Thursday 13 February 2020

More Knitting Needles

This post is all about knitting needles, so if they don't interest you, you might like to stop reading now.

Katie at Crafty Praxis, in the Byram Arcade, Huddersfield, has recently started selling some knitting yarns as well as the regular stock of arts and crafts by local artists and designers.  The yarn includes hand-dyed yarns by my friend Steph of Millhouse Designs, as well as some Stylecraft yarn.  Katie also has some vintage knitting needles, and when I was there last week to buy a birthday card, I looked through them and bought  these, to donate to the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection:

Obviously, I wanted to pick ones that aren't already in the collection. But we don't have a catalogue of the knitting needles, so I had to choose on the basis of memory and a lot of guesswork. But in fact, now that I have checked, I was right! - they are all additions that we don't have. (Honestly, I amaze myself sometimes.)

I chose a packet of four Aero double-pointed needles (dpns), for knitting socks or gloves. We do have a lot of Aero dpns in packets already. (Metal dpns that aren't still in their original packets are unidentifiable - they aren't marked with a brand name.)   But these are 5 inch (12cm.) needles, which are unusually short.   When I checked, we don't have any Aero 5 inch dpns in the collection (and possibly no 5 inch dpns of any make). You can, I discover, still buy 5 inch dpns, though usually in sets of five, so that you have the stitches on four and knit with the fifth.  Personally, I don't like smooth metal dpns, because they are liable to fall out of the stitches, and the shorter length would make falling out more likely, especially if you have the stitches on only three needles. Perhaps we have so few 5 inch dpns in the collection because other knitters have felt the same.  Modern 5 inch dpns seem to be mostly bamboo or wood, and so less likely to slip. 

The Aero dpns are of course grey, as Aero needles always are.  The packet stresses the virtues of the needles:  'These "Aero"  pins have been produced to meet the insistent demand for a rustless, non-glitter, lightweight metal pin: if stronger pins are required, the "Flora MacDonald" hardened and tempered steel pins are recommended.'  They are made of aluminium with a grey coating of some sort, and were originally made before the Second World War, though these may be later. 

Next is a pair of plastic Robinoid needles, size 5, with a paper label.  The label is in poor condition, but clearly says 'Made by blind people - Hand polished smooth - Hand made points - Firm knobs'.  I knew that we had Robinoid needles in the collection already, but this is a colour we didn't have.  I think they date from the 1930s, and the name possibly indicates that they are made of celluloid.

Then a pair of Jaeger needles, in a very stylish colour combination (as you would expect from Jaeger).   I knew that we didn't have any needles like this in the collection, because I would have remembered.  I think these date from around 1930, because I have seen an ad for Jaeger yarns from 1931 that uses the same lettering.

The brighter blue needles are Durex, size 3.  We have Durex needles already, but not this colour or style.  These are in excellent condition and look almost unused.

 Finally, a pair of Glydon needles.  I knew that we didn't have any needles of this make in the collection, because I had never heard of it before.   They are of a lightweight metal, uncoated.  I assume that they are not pure aluminium because I have seen several references asserting that aluminium needles would discolour and stain wool.  They may be an aluminium alloy, like Stratnoid needles, in which case they were presumably made after the Stratnoid patent expired. 

Glydon needles aren't listed in Susan Webster's excellent and comprehensive list of knitting needle brands, either.  This is partly a good thing, because finding a needle brand that is unknown to Susan Webster is an achievement, but it's also a bad thing because it means I can't find anything about them from her list. So if anyone can supply any information about Glydon, I'd be very pleased to hear it.

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