She used an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny addi Turbo . . . OK, the rhyme doesn't follow very well. But the obsession is real enough. US 1, 0, double aught, triple aught - bring on the tiny needles!
Every year, just before the holidays, I'm amused to no end, watching knitters gradually increase the size of needles and thickness of yarn they choose for gift projects. And my hands hurt for them. I cannot comfortably maneuver those chunky needles, no matter how much satisfaction I might get from the nearly instant gratification that comes from a finished project. Nope! Give me a little needle any day. Anything bigger than a US 6 or 7, and I'm a sad knitter. No sadness in knitting, right? So bring on the zeros and 1's, pretty please.
No surprise that I love knitting socks. I didn't always love those minuscule needles, though. I began my sock knitting adventures with 2's. Thicker fingering weight yarn, too. My first toe-up socks were designed by Wendy Johnson, who uses mostly US 0 needles. And I swore them off, instead rewriting some of the patterns to accommodate at least a US 1. But over the years, I've come to appreciate the beauty in stitch work achieved through small gauge needles. The last two classes I took at Madrona - Bohus Stickning and Sanquhar Gloves - both required double and triple aught needles to achieve the correct gauge. But the unexpected outcome was a beautifully defined stitch pattern. Sold! Since then, I've fallen more and more in love with those ultra-fine tools.
So what am I putting those itsy bitsies to use with? Well, colorwork socks for one. Because my gauge tends to increase with stranded work, I needed to go down a size or two from a 1, or else find a giant to wear my knitted socks. The Route 66 socks I'm doing now are coming out beautifully with zeros. Fitting perfectly! Then there's a new pair of mittens I could not pass on. Wouldn't you know it - a new book. With a new mitten pattern. Tanis Gray's compilation of Harry Potter inspired designs showed up on my doorstep last week, and the 'Expecto Patronum' mittens spoke to me. More like screamed at me to knit them for my Potterphile daughters. Lots of stranding, using fingering weight Shetland wool. So again, out come the aughts. Yes, it'll take me a while to finish. But we're talking socks and mittens, not an afghan.
So there you have it. My weird, twisted obsession to ply my yarn with teensie weensie little sticks. Ahhhh, my happy place.