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 Needles
 Care of Wooden Knitting Needles
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  4:17:39 PM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I hear alot of knitters who complained about wood needles (bamboo, walnut, cherry, and etc) splitting, cracking, and warping on them. I've used wooden knitting needles all my life. Many of my needles are antique and vintage in exotic woods. Oh the patene on them is to die for!

It's very important to clean and moisturize your wooden needles once or twice a year; depending on how dry your environment is and the amount of useage of the needles.

You do this by applying a thin coat of natural wood bees wax (I use Howard Feed-N-Wax (for general cleaning)and Howard Citrus Shield Premium natural paste wax(for exotic woods like Lantern Moon) with a soft chamois cloth. Just follow the directions on the containers.

Your wooden needles will look awesome and smell great. I use bamboo and rosewood needles alot at knitting classes. The waxing also allows the yarns to slid more smoothly off the left needle with minimum drag (for those of you who do not use wood because of the gripping action). My needles can give the Addi Turbos a run for it's money!

Elsie W

GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  4:45:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great information, thanks for posting. Is this a product that is easily available or does it need to be googled and order online?

GFTC of NYC

pictures of FO socks:
www.flickr.com/photos/gftc_knits/
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  4:59:09 PM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You can get these products at www.westernwooddoctor.com. One container will last you for quite awhile. The products are designed for furniture care so your furniture will thank you as well.

I suggest that one allows the waxed and cleaned needles to cure for 24 hours before useage. Well, maybe not that long. But you do need time for the needles to air and dry out from the wax (45 mins. to an hour at least; depends on the humidity). With clean hands I run the shaft thru my fingers to see how smooth it is.

You only need a smidge to rub on with a clean chamois that you can get at Home Depot or Lowe's. Allow to dry (needle will get hazy) then buff off with another clean chamois to a nice shine.

The paste wax comes in many different wood shades, but because of the size of the large tins (and bottle). I recommend using the neutral or natural paste for all woods.

It doesn't take that long to care or clean really. And exotic wood needles are an investment in themselves in cost. So I say it's well worth it.

Elsie W
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BLN3320
Permanent Resident

USA
3808 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  5:02:31 PM  Show Profile Send BLN3320 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you Elsie for pointing this out. I am printing it so I shall know what to get and what to do. Actually I have never had any trouble with wooden needles but living in San Francisco our atmosphere isn't really dry particularly of late when we have had an unbelievable amount of rain. Take care. Beverley

Bev
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  5:29:26 PM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I live in the Northeast and the winters here can be bitterly cold. I went to college in San Fransico and did a fair amount of knitting. When I moved back to Massachusetts is when I noticed my rosewood needles cracking with fine lines.

Elsie W
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carolron
New Pal

24 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  7:06:01 PM  Show Profile Send carolron a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My sock needles are beautifuly bowed at this point. I've tried steaming them. It makes it difficult to grip sometimes, but doesn't interfere with the knitting beyond that.
Can I re-shape them?
Thanks -
Carol
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 04/07/2006 :  10:22:36 AM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I always wondered how my grandmum keeps her needles straight for so many years. Then it just dawned on me when my husband watched me knit one evening.

I unconsciously stand a needle on end (on my knee) and gentlely (in a circular motion)wiggle my fingers the down shaft; feeling for the bow and working it out. I never realized this because I'm usually inspecting my work at the time. But this quirky manipulation of the needles that I do does keep them straight.

If the needles is still bowed slightly; I condition them with Howard's Feed-N-Wax then placed them in between the lower pages of a very heavy book. In my case, an old webster unabridged dictionary. It doesn't always gets the bow completely out.

Once a wooden needle is bowed; it's difficult to straighten them out. The bow doesn't interfere with the knitting but does (as you have discovered) makes gripping difficult.

At least for me, I recommend conditioning and manipulating the needles to maintain pliability. And of course, not allowing the wood to dry out. My needles feels very smooth and soft in my hands; like the surface of fine and very well made furniture.

Elsie W
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2trees
Seriously Hooked

749 Posts

Posted - 04/07/2006 :  8:31:59 PM  Show Profile Send 2trees a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So glad to learn this! I have fallen in love with wooden needles, and I live in a very dry climate!

If I were kind to myself, I wouldn't have to wait for kindness from others
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2006 :  07:06:45 AM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've seen tons of advertising for Lantern Moon knitting needles of late because of there beauty and feel. Plus the fact some of the proceeds go back to educate women in Vietnam is a nice touch.

But like many exotic handmade wooden products exported from tropical to sub-tropical regions. The wood is shellack lightly(excuse if I missed spelled) and heavily hand waxed to an incredible shine to seal the wood. I think it maybe it's because of the humidty; schellack takes too long to dry. Waxing acts kinda like a wood filler besides sealer.

I noted in my LYS's how incrediblely dry many of the ebony, rosewood, bamboo (techinically grass not hardwood/tree), and exotic wood imports are. Drying depends on how long certain shipments are left sitting around in warehouses; my personal opinion. I've seen rosewood shipments in awesome minty condition, then the next shipment is scratched (start of drying out) and dull.

This shouldn't deter anyone from buying wooden exotic wood knitting or crochet hooks. Instead of using them right away; condition them first (I prefer to apply feed n wax two coats) then let them rest for a day. See how they feel after two coats. If the point and shaft still feel coarse or rough; using a superfine steel wool pad (000 or 0000 grade found at most Home Depots, Lowe's, or woodworking shops) buff the whole needle surface with alittle wax paste. DO NOT USE SUPERFINE SANDPAPER!!!

What season to wax or feed? I recommend feed-n-wax your needles during the summer or warmer months of the year; when the wood naturally swells. A good reminder (if you have hardwood floors like me): look for seam separations in the floor boards. Wax pate during the colder months when the air is drier from the cold and the heat of the fireplace or furnace.

Ahem, some people shuck peas in the summer. Well I wax and polish my needle collection and knit. So there!

This method is also great when trying to "salvage" older worn needles or hooks.

Love your needles and hooks, and they will love you back for years to come. Elsie W
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racheljean
New Pal

25 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  06:18:09 AM  Show Profile Send racheljean a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for this information. I have a bunch of homemade 5" bamboo DPN's that I bought from ebay. I got them for a very good price, but after two months they are already starting to split. I was beginning to wonder if this is a case of "you get what you pay for". Before I throw them out and start my collection all over again, I will try your care instructions and see if I can fix them.
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Jardinier
Chatty Knitter

USA
216 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2006 :  12:18:39 AM  Show Profile Send Jardinier a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks Elsie, for the invaluable information on the care of wooden needles. I am a new to knitting & love knitting with the Lantern Moon Rosewood needles. Now I know how to correctly preserve & care for several sets of wooden needles I have invested in. Just received the Howard Citrus Shield Wax today.

~Priscilla~

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risk, breaking rules, making mistakes, & having fun.....Mary Lou Cook
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Saleknitter
Warming Up

90 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2006 :  1:49:06 PM  Show Profile Send Saleknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What a great post. I was fortunate to purchase 7 pairs of Lantern Moon's at a store closing and I certainly will benefit from this information! Thanks.
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Gentle One
Chatty Knitter

USA
121 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2006 :  07:03:45 AM  Show Profile Send Gentle One a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you so much for the information! I had purchased several Suzanne's circulars (2 ebony, 1 rosewood) and was disappointed that they seemed almost rough, not nice and smooth. I'd put them aside but when I read your postings, I decided to try the Feed 'n Wax. I did, and what an amazing difference just one application made. I now enjoy knitting with them.

Next on my list is the paste wax, but I won't be using it until this winter.

LJ

My goal is to become the kind of person my dog thinks I am....
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2006 :  09:17:07 AM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yes, isn't cool! Everyone should treat their wooden (and bamboo) needles and hooks like fine furniture. Sounds crazy for an oversized toothpick but they are an "investment" that can last for a life time if properly cared for.

Heh heh. I always wonder if I will ever see a pair of antique knitting needles on the Antique Road Show. You should see the patene on my grandmother's ebony and rosewood needles. Oooo! It's to die for!
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suziew96
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
350 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2006 :  5:09:45 PM  Show Profile Send suziew96 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
thanks for the useful info -
I just called the place you recommended (I have a mac and had trouble getting my order directly via the internet) - seems to be a mom and pop shop and the woman on the phone was very sweet - I told her that who knows she might get more people placing orders for their wooden needles!
happy knitting...
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2006 :  6:16:41 PM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm constantly on the lookout for new knitting needles. What can I say? My grandma passed the gene onto me.[blush] My grandmother was a firm believer on giving business to the little folks (mom, pop, and small family owned business).

While surfing the internet; I came across some websites who recently added Howard's wax products to their "new" care line for knitting needles. Funny, just the ones I recommended in the Forum.

They must be members of the KR, or read the topic, and wanted to jump on the band wagon for a soon very popular item.[:00]

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Mama Cat
Permanent Resident

1223 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2006 :  3:12:22 PM  Show Profile Send Mama Cat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm resuscitating this topic because I am wondering something about these treatments. I just ordered the stuff from westernwood doctor a few days ago but have not yet recieved the shipment. Anyway in the meantime one of my brand-new #1 dpn rosewood needles from Lantern Moon snapped.

Will this stuff in any way decrease the likelihood of breakage?? I can certainly get that it prevents splintering and so forth and that's why I ordered it in the first place.

But I'm mulling over whether I should be knitting with rosewoods at all if the break this easily. They feel great to work with though, so if there is a way to strengthen them I want to hear about it ...
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2006 :  8:47:08 PM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Honestly I do not use very fine needles. The smallest size I use is a US4 (3.5 mm) in wood or bamboo. I'm what I call a "very precise knitter" (aka: I knit very snugglely but not what most knitters call tight [blush]), and I tend to knit heavy to bulk weight socks.

Anyhoo, my fellow knitters who do use fine mm's do say that their needles are more pliable after conditioning (aka less chance of breakage/more forgiving to stress). But the thin-ness of these needles are prone to breakage even with conditioning if you're a tight knitter.

I suggest not leaving your fine dpn's remaining on your projects when not currently working on. I also suggest using stitch holders (like Clovers or Susan Bates double ended) while your work is set aside. The holders will reduce the chance of possible breakage from warping over time from the projects themselves. My friends have also broken more (0-3) dpns while reaching into their bags/baskets or while pulling their projects out. It doesn't take very long to slip the stitches back onto the dpn's; consider it a warm up exercise for your fingers.

Conditon the dpn until they feel smooth like their bigger counterparts. I recommend that you lay them down on a wooden table when buffing/polishing them; buff the excess into the table .

BTW: Lantern Moon will be more than happy to send you a new replacement dpn if you call or email them.

Elsie W
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Mama Cat
Permanent Resident

1223 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2006 :  03:44:59 AM  Show Profile Send Mama Cat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Elsie - those are great ideas. I'm generally not a tight knitter nor do I exert a lot of force on the needles but I broke this while knitting up the cast-on row which always takes more force. Taking a cue from your suggestions, perhaps I'll cast on and knit the first row with metal and then switch to wood.

I also like your suggestion of slipping onto a holder while resting. I nearly had a heart failure when my daughter sat on my knitting bag because I was thinking of my darling LMs in the bag (thankfully they were OK!). So far no accidents like this, but it could very easily happen.

I have sent e-mail to LM and based on others' experiences have no doubt that they will replace. However, it is a nuisance and I don't want to be constantly bugging them - I want to work with materials appropriate to my style of knitting. I just really LIKE the wood and will try some of these alternatives to make it work.
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2006 :  12:30:36 PM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dear Mama Cat,
I used to own a pair of ebony dpns (US3) a few years back. They met an untimely death when my hubby sat on them accidentally while I answered the phone.[:((]

Yes, knitting the cast on row is almost always the tightest knit. Try casting onto two dpn's together; this will give you alittle more room to maneuver the first row.

I really do not like casting on with two wooden/bamboo needles together especially if you like CO sling-shot; over time the pulling out will bend the needle.[crazy] You can try it with a metal or lucite needle first then transfer like you mentioned, but that takes alittle too much time for me. Have you ever tried an "advanced cast on" method?

You can find examples in the Ultimate Vogue knitting book or The Knitter's Bible. I like this method because it leaves the edging alittle more stretchy than sling-shot, and the stitches are less tight.

Elsie W
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gwtreece
Permanent Resident

USA
7254 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2006 :  07:10:29 AM  Show Profile  Send gwtreece a Yahoo! Message Send gwtreece a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the tip. I had never about needing to wax my needles. A DUH moment, I wax the table why not the needles.

Wanda
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