Déjà vu

Does this look familiar?


I’m having such déjà vu – the googlie mooglies are back!

The condition of my left hand can only be described as paralyzed, pained, stiff, and tired. My jaw is aching from all the clenching as I try to accomplish the most ridiculous needle acrobatics ever.

Oh my God, the Japanese must have muscles and bones of steel, and really sharp metal needles to be able to do this and maintain sanity!!! And look at me, all proud of myself, prancing around with my pretty pink yarn – the joke’s on me – it is so thin, so pale, that it might as well be invisible!

You know the worst part? I’m still learning the pattern and the way the stitches flow from one row to the next, so that I can easily spot mistakes. Well, that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that I’m learning on rows which are 500+ stitches long, and on a pattern repeat which is 48 stitches wide, 68 rows high, patterned on both right- and wrong-side rows. A more complicated teaching tool has never existed! My fear of making a mistake and having to tink is at an all-time high. Like, dear Easter Bunny, I will buy the chocolate, please don’t make me tink 1000 stitches!

Fortunately, I haven’t had to tink, but that’s only because I make each and ever stitch with baited breath. One little stitch, two knit together, gulp, three more little stitches, check the chart, count again, don’t drop the yarnover, grasp those suckers on the left needle like your life depends on it, no tinking, one more little stitch. Deep breath, but not too long or you’ll forget what you were working on.

Since I’m in a mood of one kind or another tonight, allow me to officially proclaim these INOX circs as too blunt. Not as bad as Addi Stumpos (nothing compares to an Addi, in more ways than one), but BAD. Unfortunately, this is the best I can do (I find wood/bamboo way too slow, many of the other needles don’t come in US 2 and smaller sizes, and those which do, usually have atrocious cords). Curiously, the INOX dpns are so much more sharp – what gives?

Left-to-right: metal dowel masquerading as a knitting needle (it’s probably fooling you, too – the reflection makes it seem way more sharp than it actually is), INOX circ, INOX dpn.

And while we’re at it, let me throw this interesting fact out there: INOX makes circular needles and 8″ double-pointed needles in the following (relevant) diameters: 2.25 mm, 2.75 mm, and 3.25 mm. What about the 6″ long INOX double-pointed needles? Well, they come in 2.00 mm, 2.50 mm, 3.00 mm, and 3.50 mm diameters. WHY, INOX, why?!? Why this crazy inconsistency? I don’t even care what US needle numbers you assign to these, that’s not what this rant is about, I just want to be able to knit my shawl border using one of the tiny 6″ needles, yet they don’t come in the same sizes as the circulars!

Oh, oh! Okay, I promise this is the last thing – this pattern is very interesting in that the decreases are not symmetric. So, the googlie mooglies up there? Not a single left-leaning decrease in there! All k2togs and p2togs! I find this incredibly strange (and noticeable).

I’ve now completed 12 rows out of 249 – God help me. Yes, I’m invoking higher powers (and if you know me in real life, you may now giggle).


50 thoughts on “Déjà vu

  1. Judy

    That’s weird. You must have gotten a defective Inox circ or something. I have some Inox 2’s that are so sharp I’m in danger of stabbing myself if I don’t watch what I’m doing.

  2. Caitlin

    I don’t understand why there would be such an obvious difference between the dpn and the circular from the same company. That just looks weird to me. But great progress all the same!

  3. Thorny

    I could be wrong, but I swear I heard a rumor that Inox and Susan Bates Quicksilver needles are essentially the same. And I have a pair of US1 Susan Bates Quicksilver circs that, like Judy, are so sharp that I can’t actually knit with them for long on say, cotton-y socks, because I start to bore a little hole in my finger. They’re like, dangerously sharp. Defending-your-home-against-intruders sharp.

    I’m kinda wondering then if Judy is right, and you got a defective set. Which, btw? Totally rude!

  4. Kilsharion

    I feel your pain and applaud your productivity and tenancity!! I’ve found that the points of Inox circulars varies greatly. Even on the same set. I am working with gossamer on Inox size 0, right now, and one point is perfect while the other one is quite dull. It makes for…interesting…times. It took three purchases (I had to order them via the web as none of the LYS here had what I needed) to get even this. Maybe the fourth time would have given me nice, sharp points on both sides? I’ve never seen such variance within on product as there are in the tips of Inox.

  5. Lindsey

    Have you seen the Bryspun circulars? They’ve got a wonderful concave point just right for knitting lace. The cable is soft and really flexible. The owner of my LYS introduced me to them and now I’ve got them in sizes 1 – 8.

  6. freecia

    But ohhh, they do make those 6″ mm sizes in circs for sale in Canada. They’re marketed under the Bernat Aero Brand and you can get a 2.5mm circ here


    Now, I think they’re about as pointy as the Inox you already own because they’re essentially the same thing (I compared the Bernat Aero to a Prym Inox in the same size). So, maybe the enjoyable pointyness of the 6″ dpns aren’t carrying through to the Inox Gray. How about the silver coated Inox Express line? They’re plated like the Addi’s, but maybe have the sharper tip?

    I think it’d be great if needle manufacturers dyed the cord a rather fluorescent color to help lace work and fine yarns contrast with the cord. Tint it just enough like a highlighter, so I could still see through the cord.

  7. Agnes

    I am in search of good pointy needles for lace knitting too! The Susan Bates I am using is the best I can find so far … except the fact that the cord is a bitch to work with sometimes, so far I am happy with it.

  8. June

    I don’t know if your Inox circs are like this, but my Inox circs have different points. One end is distinctly pointier than the other, so I’m careful to make sure I have the correct orientation when I do fussy knitting.

  9. betty

    I knit the Lotus Blossom Shawl and the chart didn’t have symmetric decreases also. My engineering mind couldn’t stand it, so I changed them to make them symmetric. Much more happy now. 🙂

  10. chris

    Wow! You are a brave, brave knitter – and I’m sure you’ll do a stellar job on this shawl – just remember – there aren’t any knitting police to haul you in to knitting jail if you make a mistake – but I’m a tinker, ripper, frogger myself, so I know what you’re going through!! May all that is good, and right in knitting, shine down on you and that shawl!!!

  11. LaurieM

    How can wood or bamboo slow you down any further? You’re already proceeding at such a cautious speed. If they’re pointier they might speed you up and you wouldn’t have to worry about loosing your yarnovers because the wood would help to hang onto them. Just sayin’ reconsider, is all.

    Also, put in a lifeline. Then maybe then you can unclench your jaw.

  12. Carolyn

    I noticed this problem with Inox needles too – the pointiness of the tips seems to vary tremendously from one needle to another, even within the same circ! I find myself searching through the needles at my LYS to find the sharpest pair. I don’t know what they’re doing at the Inox factory these days, but it’s enough to drive a girl insane. Good luck!

  13. YarnThrower


    Might be a pain to put in, but a lot less pain than dropping ‘a stitch’ which ends up quickly unravelling several rows of yarn overs and P2togs.

    I know this from experience 🙁 A lifeline doesn’t mean you’re weak, and in my case, keeps me sane.)

  14. naomi

    Huh. I’d noticed that my shorter inox 2s are pointier than the longer ones, but maybe it’s just the variability that several other people have mentioned.

  15. may

    I can’t remember where I saw it, but someone had blogged about sharpening Addi Turbos in a machine shop and said they work well with lace. Maybe you can try that?

  16. Joanna

    See, there’s your problem, you keep picking lace that’s patterned on both sides… obviously you need to pick something boring where every other row is all purl/all knit. 😉 Actually, I think that lace like that is significantly easier, but not because you don’t have to think for half of the rows – it’s because you don’t have to decrease into yarnovers. I’m guessing that’s what your googlie mooglies are? I’ve found the needle tip needs to be super-sharp for these maneuvers, but for “regular” increases and decreases it’s much less critical. I don’t know how that helps on your current project, unfortunately… all I can do is sing the praises of Bryspuns some more. (Especially if Lindsey has a size 1 Bryspun… I must investigate!!)

  17. Nessa Z.

    Have you checked out the straight needles? I’ve gotten 300 stitches in cobweb weight onto a pair of 12″ straights (I think they’re Inox’s), no trouble at all, so a 14″ ought to take your 500. I’ve taken Galina Khmeleva’s classes in Orenburg knitting, and she uses 12″ almost exclusively.

    That might broaden your choice of points…

    Some suggestions for doing this type of work – wait ’til the cat settles down for a nap (preferably on someone else’s lap), get a nice BIG mug of tea, turn the TV to something inoffensive but not too interesting, turn off the phone.

    I don’t use lifelines, but have gotten into the habit of checking the pattern closely after I finish the wrong-side rows. And errors CAN be fixed several rows down by dropping the stitches, when the thought of tinking 300 stitches is unbearable enough to overcome the dread of screwing up your repair attempts. I see it as an exercise in confidence-building. Then sometimes I just tink.

    Enjoy reading your blog!

    Nessa Z.

  18. Stephanie

    I was giggling before I even got to the permission part. What gives on the Inox needles? It looks very pretty, despite the heart stopping knitting.

  19. gleek

    i often pray to the easter bunny as well. any deity that maintains a high stock in chocolate is fine by me.

    on a needle note, i find that susan bates needles under the size of US4 are ok. they are very pointy and the join is tolerable (not great but tolerable.. and only under US4. larger than that and the join makes you want to throw them out the window.)

  20. beadslut

    Funny you should bring that up. I’m knitting your Picovoli and I should have switched to longer 4’s, but the Susan Bates 4’s (16″) are just the right pointy and my Inox circ isn’t. I’m knitting with microspun, so the ability to poke through the stitch cleanly is important to me. The Turbos and the Inoxes are glaring at me, but they won’t do the trick for this.

  21. Jennifer

    Well, I totally sympathize with the needle acrobatics. At some point my hands just yell “uncle!” But, on the bright side, the googlie mooglies look really fantastic and lacy, so keep up the good work!

  22. Knitnana

    Life. Line. Absolutely. I don’t ever want to think of tinking 1000 stitches. Lifeline.

    And hmmm….I was just getting ready to order my first pair of Inox circs for lace. Maybe I’ll call my LYS and ask about the Bryspuns.

    Thank you – good luck – it’s gorgeous for all your jaw clenching…

    Life line. Try it!


  23. Anna

    I know this is an unsolicited suggestion, but I like the Boyes circulars for lace knitting — pretty pointy, and Pearls Arts and Crafts in Central Square had small diameters two weeks ago. I know because I bought 0s, 1s, and 2s! Good luck.

  24. Katherine

    Warning: totally untested suggestion follows.

    A couple of years ago I made a hat on some Inox circs, #5 or some size like that, and I guess I was a little stressed because I was knitting very tightly. Anyway, the tips of the needles wore off, so now they each have a beveled tip. They are still usable, but they are now sharp enough to kill.

    So maybe, just maybe, you could sand the tips to be sharper — just pointier, not beveled. I don’t know, you also might ruin your needles or shorten their lifespan to a few more weeks. You could at least think about it.

  25. anne

    Gee, I love my Addi Turbos for lace work. No problems at all with the points and nothing compares to the joins, they are the ONLY needles that don’t snag the yarn, and when you are a tight knitter like me, the joins are the most important part of the needle!

    Wouldn’t it be boring if we all had the same preferences?

  26. Isela

    Would it be feasible to change the pattern so it is symmetrical? I probably would go with that option–it means work, but probably the brain will feel more at peace.

  27. Nancy

    Well, you are a brave woman and will have a true work of art when the shawl is finished. Best of luck with the project, and keep using those life lines just in case.

  28. Karla (threadbndr)

    I can feel your pain. I just finished a lace cowl on US6. And on Addi Turbos it was a mess to get the tips (can’t call them points) into the decreases.

    The next lace is the Widow’s Shawl (Basic Black Shawl) from “Folk Shawls”. And I got a set of US 7 Grey Inox for it. (It’s in sport weight Shetland wool.) I’ll report on the comparative points. As it’s a center out square, I’ll have the perfect opportunity to look at dpn vs circs.

  29. Norma

    Dumb stupid annoying blunt tips. I’m kinda liking Aeros. They’re not perfect, either, because the circs have a bend in them that annoys me…but the points and the surface are wonderful. (and the joins)

  30. gail

    I feel your pain. My lace needles are the old (as in almost antique) nylon Susan Bates needles that are hard to find. They have pointed tips, great for lace!! Also, the stitches don’t slip on the nylon. that’s both good and bad, but for tricky lace it’s good. If anyone has a stash of circular nylon needles from the 50’s–or whenever they were made–and you don’t like them, let me know. I will buy them!!

  31. rheagee

    I have an answer on the Inox diameter question… I bought a set of “size 2” 40 inch circular Inox that were labeled 2.75mm on the packaging. I got them home to find the needles inside were labeled (and were actually) 2.5mm. I conversed with knitting shop lady and she said Inox is in the process of changing its size 2’s from 2.5mm to 2.75mm. So those dps in 2.5 might be a thing of the past.

  32. Janet

    I agree whole heartedly about the bluntness of Inox and Addi needles. The smaller ones are not as bad. I use Crystal Palace bamboo circular needles for lace because they are very smooth and polished. They are not as fast as metal needles but almost. Susan Bates also makes fast circular needles.

  33. Janet

    I agree – Inox and Addi turbos are very blunt.

    I like Crytstal Palace bamboo circular needles for lace. They are very smooth and polished so therefore fast enough.

  34. Janice in GA

    You know, I think with stuff that’s patterned on both sides it’s *easier* to see where you are and what you’re doing. I occasionally get confused trying to figure out where I am on the patterns that have a plain row between patterned rows. Granted, it’s harder to tink on patterned-every-row stuff. Those stupid yo’s have a way of being noxious.

  35. valentina

    Inox does make their 6inch needles in 0.25mm increments, but vendors don’t sell the whole range. The Wooly West (woolywest.com) has 2.75mm and 3.25mm 6inch needles. Don’t know who might have the 2.25mm, though. Ask somebody in Europe for a favour.

  36. Tarilyn

    My jaw aches just looking at that pattern! You are so brave (???). Adding my two cents re neeles. I find the Susan Bates Quicksilver circulars to be very very pointy, especially in the smaller sizes. The join isn’t bad as long as it’s not a tight gauge.

  37. Teresa C

    Man, this is a lot of comments! I want to read them, but right now? No time. So now you have me thinking, should I mirror the incs and decs? Will it drive me crazy? Is it you?

  38. Mali

    You need to get yourself some Aero needles! I do all my lace knitting on these, after getting annoyed with Addi, Inox and others. The points are perfect for lace. Try yarnforward.com – they have a good selection and I’ve always had good service from them.

  39. TracyKM

    If bamboo/wood needles are not pointy enough for you, you could sand down the tips, then apply lots of clear, glossy sealer.

    I bought some needles at Wal-Mart…they come in colours, might be Boye? And they have been pointy enough for me. Don’t know about sizes though.

    I’d look to see what type I’m using on a nursing shawl I’m making…but the baby is asleep in my arms….she’ll be weaned before I finish the shawl, LOL!

  40. Sheila Mayhew

    Do you think it might be a good idea to write to Addi -Turbo suggesting they either sharpen their needles abit – or make a whole other line called “Sharpies for Lace Knitters”? You write such convincing and entertaining letters to other people who need helpful suggestions!! Good idea,no?

  41. Kate C.

    I bow to you…your lace work is amazing. I am as of yet unable to knit lace as my children suck up too much of my concentration…someday!

  42. Martha (another one)

    I saw “12 out of 249” and thought Wow! She’s really making progress!

    I’ve been contemplating an attempt at finding needles that are able to be sharpened. I think that I’ll start by ruining some of my aluminum ones. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Comments are closed.