View Full Version : Is This True???

05-30-2007, 09:01 AM
:??http://www.ptleader.com/SiteImages/Article/10138a.jpgPaula Lalish's knitting needle exploded Aug. 1 as she was knitting while being driven to Marrowstone Island from Port Angeles. � Photo by Reuben Lalish
Paula Lalish, a longtime Marrowstone Island resident returning home from Port Angeles on Aug. 1 in her Ford Aerostar, was quietly knitting a sweater alongside her husband, Greg, as he drove. Suddenly, a sound as loud as a gunshot rang out inside the car.

At first Paula and Greg thought they had been shot at by a sniper, a knee-jerk response �simply because we could find no other instantaneous way to relate to the combination of deafening report and physical injury,� Paula said.

Then they thought they�d been hit by a stray elk-hunter�s bullet. But it's not hunting season.

Other people have since proposed that it was terrorists or �space aliens� who were responsible for the explosion that made Paula and Greg�s ears ring alarmingly for hours afterward.

But it was weirder than either terrorists, snipers or elk hunters on the loose. Paula�s knitting needle had exploded.

Most of the time, when Greg drives, Paula knits; she�s been knitting during car trips for 35 years. �I knit fast,� she said. So, as usual, she was working fast, her fingers flying as the car sped down the highway. This time she was working with a skein of undyed wool on a big fat number 13 circular needle, the kind with a metal point on each end connected by a plastic cable.

After the explosion, Paula and Greg watched the end of her left index finger turn blue and begin to swell. Both Paula and Greg are emergency responders for the Marrowstone Volunteer Fire Department, part of Fire District 1. �We knew my finger had tissue trauma and needed to be iced and elevated immediately," said Paula.

Just outside of Sequim�s Costco when the explosion occurred, they swerved in for ice. Paula is a harpist, and �my hands are awfully important to me,� she said. Greg and Paula, her finger iced and pointed skyward, searched their car.

No shrapnel had flown, but as they looked for an explanation, Paula discovered that one of her knitting needles was badly misshapen and the metal peeled back. It appeared that what flew out of the needle with such an explosive noise was air under pressure. On closer inspection there appeared to be a white-gray powder inside the needle, presumably a byproduct of the manufacturing process.

As soon as they returned home, Paula said, �I rummaged for a bottle and had a couple of stiff shots and went to bed for an hour.

�It wasn�t funny for a whole day, and then we started joking around."

There were no marks identifying the needle's brand. Paula thinks she might have purchased it in a thrift store.

Paula got on the Internet and called up knitters' chat rooms, posting a photograph of the damaged needle and asking knitters to help her identify the needle, asking if any knitters had a similar experience and if they might know the cause of the explosion.

Meanwhile she was looking at her other metal knitting needles as if they were bombs ready to detonate. She also replaced her exploded needle with a number 13 all-plastic version.

News travels fast on the World Wide Web, far faster than Paula can knit a scarf. Among the more interesting replies was one from the British manufacturer of a knitting needle similar to Paula�s who denied that his company was the maker of the exploding needle. And then there were these two comments:

�The cause of your exploding knitting needle was probably a buildup of static electricity resulting from friction of two diverse materials, i.e., plastic and aluminum, exacerbated by the generation of yet more static by the vehicle (the cause of most travel sickness and the reason why many vehicles have an earth strip connecting the rear of the vehicle with the ground). This explanation comes from a former quality control engineer, toolmaker and steel worker, Sheffield, England."

And this:

�My name is Monika and I post as 'mokey' on www.knittersreview.com, where I found the following link, containing your name: http://www.surfshopcomputers.net/temporary/exploded_knitting_needle.

"This has now started some speculation as to whether or not this is an urban legend: http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19010. Could you please confirm if this really did happen to you? Many knitters want to know. Monika�

�I have a sinking feeling I�m going to end up in the National Enquirer,� groaned a droll Paula, �After all these years of community service, what I�ll be famous for is my exploding knitting needle.�

(Jan Halliday is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous magazines. She's also the author of "Native Peoples of the Northwest: A Travelers Guide to Land, Art and Culture" and other travel guides. See "Jan's Diary" at www.ptleader.com.)

05-30-2007, 09:35 AM
Wow! if it is true. No comment on authenticity at all, but honestly if it were true it would be one in, what, 300 million? It would be like avoiding golfing because I could be hit by lightning. A 1 in 300 million chance of, um, needing a stiff drink and having a nap!! Where do I sign up!! Oh wait, I do that most days anyway (the drinking not the napping)

05-30-2007, 09:58 AM
really?? :oo: OMG!!:shifty:

05-30-2007, 03:30 PM
Hmmm. I'm not sure if I believe that or not. It sounds kinda far fetched, if you ask me. But if it is true, WOW!!!

05-30-2007, 03:31 PM
I tried to check snopes.com but there was nothing about it.:shrug:

05-30-2007, 03:54 PM
Oh my gosh. Size 13 too!!!!:pout: You know, this has happened to someone else in the past year or so. I can't remember who. Um, it wasn't Amy was it!???
I remember reading about this happening to a woman while in the car..... yup. That's enough to make you want to knit with wood or bamboo when in the car!

05-30-2007, 03:55 PM
Ah, August 1, I just noticed that date. Maybe the same story?

05-30-2007, 04:38 PM
:hmm: I wonder if that's really possible. I does seem pretty far-fetched.

05-30-2007, 06:05 PM
Seems fishy to me. Don't those needles look pretty small for a size 13, compared to the quarter?

05-30-2007, 06:13 PM
This has come up before on knitting lists and as far as I can tell there is only one case that happened to one woman. All the stories go back to the same source. I don't think it has ever been substantially determined whether or not it is a hoax but even if it did actually happen it seems to have been an extremely rare occurance and no one was seriously injured. Personally, I'm skeptical.

05-30-2007, 07:23 PM
I dunno, I'm no forensic expert at all, but I'm not sure that needle looks like it exploded. Having been shot through maybe, but exploded? It looks way more like external damage than something that started inside the needle and exploded out.

And static electricity buildup may make your hair stand on end, but for sure it won't to cause a knitting needle to have this kind of damage! That's absurd! The quoted engineer from Britain had his head up his a...

Static electricity builds up on the outside of any metal. If you're in the car it may build up with the tires rubbing the road but it will stay on the outside of the car (that's why inside a car is a safe place during lightning, it's called a Faraday's cage). You may get a small shock if you get out and touch the outside of the car, but inside you're totally safe.
So, even if there was static electricity on the outside of these knitting needles it would have stayed on the outside and would never have been enough to cause this kind of damage.

I say it's a HUGE hoax.
You're all safe knitting in the car - at least from your knitting needles exploding.

05-30-2007, 07:33 PM
I've driven all the way from South Seattle to Port Angeles, and never even had enough static charge build up for me to zap myself opening the car door. I highly doubt my knitting needles would ever explode on the way. Besides, wouldn't they just zap her instead of blowing up?

I'm calling it a hoax, but I would love to see MythBusters give this one a try! :cheering: Maybe if there was water sealed into the needle, the pressure build up and forced a vent. That I could see happening... once every million blue moons.

05-30-2007, 07:42 PM
My opinion is I think it's hooey. I thought it would be a good one for mythbusters. Just think of the exrtremes they'd have to go to to make it work? I checked their site to see if anyone suggested it and several have so maybe one day they'll try it!:shrug:

05-30-2007, 09:06 PM
My first thought when I looked at the picture was that it looked like a botched attempt at doing a good photoshop of something. The explody bit looks alright, but the 'close' side of the needle just screams 'I'VE BEEN PHOTOSHOPED!' to me.

The story itself seems far fetched too... But anything is possible. Not going to make me switch over to non-metals though. (plus, come on, size 13s are too big!)

05-31-2007, 07:51 AM
After reading the post and everyone's also, I went and looked at the picture again. To me anyway it looks like it was cut and then bent to give it that look. Maybe I am wrong but it just doesn't look natural. I am using a size 13 right now and it sure a heck of a lot bigger than that picture.

05-31-2007, 09:55 AM
the story has been posted here before and from what I can gather, it is all true (with the exception of the shrapnel).

She posted on the linked thread:

New Pal

5 Posts
http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/icon_posticon.gifPosted - 08/09/2004 : 09:04:44 AM http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/icon_profile.gif (http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/pop_profile.asp?mode=display&id=28898) http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/icon_privatemessage.gif (http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/privatesend.asp?method=Topic&mname=prenate) OK, enough of this rude gossip about me. Forget about Urban Legends, hoaxes, and Photoshopped images. This story involves NONE OF THE ABOVE. I am the party of the first part, the damned needle DID explode in my lap, and as I explained to the woman calling herself Mokey, the only thing my son got wrong when he posted the photo was the bit about schrapnel. Far as I can tell, all the metal that was in the needle end is still there, if BADLY misshapen. What flew out was compressed air and bits of the residue from inside the needle -- more dust than anything else.

Nonetheless, it's true that the pressure of the explosion was sufficient to cause my finger to swell painfully -- I'm an EMT, and we knew to stop immediately for ice. It took a full 24 hours, even so, for full sensation to return -- felt like, joke if you must, pins and needles. And movement was limited till the swelling subsided.

The blast also frayed the yarn. And my husband & I both had ringing in our ears for an hour afterwards.

The needle is not an Addi -- the American distributor says: (1. they have never used white plastic for connecting cables, and (2. their needle points are nickel-plated brass (this one is aluminum). Still searching for answers. Jokes about terrorists and space aliens are wearing thin; if anybody out there actually knows some science, I'd like to hear about it.

Yes, it's a weird story, but weird things really do happen, to which I bear personal if reluctant witness. Now quit saying nasty things about me, please. I am not a liar, and if I WANTED to make up an absurd story to yank people's chains, frankly I don't think in a hundred years it would occur to me to fabricate a tale like this one.


Taken from Knitters review forum http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=19010&whichpage=3

05-31-2007, 09:57 AM
Also she posted later in the thread to say:

prenate (http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/pop_profile.asp?mode=display&id=28898)
New Pal

5 Posts
http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/icon_posticon.gifPosted - 08/09/2004 : 10:09:38 AM http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/icon_profile.gif (http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/pop_profile.asp?mode=display&id=28898) http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/icon_privatemessage.gif (http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/privatesend.asp?method=Topic&mname=prenate) prenate here a third time, humbly apologizing for repeating myself. I'm new to chatrooms (only since this happened, in search of information) and thought my first posting had failed to go through. with the time I spent saying everything twice, I could have balanced the checkbook and even washed the dishes...

In response to scientific q's: we were driving on a warm, not hot, day, I'd estimate ambient temp inside van at 72 - 75 degrees F., at near enough to sea level. (The night before we had camped in the hills, don't know elevation but my ears usually pop at 2500 feet and they didn't on this occasion, so elevation differential was not diagnostically significant, I'm thinking.) We drove with both side windows open 3 - 4 inches. I felt NO INCREASED HEAT prior to the explosion. First sign was the deafening report; first symptom, my finger swelling and discoloring (and hurting). Only after we pulled over to see if we were alive or dead did I look down and notice the needle. Yes, I too was interested to observe that that tip of the needle bent in the direction of the blast. don't have enough science to know what it means though.

I've still got the needle (scared of the other end, though) in case anyone has a suggestion for further analysis.


05-31-2007, 09:59 AM

Also a link to a local paper with the story

05-31-2007, 11:10 AM
I'm calling it a hoax, but I would love to see MythBusters give this one a try! :cheering:

I went to thier website when this was posted before. They said it was not something they would do. Not good enuf for them or something.

05-31-2007, 12:02 PM
How can she know what came out of the "explosion" if they didn't see it. They claim they looked around for a bullet and all that, but then she claims she saw stuff coming out of her needle? And how does she explain the size 13 needle size not being anyone else's size 13? I can believe in electric shock, but honestly, this whole story seems a little fishy.

05-31-2007, 12:31 PM
hmmm yeah it's weird. Although, it seems size 13UK corresponds to 2.5 mm (size 1US)... would that make more sense?

05-31-2007, 12:35 PM
:zombie: whoa.

misha rf
05-31-2007, 03:23 PM
hmmm yeah it's weird. Although, it seems size 13UK corresponds to 2.5 mm (size 1US)... would that make more sense?

US1 is super skinny. I did haul out my size 13's and a quarter to compare, and they do look close size-wise to the pic (they're straight Bates needles).

And from following the thread on the other forum (where the owner of the exploding needle posted), it seemed someone did get to evaluate the needle & determined it was defective. (If it is a hoax, they went to a rather elaborate length to do it. My opinion, anyway.)