Wednesday, January 14, 2009

point of comparison

Being obsessed with knitting, I am naturally obsessed with knitting needles, maybe even more so than with yarn. Needles have been on my mind since I considered knitting in the round the headwarmers I recently made. Of course I quickly squelched that thought, being quite willing to sew a five inch long seam. But before I dropped the idea, I attempted it with an Addi Turbo 16 inch circular. This post is thus mainly about needle tips.

Now Addis cost a fortune, but are supposed to be the ultimate in needles. The metal surface of the needle is smooth, enabling your knitting to move "faster" according to the ad. Problem is, you can't get the tip of the needle into the stitch, it is that blunt. It's like knitting with bowling pins. I took some photos, which I'll post below, but they didn't come out too well. What you will see is the Addi below and the humble and underrated Boye Needlemaster circ on top, both in size 8/5.0 mm.

This is a little blurry, but I hope you can see that the Boye needle is much sharper and somewhat more tapered than the Addi. By the way, the Boye set, sizes 2 through 15, cost about $30. at Tuesday Morning, about twice the price of ONE Addi needle. But I don't care if the Addi is free; I can't knit with it and I don't want it.

Speaking of expensive needles, during the Christmas festival of spending, I treated myself to a Signature Needle, you know, the glitzy ones reviewed by Clara Parkes in Knitters Review. They cost the earth. But they may be worth it. I bought a size 9/5.50 mm with the bell shaped end, which seemed the simplest and lightest to me. I chose the stiletto point. Here is the point pictured below. (Again, it isn't too clear.) The point is just as sharp as it should be, meaning sharp, but the taper is pretty long. Next time I'll try middy, which has the same sharpness and a shorter taper. And there will be a next time, because these needles rock. The feel wonderful in your hand, come in bright colors, and have the needle size clearly printed on each needle. Susan of Damn, Knit & Blast It got a WHOLE SET for Christmas. But I'll just save up and get one at a time.

Over the years I have acquired and inherited thousands of straight, metal needles. The old fashioned metal needles stamped Hero, Boye, and Bates on the ends cannot be surpassed for sharpness and smoothness. The Signature needles are a reasonable facsimile within the currently produced crop, so I plan to get a pair in every size where I don't have a good pair of the old timers.

Here is one more photo - a Learn to Knit Afghan slip stitch square that I forgot to post earlier. I am now working on the last slip stitch pattern, number 24.

1 comment:

Wool Enough said...

I was relieved to learn that I am not alone in disliking Addi's. I visited a yarn shop on the mainland just yesterday hoping to get a 16" circ, and all they had was Addi's. Boo. And even if I liked them, the price! With sales tax added, it's almost $20 for one little circ. Insane. Knitpicks Harmony for me.