Wednesday, March 08, 2006

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  • A Swinger of Birches

    I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
    And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
    Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
    But dipped its top and set me down again.
    That would be good both going and coming back.
    One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
    -Robert Frost, "Birches"

    I have a book of Robert Frost's poems illustrated by black and white photographs of New England - a beautiful book, the kind that it almost doesn't matter what's inside because it is so beautiful by itself it can stand alone, be it's own justification.

    That's how I feel about my Brittany Birch knitting needles. The smooth, hard wood, the lovely turned points and the size carved in, both US and metric. Ideal for wool or cotton, they may not be as fast as my Addis, but the pleasure they add to the knitting more than makes up for it. With my Brittany's, I come as close as I ever close to that Zen-like, relaxed, one-with-the-knitting state other people seem to acheive so effortlessly. I use the 10" straights for sweaters, scarves, and anything else that size I'm knitting flat. I use the dpns for nearly all of my socks.

    Maybe it's because I use them so much, maybe it's because wood is not as strong as metal, but sometimes I break a needle or damage a tip. It happened on my Lantern Moon needles, once I pulled the cord out of the needle on a set of bamboo circulars while in the White Mountains for a ski trip - miles and miles from the nearest yarn store - and I've even damaged my Addis by getting them caught in the car door and bending the metal. But when I damage my Brittany Birches (normal use only, not in car door incidents), I email the company and they send me replacements. Over the years, it's mostly been a couple of dpns here are there - US1s and 2s - but recently they sent me a whole new pair of US 5 10" straights after I wrote telling them about the chips in the wood in the points and how it was snagging my yarn. A whole clean new pair to replace the damaged pair. When they say guaranteed, they mean guaranteed.

    What a great company. What great needles. Doesn't that make you happy?

    14 Comments:

    Blogger Chris said...

    :) That's exceptional customer service.

    3/08/2006 6:24 AM  
    Blogger christine said...

    I love them, too, but cannot use 1's and 2's for socks........way too much breakage. I'd be mailing every week!

    3/08/2006 6:50 AM  
    Anonymous Wonderland Knitter said...

    I love it when a company actually stands behind their products! Makes you want to refer them and do business with them over and over (and I bet they have bigger needles than piano wire - lol)!

    3/08/2006 7:25 AM  
    Anonymous Kat said...

    I should start buying Brittany needles. They will be well worth the money in the long run.

    3/08/2006 7:38 AM  
    Anonymous Rachel said...

    I have one pair of Brittnay DPNs, and I love them. I would buy more, but the LYS always seems to be out of whatever size I need. Maybe I will make a point of stocking up on them, though, now that I am about to give the world of sock knitting another try. The customer service aspect is great to know about!

    3/08/2006 7:50 AM  
    Blogger Stephanie said...

    I have some Brittany straights and I think one pair of dpns. Hmmm. I have to say that I haven't thought about them in awhile. Interesting. I guess I need to revisit them as wonderful tools with fabulous customer service. Thanks for the reminder.

    3/08/2006 10:25 AM  
    Blogger Annie said...

    I'm using some Brittany dpns on my latest sock- and it is as you describe, zen-like knitting. I love them!

    What a wonderful post. I love the poem!

    3/08/2006 11:33 AM  
    Anonymous Leah said...

    I'll have to email them. I have a pair of size 0 dp's and snapped one of them in half knitting a sock. I didn't know they would send me a new one. Thanks for the info.

    3/08/2006 11:58 AM  
    Blogger Marina said...

    I love them but wish they would make circulars and sell direct.

    3/08/2006 12:44 PM  
    Blogger Carrie said...

    I have also experienced their wonderful customer service, I use Brittany DPN & straight needles exclusively. Love them!!

    3/08/2006 3:10 PM  
    Anonymous diana said...

    that makes me extremely happy. I love good customer service.

    3/09/2006 4:40 AM  
    Blogger amanda said...

    I love my Brittanys! They are the only dpns I kept after test driving the other brands. The wood feels good and the 5" length is poi-fect for me. And how can you not support a company with such excellent customer service?

    3/09/2006 6:43 AM  
    Blogger chele said...

    Hi! I enjoy reading up on your knitting blog! And I can't resist but share that I also love wooden needles.. my husband started Gracie & Co- we'd be glad to send you a ROAK sample package- just email me your address and specify your favorite size. Have a great week!

    3/09/2006 10:45 AM  
    Blogger Kristen said...

    The "Birches" poem is one of my all time favorites - and the book you speak of (with the beautiful pictures) is one that my parents have on a prominent bookshelf.

    (I've yet to invest in Brittany Birch needles because I worry about how they'd stand up; this post has me re-thinking them.)

    I hope your days in the ED have been fun and full of exciting cases. If it looks like you have a day or two free on a weekend at some point, perhaps I'll head down. I'd love to sit and chat and hear more about what rotations you've done...

    3/11/2006 12:09 PM  

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