Store your Denise Interchangeable Needle Kit in this felted bag (and knit it with the kit as well!). Your long cords and extra parts will fit inside the zippered pocket. Here’s the pattern. Enjoy! Thanks Cat! To order a skein of this gorgeous self-spiraling yarn by Fleece Artist, visit Color Song Yarn.
Here are some of the Denise knitting tricks I’ve discovered:
- Make a pair of matching circular needles out of just one kit! You can knit with two circular needles of the same size even it you just have one Denise kit. To make a pair of circular needles in the same size, just use the correct size tip on the end held by your right hand. Use a smaller size tip on the left side. This works because your gauge is determined entirely by the right hand tip, which receives the loop and whose circumference determines its size.
- Tight knitters can knit more easily! If you are a tight knitter and have to work to get the stitches moving along your left needle, just replace it with a smaller size, going down as many as 3 or 4 sizes if you like. See above for an explanation of why this will not change your gauge; only make your knitting easier. Incidentally, this will work in circular knitting only. In rows, you would have to keep switching the tips, making certain you always had the larger tip in the right hand (which you could do).
- If you’d just like to speed up your circular knitting, try putting a needle a few sizes smaller on the left side. The stitches will slide easily, giving your hands a break and your needles room to fly. Again, this won’t change your gauge, just help you knit faster!
- Whoops! Got to start over—now it’s easier! Something went wrong, but you’ve only knit a few rounds or rows, and you’re glad you caught the mistake. Just remove the tip from one end of the cable and all your stitches will slide off so fast you won’t believe it. Unravel, and start fresh.
- The cure for uneven stockinette! Many knitters purl more loosely than they knit. This results in uneven stockinette. But with Denise needles, all you have to do is use a smaller tip on the purl side of the circular needle. Do some experimenting, and find out if you need to go down 1, 2, or even 3 sizes. It will vary depending on the yarn and gauge.
- Applied I-cord—a handy tool just the right size! I use a lot of applied I-cord and it is most easily done with a short straight needle. If you have a Denise kit, you have a nice assortment of very short straight needles, that is, all the tips. Just push a rubber needle tip protector on the bottom of the tip to give your very short needle a nice comfy base, and you’ll find it is a great tool for applied I-cord.
- To try on a garment in process to be sure it’s working out as planned, just add a connector and an extra-long cable (30”, 40” or 52”) to your needle and spread out the stitches.
- Would you like to add shaping to a garment with intricate texture or color work, but not have to insert increases and decreases? It may be gradually shaped by changing tip sizes (which can be done in seconds). For instance, to knit a shaped sweater in the round from the bottom up, begin with a larger tip, shift to the next smaller size to begin shaping, to the next smaller size after another several inches, and so on, then reverse the shaping above the waistline. Sleeves may be shaped in the same way. Row/round count will change a little, but probably not enough to make a significant difference.
- Picking up stitches is easiest with a smaller needle, so use a very small tip to first pick up all stitches, then change to the correct size to begin knitting.
- Change cable length without moving your knitting stitch by stitch. If after lots of increasing or decreasing, you need a longer or shorter cable to fit your stitches comfortably, just remove a tip, add a connector and the new cable, slide all stitches to the new cable, remove the connector and old cable, and add the tip to the new cable.
Click here for Cat’s website
Our first introduction to the magic of Cat Bordhi was a phone call in early spring of 2004. I was lucky enough to be answering phones that day, and my first impression of Cat was a kind voice and a great deal of subtle enthusiasm. She told me she had devised a revolutionary method for knitting Moebius strips. Her projects required an extra long circular needle, and would we be interested in making such a thing? She had never tried the Denise kit before, and said that if she liked it she would feature it in her books.
Not having deeply investigated the true properties of a Moebius, but remembering making one in school from a strip of paper joined with a half-twist, I rather smugly thought I knew what her “unusual technique” would be. A Moebius strip has only one surface. Run your finger around the length of it and you will trace “outside” and “inside” as one (your finger will wind up where you started and will have passed over the entire surface of the paper – or knitted fabric, as the case may be). As we spoke I recalled my first hat knit in the round, which had to be taken apart after perhaps 12 rows and the realization that that twist in the fabric was not going to go away. This, I was sure, was going to be the “unique” technique – a mistake gone right. However, from Cat’s now-published and marvelous books, A Treasury of Magical Knitting, and A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting, I understand that this is not a “true Moebius,” and Cat’s method truly is a piece of magic – organic, simple, beautiful, and satisfying. I envy the children Cat taught over the years before leaving the teaching profession to give the world her books – how fun math (or any subject) could have been in the hands of such a creative and mentally limber craftswoman!
There had been requests for longer cords before, but Cat became the catalyst. The 30”, 40” and 52” cords that are now available directly from us or in many knitting shops (the preferable option—see our Shop List), were lengths chosen to suit Cat’s projects, but they’re also great for larger garments, shawls, afghans, ponchos, and scarves knit lengthwise. Judging from the numbers of requests for them specifically for Moebius strip use, though, Cat’s projects have truly captivated the minds, hearts, and hands of knitters. We’re thrilled that she’s now not only nationally and internationally known through her books, but is highly coveted as a teacher as well. Cat shimmers with creativity. It flows out of her into everything she does, and each drop, instead of emptying her seems rather to create a little more space to fill with something even greater and more joyful.
Cat is a voracious knitter, and she has come up with many more innovative uses for the Denise kit than we have! The above are a few of the techniques she has devised for the kit, and a link to her wonderful website, full of gifts like this one. Read through her site and you will understand why, in addition to being a marvelous designer and extremely generous with her enthusiasm for our needles, Cat is an inspiration to me for her living every moment in the Now. She has learned what was always there – that when you open yourself to the ocean of Life that is so often unseen, magical things happen: knowledge rises to greet you, unfolding itself in waves of creativity, lovingness, understanding, and fun. Her children’s book, Treasure Forest, lets readers of all ages not only get a glimpse into this way of Living, but experience it firsthand. All of her books, from Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles to A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting are worth a read, not only for the innovative and wonderful projects they contain, but also for the great writing and the generosity of a deep well of creativity and wisdom. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of the well next!