I’ve been knitting for a long time– ever since at the age of eight, armed with one red and one white skein of Red Heart Acrylic, I took a knitting class at the local YMCA. Therefore it might not surprise you to know that I own a lot of knitting needles, in all permutations, materials, sizes and state. But it surprised me that not long ago, I did not have the one size I needed– 2.25 mm.
2.25 and 2.75 mm are not commonly stocked in stores in the U.S. My mad dash to one of the local yarn stores saw me bringing home what I thought was 2.25, only it turned out to be 2.5 because I had assumed that the next highest size after 2.0 would be 2.25 and I was, sadly, mistaken.
So began my hunt for 2.25 mm needles. These were to be used to knit ganseys, so they needed to be strong and either a) circular 24″ or 32″ or b) doublepointed, and long. Over the course of a week I had found and ordered:
- Two 2.25 mm 32″ Addi Turbo circulars from a seller on Ebay.
- Two 2.25 mm 32″ Chiao Goo circulars from a seller on Ebay
- Four sets of five 16″ double-pointed steel needles from Frangipani in Great Britain, one of which was 2.25 mm.
- One case of 11 sets, 5 each of 14″ steel double-pointed needles from a Chinese seller on Ebay, one set of which was 2.25 — for $0.99. That’s right– 99 cents.
- Two cases of 14 sets, 5 each, of 16″ steel double-pointed needles from a different Chinese seller on Ebay, one set of which was 2.25 mm — for about $28 for each set.
- As an honorable mention, I enquired at Signature Needles as to whether they could provide 16″ double-points. They replied in the affirmative, but said they would cost about $250.00 per set.
I knew I was taking a gamble on the Chinese needles. I knew that what seemed too good to be true probably was. And I was so right. Both sets of needles from China are utterly useless.
They cannot possibly be steel, and even if you are not telekinetic they will bend if you look at them. The only positive thing I can say is that at least the red “velvet” case will be nice to hold future sets of real steel needles.
The needles from Frangipani were real steel needles. They are sharp, have a nice heft to them and remain straight when stared at. I don’t have a picture here because it would not serve any purpose– they look the same as the Chinese needles, but they are the genuine article! However, I am still awaiting the knitting belt I ordered from the Shetland Islands a few weeks ago, and without that I can’t use them.
The Addi turbos were ho-hum. The annoying thing about them was the cable, which kept kinking up. I know, I know– I should run some hot water over them and they will be tamed, but I do not keep hot water in my knitting spot and do not believe that circular needles should have to be treated in order to behave.
So I eyed the Chiao Goos a bit warily. They have a bend at the end of each tip that I thought would be annoying, but their red cable lay nicely in my lap as I cast on. The needle material is smooth and slick, and the points are nice. I have decided that these are my most favorite needle for knitting at a small gauge. Yes, they are Chinese too, but made with a quality not even comparable to the cheap ones from Ebay. They are the ones that I am using for Cape Cod.
Speaking of Cape Cod, it is like popcorn. I just can’t seem to put it down and it grows very slowly but surely. I am almost to the end of my first skein of Renaissance Poll Dorset, and I am still utterly in love with this yarn.
On the Saturday before Christmas, I decided that since a) I needed new socks and b) I had sock yarn I should c) knit a pair of socks before New Years. Amazingly enough, I did it. I used Cat Bordhi’s book New Pathways for Sock Knitting and the Riverbed architecture and they fit so perfectly that I immediately cast on for another pair.
2012 may turn out to be the year for socks and spinning, for I’ve also got Fortuna out and started her spinning again with a silk/merino blend purchased from The Artful Ewe at Madrona two years ago.