April 12, 2011
Back in February at the Anne Hanson Sweater Fitness workshop, I met a woman who was showing off the beautiful interchangeable needle set she had just bought. Those needles were the Darn Pretty™ Interchangables from DyakCraft in Vermont, and they sure were darn pretty! A few weekends ago on a trip into Vermont, I got the opportunity to catch up with Tom and Linda of DyakCraft, and learn more about these beautiful needles that are becoming wildly popular among knitters, and also place my own order.
The interchangeable needles, just like the straight needles, DPN’s, crochet hooks, spindles, and shawl pins that DyakCraft manufactures are made from Dymondwood. Dymondwood is an engineered wood composite where hardwood veneers are dyed, layered, injected with a resin compound, and compressed to form a product that is incredibly strong, durable and moisture resistant. It can be cut to expose the colored layers many different ways, including across the grains, without compromising the structural integrity of the wood.
Tom’s foray into the beautiful woodturning that he does started out with drop spindles that he made for a spinning class that Linda was teaching. Linda is an incredibly talented fiber artist. She’s a spinner and knitter, and has been weaving since she was four years old. Tom also calls her the “Jackson Pollack of felting” and several of her amazing felted wall hangings adorn the walls of their home.
The six spindle prototypes that Tom made spun very well and Linda sold all of them. Then Linda asked him to make more spindles, and Tom decided to try out the lathe that he had actually bought for her about a year before and which hadn’t been used yet. Tom says he fell in love with the lathe and turning wood that day. He started making crochet hooks which became very popular and soon one thing led to another.
Tom started working with the Dymondwood in 2003 and says the needle colors are all based on fiber colors that Linda has produced over the years. The interchangeable needles were a natural progression from the fixed circular needles they had already been making and it wasn’t long before the orders starting coming in fast.
Tom and Linda have temporarily suspended production of fiber, spindles, hooks, and other items, and have added staff to focus on bringing up the production of the interchangeable sets to meet the increasing demand. Orders placed now have about a three to four week lead time, but these quality handmade needles are worth the wait.
Yes, handmade, and right here in the USA too! The needles are all turned and shaped, sanded and polished, screws set, and finish applied all by hand. Tom then checks each and every needle to make sure there’s no ridge where the connectors join.
He says he didn’t start out as a woodworker, but he is now and he sure loves what he’s doing and it satisfies his creative side. It also perfectly complements the fiber business that Linda has been doing for years.
A very big thank you to Tom and Linda of DyakCraft for taking the time to meet with me and show me all of the wonderful things you’re doing. I’m really looking forward to getting my needles!
To place an order for your own Darn Pretty™ interchangable needles, you can visit the DyakCraft webiste. There are different size and color options to choose from as well as extra cables and stops available too.