Addi Turbo Lace Needles
These needles are a perfect example of what happens when knitters tell manufacturers what they want, and manufacturers actually listen. Over a four-week period, Skacel received more than 1,000 emails from avid Addi fans requesting that the company offer lace-gauge needles with sharper tips. These needles are a direct result of those emails. They have much more going for them than just sharp tips.
To the Point
But first, the tip. Why all the fuss over a sharper tip anyway? Lace knitting requires a lot of detailed manipulation of stitches—knitting multiple stitches together, passing stitches over one another, knitting through the backs of multiple stitches, etc.—using an extremely fine yarn. A sharp-tipped needle helps you navigate and manipulate your work more easily.
But the tip can't be too sharp or it becomes potentially dangerous to both your yarn and your hands. So the goal was to create a pair of needles with sharp enough tips to do the job without requiring that you cover all your fingertips with band-aids to keep from getting blisters.
I knit a sizeable lace swatch trying all sorts of knitting techniques that introduce more contact between finger and needle tip, and I didn't experience any irritation at all. I'd say they got the sharpness just right here. They're a wee bit less sharp than the same gauge of Knit Picks circulars.
The Gold Standard
These needles are made from hollow brass. While the standard Addi Turbo needles have a nickel plating, these needles are coated with a fine resin to seal the brass and provide an extremely discreet hint of drag to the needle surface. This helps you keep control over all those fine lace stitches.
I had some concerns that the coating would easily be scratched by a rough stitch marker (we often use stitch markers in lace knitting), so I placed several different markers in my swatches and tried to be as fearless as possible in manipulating them. The resin seal on the needles remained intact. (Skacel provides a lifetime warranty against any defects; keep the original packaging and you won't need to worry.)
A Warm Reception
These needles have a lighter and much warmer feel than their nickel-plated counterparts. They quickly warmed up to my hands and felt very comfortable. I think the coating also dulls the usual "clang" noise that metal needles make. Instead they made a much softer, more muted "tink" sound when the tips touched.
The pinkish-red transparent nylon cord is thinner and more supple than the standard Addi Turbo cord, while not quite as skinny as the Knit Picks circulars. The join is perfectly smooth and well-tapered, allowing my stitches to pass back and forth without problems.
But my favorite thing about these needles is on the cord. I've seen circulars with sizing printed on the needle or even engraved into the needle. And I've seen circulars with no sizing marked anywhere. In both cases you still have to leaf through loose needles and tangled cords to find the right size.
But these needles actually list the manufacturer, country of origin, needle size in US and metric, and cable length in inches and cm, right there on the cord! This makes keeping track of your circular needles easier than ever. Just check the cord and untangle only the one you need. The text is permanently imprinted in the cord—I couldn't get it to rub off, no matter how hard I scraped.
Freedom of Choice
Knitters are very particular about their needles. Remember, 1,000 of them emailed Addi asking for needles with a sharper tip! I'm delighted to see our feedback so directly impact the development of a product. And if the demand is there, they will add additional needle sizes and cord lengths.
But here's the even cooler part: Did you know that Addi will make custom-length circulars for you? The cost is twice the cost of a standard pair, and you'll have to wait about six weeks. But imagine having your very own pair of size 1 circulars with a 10-foot cord. Strangely tempting, isn't it?
Addi (distributed in U.S. by Skacel Knitting)
Hollow brass with resin coating and nylon cord
Cord lengths: 24, 32, 47 inches
US: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
$13.50 for US 1-2, $15.95 for US 3-6