Monday, February 06, 2006

If you're serious about knitting needle size

Shown to the right is a tool called a dial caliper, sized in millimeters, which I use to measure the size of knitting needles. Mitutoyo brand name, model #505-671. I purchased it from in May, 2003 for $89.25 plus shipping. If you Google for Dial Caliper Millimeter, there's plenty of places out there that have them for sale.

I've tried those needle gages that are sized holes and been unsatisfied. There's too much variation in the manufacture of needles and gages for me, particularly around US sizes 3 and 4. I've also got a lot needles from over the years that have had their numbers worn off and I use this to figure out what storage pocket random needles belong in. It's a useful tool for me and I figure I've got enough knitting lifetime yet for it to be amortized over that brings the cost per use down.

To measure the item, put it between the jaws that close shut, and turn the thumb wheel on the far right side of the black plastic to bring the jaws together. Stop turning the wheel when it touches both sides of the needle, being careful not to overtighten. Read whole millimeters across the bar the dial rides on, and the fraction of a millimeter on the dial. The fiddly bits on the top are to measure the inner diameter of a hollow tube.

If the picture shows up well, you can see three marks to the right of the zero on the horizontal bar, and then .5 on the dial, for a measurement of 3.5 mm on a Crystal Palace size 4 doublepoint.

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