May 12, 2005
Surprised! For two reasons. First, I so confidently posted about my grubby bamboo and wood needles because I figured everyone had this problem! And why shouldn't I think that? My wood and bamboo needles get coated with the crap of all craps no matter the yarn, the pattern, the needle brand, the size... And it has so far happened to each and every set. But, wow, now I'm shocked because clearly I'm the only one! I'm going to take the pointing finger and move it from the yarn manufacturers to my own self. It is my grubby little hands.
To answer many of the comments, I hardly ever use hand lotion, and never use it while I'm knitting. I use a more or less harsh soap - Softsoap - that leaves my hands totally clean and uncoated, as far as I can tell. I do have very sensitive skin. If you look through the many pictures of my hands on this blog, you'll notice I never have any rings or bracelets on; at best, I have my watch on, although typically I take it off as soon as I get home. Reason being that even precious metals can cause my skin to bubble up in a reaction. So it could be some kind of gunk my body is producing in response to the yarn and/or needles. A second reason could be that my hands are always very warm and... sweaty isn't the right word... moist? Never dry? A third reason is that I work in a lab, wear and change gloves very often, and wash my hands very often as well. Years of this may have conditioned my hands to produce extra gunk, promptly deposited on the needles. Where are my fellow science knitters? What are your experiences?
Whatever the reason(s), my body is gunking up my needles, and I need to clean them off. I'm not sure how to proceed from here. I got tons of ideas from all of you - thank you so much! But no method has been recommended that's been previously tested. I think it's innocent enough to start with baby wipes - they don't have lint problems, and I have them in my house, mwahaha! I love Murphy's Oil Soap, I have very sensory-rich memories associated with it, so hey, might as well use it for something! Because you know with these needle dilemmas the floors aren't getting washed any time soon :). So far I've done nothing other than to switch back to metal needles, which clink-clank when I knit and come in sets of four, but don't have any other drawbacks as far as I can tell.
- I'm not a fan of two circs or magic loop, thanks to those of you who suggested these methods.
- Because I can knit very quickly with the right needles, I am also developing a high preference for non-wood needles in all situation. This is a bit different from the gunk problem, because even brand new bamboos retard my optimal speed. In lieu of this, here are some great ideas for me:
- Inox makes plastic, aluminum, and steel dpns. They come in sets of five! In fact, I already have a set of the aluminum ones, but they are the wrong size for this project.
- Bryspun double-pointed needles also come in sets of five! Again, I already have a set, but they are the wrong size.
Really, there's no reason I should ever have to use bamboo or wood needles ever again. Maybe I shouldn't even bother cleaning them!
The second reason I'm surprised is that, wow, my entry got so many responses! There are two possible interpretations: (1) you think (correctly) that I'm a freak of nature and are intrigued by the weird gunk and/or (2) you understand my dilemma and are genuinely trying to help me.
Thank you :).
Because no blog entry is complete without a picture, here are the suspects.