HNW - knitting needle question

Carolyn Kayta Barrows kayta at
Wed Sep 15 13:02:55 PDT 1999

One needle to hold the work and one to work with is for knitting flat
pieces, like sweater parts which will be sewn together later.  Three
needles to hold the work and a fourth to work with is American and English
(maybe some other places also).  Four needles to hold the work and a fifth
to work with is either German or European.

People who knit sox still use many needles - the kind with two points.
People who knit flat things use two - the kind with a point on one end and
a lump on the other (so things don't fall off the end).  

Historical pictures (1800's and earlier) usually show several
double-pointed needles in use, as one can knit all the way around and not
have to sew things together later.  European pictures show 5 needles,
English ones show 4.

>Does anyone know when knitters stopped using four needles and started to use
>two the way we do now? I've been hit with that question in Meridies, and I
>can't answer it. I know four-needle isn't exactly dead because I have a
>five-needle set from Germany. I wonder why people started to use two?
>Answers, anyone?

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