was released. It is full of great patterns and I can’t wait to get started – I just have to try to pick one.
    So, you are responsible for me having a good day. Hope that makes you feel a little better.

  25. Sandra D says:

    Smart lady! Life is indeed too short to spend it on knitting that’s uncomfortable.

  26. I had a feeling it would all end in tears but didn’t want to be a stick in the mud.

  27. Dorothy says:

    I find those huge needles very uncomfortable to use. I feel like a first grader with those huge crayons. Those are awkward also. ah, Lucy looks very happy!!

  28. using large needles after size 0s and 1s does feel like you’re knitting with logs.
    .-= southparknitter´s last blog ..Visiting the frogs =-.

  29. I knit a Christmas scarf for my mom on those giant needles and they felt so unwieldy. Won’t be doing that again soon.

  30. Oh how I can relate! I just started a shawl for a friend using very fine mohair on size 15’s…and I feel like a size 8 is huge. It is going well, but I can’t do my usual throw movement with my finger, I fill perserver though, I get free yarn out of the dea.

  31. Is part of the difficulty the ribbon? I haven’t used size 15 for quite a while, as I’ve been making mostly socks lately. A friend and I call the truly gigantic (size 30, etc) needles “CARROTS”. I have made Lopi sweaters using 11 or 13 needles, but in those cases the fat yarn and fat needles are at least proportional.

    Happy Blog-o-versary! Her Kittieness sends purrs…

  32. I don’t enjoy large needles, either. At the other extreme, I’m trying to knit one of the patterns from your book with size 1 needles, because I tried the 0s recommended, and just couldn’t work with them. I’ve knit my few previous socks on size 2s, which may just be my limit of smallness, but I thought I’d try to step down one size. Maybe if I approach it gradually.
    At least, with toe-up, I can try on for size and make adjustments to the stitch count, if necessary.
    My size 0s are 16″ circs. Maybe the 24″ would have felt better to hold.

  33. Size 15? They can see those from space!

  34. Once again I’m different…. then again I never liked being a “cookie cutter”!! (whoops didn’t mean to step on anyone’s toes)

    I find that occasionally dramatically changing the size of needle or hook I have less muscle fatigue… though I will admit that the bamboo “Q” hook I use for rag/craft yarn (doubled) rugs does tend to hurt after awhile.

    I seem to be headed down the “freeform knit/crochet” path and one of the projects uses size 15… at least it’s “Baylene” needles the sz 17 is aluminum which at times requires that I stick the blunt end of the needle under my arm if I’m doing a K2T or some such stitch.
    Anyhoot…… !!!

  35. *shudder* Size 15mm? Those aren’t needles! They’re weapons.
    .-= Brigitte´s last blog ..A Handsome Model =-.

  36. Even failures teach us something so it wasn’t time lost!

  37. Helen Wyld says:

    In my head I like the idea of big needles , but the reality is painful !!

  38. Glad that I am not the only one who can just fold up a project (after frogging, of course, why waste the yarn) and tell myself that it just wasn’t meant to be. That is certainly not failure, it is learning. I learn all the time.

  39. When I started knitting, I used large needles a lot–even 35s! It’s that immediate gratification thing. But then I started knitting socks, and now, even a size 5 feels huge.
    .-= Ida´s last blog ..My Dancing Sock and Yarn Update =-.

  40. Therese says:

    The only time big needles are tolerable are for a quick afghan! Consolation: With all your lovely fine lace shawls, my guess is that you would never have worn it! (especially if it was a dreaded struggle to complete)

  41. If I am knitting with big needles, I like them much better if they’re straight needles. I don’t like circs when they are big, unless I have to knit in the round…

  42. a friend is doing this vest, she needed a 13 not a 15 to get gauge. wonder if a slightly smaller needle would help you, Wendy? it is such a pretty project.
    .-= KathyB´s last blog ..Stamps of Approval =-.

  43. gretcheng says:

    Yes, life is too short! Especially when you have plenty of laceweight and sock yarn to keep you happy. I use US 11-15 for knitting items to felt in the washer, but that’s it. Though the chunky knits are often cute, they are not for me! Aging hippies are also wearing lots of shawls… ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. isn’t it funny how the bigger needles feel awkward now, lol. I have to almost always use circ’s too vs straights. I find they cause less wrist strain on me. Lucy looks very productive!
    .-= turtle´s last blog ..Look What I Caught Ma ! =-.

  45. This is not good news since I haven’t started mine yet. I hope the arthritis in my hands doesn’t make me “retire” my vest too. Shucks.

  46. I’ve knit with size 15s once or twice, but normally I just rejiggered the garment for the gauge I have with the yarn I want to use. I’d love to say this is always successful, but my unfortunately cropped top that I haven’t bothered ripping says otherwise.
    .-= Seanna Lea´s last blog poor little bug =-.

  47. I love knitting with big needles. I knit on 15s all the time. scarves, afghans, you name it ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. audreayoda says:

    I would love it I knit with big needles all of the time and I already have a copy of the new Vogue magazine. I work with small needles for some projects but my hands are always happy to get bacak to my big needles.

  49. I also struggle with anything over worsted weight or anything with a lot of weight. That’s why I so appreciate your lace and socks!
    .-= LoriAngela´s last blog ..In Tune With the Weather =-.

  50. mwknitter says:

    Interesting – I have had so many knitters ask me if I don’t have problems with hand cramps from almost always using such tiny (2.25 or 2.5 mm) needles. But I never do. I love them. Using larger needles feels weird. I am knitting a sweater for my grandson on size 6 needles & they feel like tree trunks! I have had a bit of arm pain but I think that is largely because the yarn is mostly cotton (60%).