Archive for the ‘Tool Time’ Category

Tool Time – Interchangeable Needles

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

As a follow-up to last weeks Tool Time post, I think we ought to discuss needles, specifically interchangeable needles. Since we have so many people buying kits at the store, and with the holidays fast approaching, it is the opportune time to have a little show and tell.

As most of us have a kit of some sort ourselves (or two, or I think the record holder has 5…), we have all agonized over the options, egged each other on (You want *that* kit? Why bother when you have *this* much nicer, more expensive kit…) and in general done far too much research for our own good.

First off, the basics. We carry two brands of interchangeable kits, Addi and Knitter’s Pride. Each of these brands make a few different kits. From Addi, we have the entire line: Basic, Lace, Bamboo, and the newest, Long Lace. From Knitter’s Pride we have the Trendz, Dreamz, Rose Symfonie, and the new Limited Edition Dreamz collections.

Both brands are interchangeable within all their products. That is to say that your Addi Lace cables will work with your Addi Bamboo needles, and your Knitter’s Pride Trendz cables will work with your Rose Symfonie needles. This means that you can mix, and expand your kit(s) with as many supplemental needles and cables as you like!

While more basic than the Addis, the Knitter’s Pride offer fantastic value – about half the price. The steeper price tag of the Addi Click needles does come with the benefit of a more secure click system, a smoother join, and maybe best of all, a lifetime guarantee. If any part of the Addi Click system is defective or malfunctions, you can bring it to any Addi retailer and have it replaced.

You can find the particulars and photos below – Click on the name of each kit below to head over to our store. We also have all the extra needles, cables and accessories for each set! Obviously there’s so much more I could say about these needles, so if you have any questions, come and ask us in store!

Knitter's Pride Trendz

Knitter’s Pride Trendz – Acrylic

The most affordable of the lot, this kit is full of colourful acrylic needles in the most common sizes. Great for the knit-happy kid in your life, it’s also an option for people who find metal or hardwood needles hard on their hands. The Knitter’s Pride interchangeable mechanism is a threaded fitting at the end of the cable and needle, and includes a locking key to keep everything snug.

8 tips: 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 8.0

4 cables: 24″, 32″, 40″, 47″

8 end caps

4 cord keys

Knitter's Pride Dreamz DeluxeKnitter’s Pride Dreamz Deluxe - Laminated Birch

This kit is full of great features. We were all blown away with the quality of the Dreamz series needles (both fixed and interchangeable) – a smooth, non-snaggy finish, moderately sharp points, smooth joins, supple cables, and lightweight construction all make these a delight to knit with (and the sizes are coour-coded) . The threaded interchangeable mechanism is simple, but works quite nicely. The one drawback is the carrying case is vinyl and quite basic.

9 tips: 3.5, 3.75, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 8.0

4 cords: 24″, 2 x 32″, 40″

8 end caps

4 cord keys

1 set of size markers

Knitter's Pride Dreamz Limited EditionKnitter’s Pride Dreamz Limited Edition - Laminated Birch

The same high-quality needles as the Dreamz Deluxe kit, packaged in a lovely storage case, and coming with a set of stitch markers. Only 1500 sets were produced, and each one comes with a certificate of authenticity. Slightly more expensive than the Dreamz Deluxe, but the storage case will last much longer (and looks great, too).

9 tips: 3.5, 3.75, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 8.0

4 cords: 24″, 2 x 32″, 40″

8 end caps

4 cord keys

1 set of Zoonie stitch markers

1 Limited Edition storage case

Knitter's Pride Symfonie RoseKnitter’s Pride Symfonie RoseRose Laminated Birch

The same great features of the Dreamz Deluxe kit, but instead of the colourful  finishes, the Symfonie needles have a warm Rose lamination that gives a good hard finish. With copper fittings, a matching storage box and a Swarovski crystal studded shawl pin, this is truly an elegant collection of needles.

8 tips: 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 8.0

4 cords: 24″, 2 x 32″, 40″

8 end caps

4 cord keys

1 set of size markers

1 cord case

1 Rose storage case

Addi Click BasicAddi Click BasicNickel Plated Brass

The mirror finish nickel plating on the needles explains why these are branded as ‘Addi Turbos’. These needles use an ingenious spring-loaded interchangeable system that ensures your needle never comes off and your yarn never catches in the join. These needles have the same blunt tip as the fixed circular Addi Turbos. One of the most popular kits we carry, you can make 30 different needle combinations – and that’s without picking up more needles or cables.

10 tips: 3.5, 3.75, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 8.0, 9.0, 10

3 cords: 24″, 32″, 40″

1 connector

Addi Click Lace (original)Addi Click Lace (original) – Nickel Plated Brass

If you love the Addi Turbos, but find them too blunt, or love the Addi Lace but find the brass tips too grippy, this kit gives you the sharp points of the lace needles, with the nickel plating of the Turbos. These needles are about half the length of the other interchangeables we carry, and is the only kit to include a 16″ cable (for hats, sleeves, or other small-diameter knitting). Great for doing small circular projects, but potentially less appealing to those with larger hands or those who prefer a long needle body.

8 tips: 3.5, 3.75, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 8.0

5 cords: 16″, 20″, 24″, 32″, 40″

1 connector

Addi Click Long LaceAddi Click Long LaceNickel Plated Brass

All the features of the original Lace needles, but with full-length tips! Since being launched this Spring, we have been selling these kits like hotcakes. They combine the lace tips, nickel plating and full-sized needles into the most versatile interchangeable kit we’ve seen yet. As a nifty bonus, they have included perforated lifeline cables that let you work in a lifeline with ease (seriously, I was skeptical, but it’s an absolutely genius system).

8 tips: 3.5, 3.75, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 8.0

3 lifeline cords: 24″, 32″, 40″

1 connector

Addi Click BambooAddi Click BambooBamboo

The Bamboo kit brings the smooth functioning of the Addi Click system to knitters who favour wood or bamboo needles. A blunter tip may make lace or cables a bit more challenging, but if you find metal needles too harsh, there’s no way to go wrong.

8 tips: 3.5, 3.75, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 8.0

3 cords: 24″, 32″, 40″

1 connector

Tool Time

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Today, dear knitters, let’s talk tools. Specifically, your go-to, never-be-without knitting tools. When you sit yourself down and pick up your project (surely, one of many on the go), what is in your trusty knitting bag that is next to you? Well, today I will give you a look into my personal tool chest, in no particular order.


First off, the bag itself. A truly fantastic and thoughtful gift, this vintage doctor’s travel bag is now the headquarters of my home knitting. Rigid, of a good size, and boasting a large opening (almost maw-like in it’s gape). Some internal pockets help keep things in order (though a few more would be nice).


Now, I don’t really have a proper travel bag at the moment. I typically stuff any portable necessities into the individual project bag, of which I have several. A mustachioed Slipped Stitch design bag, a Pretty Cheap Blue Sky Alpacas bag, and my favourites, a few custom-sewn bags from a good friend.


Needles. I have a lot of single needles: circular, straight, double pointed, but since picking up a set of Addi Click, they are the only ones that actually stay in my bag. I use the new Long Lace Tip set, and they are fantastic (we have a whole post about interchangeable needles lined up, so I won’t say more for now).


A crochet hook. I don’t crochet. Well, I can crochet enough to clumsily produce a provisional cast on, but that is it. A hook is good for more than crocheting, though. Picking up dropped stitches, back scratching, snagging ends of yarn, working a steek reinforcement, the uses of a good hook are endless.

Stitch markers. When it comes to stitch markers, I often use whatever is to hand – scraps of yarn, paper clips, or in the rarest of cases, actual stitch markers. We are knitters, we are resourceful! I saw someone come in the other day who was using a diamond ring as a stitch marker – talk about knitting dedication!


Ruler and measuring tape. Checking gauge, measuring progress, garments, body measurements – a measuring tool is really, really essential because it’s not something that you can easily eyeball. I like to have a clear ruler for gauge, and a flexible tape for bigger, less straight things. One caveat, however, cloth and plastic measuring tapes will stretch with use and time, and should be replaced periodically.


Smooth waste yarn. For holding stitches that don’t lay in a straight line, or just lots of stitches, working provisional cast ons, marking fabric, some spare yarn will always come in handy. Fine mercerized cotton or crochet cotton is best as it won’t felt/stick to your work and can be easily pulled out when it has served its purpose.

Pins. Straight pins, T-pins, wooden marking pins, safety pins all have a multitude of uses. You should never be without a tinful.


Stitch holders. I typically use waste yarn in place of stitch holders,  but they can be useful nonetheless.

Graph paper notebook. I keep graph paper on hand at all times. I don’t usually keep a line or unlined notebook, just every-purpose graph paper for notes, counting, sketching ideas, graphing, anything and everything.

A Pencil. I keep a jar of pens and pencils of all sorts close to hand at all times, but if I had to choose one, it would be a mechanical pencil – can be erased for corrections, and makes a satisfying clickety noise.

Scissors. Short, sharp scissors. Little to no need for big quilting shears, a small, finely-pointed set of snips will serve you well and reduce the risk of collateral cuts when trimming yarn ends or cutting open a steek.


Finally, darning needles. Large, small, blunt, sharp, they are all useful for different tasks. I cannot for the life of me keep track of mine, and I must end up buying a new set every few projects. I think that one day I will find a stash of about five hundred needles in a corner somewhere. For now, I will keep accumulating them.


So, what have I missed? What absolute essentials are in your knitting bag?