Wednesday, December 12, 2012

For Your Review: The Perfect Circular Needles?

Like a lot of knitters, I have a growing collection of needles. I store many of them in unglamorous (but convenient and cheap!) zip-top bags like this:

These are a few of my size 8 (5.0 mm) needles.
My collection is ever-growing for many reasons. Sometimes I have too many needles wrapped up in one project, but I want to start another. But, sometimes, I just don't  have the right tool for the job at hand, and it drives me nuts until I break down and buy more needles!

There are a lot of circular needles out there, and even Skacel (the company that makes Addi Turbo needles) makes a bunch of different kinds now, like bamboo and tips designed especially for lace knitting, but I'm going to argue that every knitter should at least try Addi Turbo needles once. Like me, you may have a hard time putting up with anything else after that. 

Addi Turbo tips are chrome-plated, so you can knit super-fast, which is great as long as the yarn you're using isn't really slippery (if it is, wood or bamboo is a better option for that project). 

The cord on Addi Turbos is really, really, flexible and joined on well to the tips. In all of my years of knitting, I've never heard of a cord breaking, which is pretty incredible, really. 

The newest version of Addi Turbos have a blue-colored cord, and the size and length of the needle are printed onto the cord. This is convenient for people like me who can never find one of the eight needle gauges I should have in my knitting bag. 

Once you've tried Turbos and love them, I'm going to try to convince you to buy the longest ones you can get your hands on. My new favorite is 40 inches long. 

That's all one needle, kids.
Super-long needles are great for people who use the magic-loop method (there's a video about it here), but I also like them for back-and-forth knitting (if your project is smaller than your needles, you can spread it out and really see what's happening!) and a method I first heard about from Cat Bordhi's book: Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles

Basically, you use TWO circular needles, each one holds half of the stitches in your project, and it allows you to work a real variety of sizes of seamless tubes with just those two needles. 

Two needles, lined up to use for a small circumference.
I really, really love Addi Turbos for this method (the photo above is two sets of older Addi Turbo needles, you can tell because the connecting cord is gold instead of blue). I CAN use other needles for it, but the flexibility of the cord on Turbos helps keep the stitches at the joins from laddering AND don't stab you in the hand as you're coming up to/moving away from the join. Ask me how I know that stabbing can happen with stiff circular needles. 

As well as being great for small circumferences (even all of the way to the top of a hat or mitten), two circular needles is fabulous for LOOOONG projects like a baby blanket knit from the center out - or a Christmas tree skirt - or a shawl - or....

Well, you get the idea. 

Give these fabulous needles a try. You won't be disappointed. 

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