Justification of Startitis

Anyone who knits lace knows that the needles are important. I should say, anyone who knits lace with real laceweight yarn, possibly even more than once, will eventually learn the importance of needles, all their quirks, and develop some opinions on the subject. Case in point: the first lacy project I knit was the “Branching Out” scarf from Knitty. It was the perfect first lace project; I learned to read a chart, I got over my fear of “holes” in my knitting, and enjoyed the pattern enough that I actually knit two of them, back to back, as Christmas gifts. That was a year and a half ago. I knit with dk weight yarn, on straight bamboo needles, and it was just fine.

The next month I started Adamas, using some laceweight from Knitpicks. (Pre-blogging days – I’ll drag it out to photograph one day when it’s not raining…) I bought some 3.75mm/US 5 circular Addi Turbos specifically for the job, which produced an airier fabric than I would have wanted (I hadn’t yet realized the extreme looseness of my purling) but the tips of the needles were not something I had to put much thought into. Lace is supposed to be hard, right? It came out well for a first shawl, and I was very proud.

Fast forward to this past summrer, when I started my EZ Pi Shawl. I wanted a more solid fabric, I had more of an idea how to make this work, so I went down a couple needle sizes. The only 3.25mm/US3 needles I had were these:

Not sharp at all.

They are the only needles readily available in my town, Clover bamboo circulars. I used them anyway. I cursed the joins when my laceweight merino snagged. I kept using them. The k2togs were unreasonably difficult, and k3tog was nearly impossible. I plodded onward. I wondered at the masochism of knitters who churn out lace, wondered what I was doing wrong, and finally called the darned thing finished and knit the border. Becasue of my frustration, the shawl is perhaps a few inches short of the desired diameter, and doesn’t get much wear. Makes a nice antimacassar on the rocking chair; not that there’s much macassar used around here.

When I decideded to knit my handspun shawl, I looked for a pointier needle. I found one I liked in a tangle of second-hand circulars I bought off eBay when I first started knitting. It was grey, pointy-tipped, and the right size, so I used it. Some internet research informed me that what I had in hand was a Susan Bates Quicksilver needle, that they are still produced and dirt-cheap. I bought a few, and I’ve found them quite adequate.
Until now.
For the Starlight wrap, I started out using my trusty SBQ 3.25mm/US3 and quickly found I’m not satisfied.
This pattern is good and hard. My yarn is teeny-teeny-tiny, and suddenly the slightly-rounded tips of my dear needles are no longer sufficient.

Not sharp enough.

You know what I am lusting after. Addi lace needles…
Of course I heard about them when they first came out (I was one who sent an email reqesting their development!) but I wanted to hear the reviews before I shelled out the money. Now, when I feel in desperate need, they are sold out all over the internet. Sold. Out. Not shipping until May.

So this morning I called around yarn shops in Anchorage, where my darling husband happens to be at the moment, and located a 24″ 3.25mm Addi Lace Needle (at the Yarn Branch, for anyone who needs to know.) After ascertaining that they would indeed hold it until Andy came to pick it up, I called him and begged the favor. He agreed readily, but asked why I didn’t simply request the shop to mail it down to me, since he’s to be out of town until next week. I called back the shop.

My needle will be in the post today. Should be in my anxious little paws in a couple short days. *Huge sigh of relief…*

So why the rambling monologue? Well I had to justify this:

Hmmm, yes… Spring Startitis has struck me hard. In my defense, it was sunny yesterday, and wool socks seemed a little… confining? I have had this yarn in the stash for a very long time (Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Barn Red) and decided yesterday afternoon to make a summery top from it. So Rusted Root it is. The pattern is basically a top-down raglan, with a simple lace pattern off-set on the front (the ol’ Addi Turbo #5s are at it again…) so it’s going quickly, I’m already to the sleeve shaping.
Should keep me occupied until the new lace needle gets here anyway…

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11 thoughts on “Justification of Startitis

  1. I’m thinking this might be the reason I haven’t really enjoyed my (few) lace projects so far. My LYS has the Addi lace needles, but I’m leaning toward the new Knitpicks needles, which are reported to be very sharp. If I could only decide what sizes to get! My lace experience is meager. What, say, 3 sizes would you get to start out with to knit shawls with laceweight and fingering yarns?

  2. Consider trying some Bryspun needles which I find excellent for knitting lace. They have enough grab to keep your purl stitches even, without the fight of bamboo.

  3. I could not stop laughing (sorry, but I have been there, trying to get “something” all over the world, literally, and i could relate!).but we don’t need to justify our new projects, especially in this lovely red!

  4. I’m interested in hearing how you like the Addi Lace. I have the KnitPicks options set, but haven’t cast on for a lace project with them yet – I can’t decide on what to do (just too many nice patterns to choose from). But I hear the Addis are really nice – congrats on finding them!

  5. The ‘perfect needle’ search goes on for us all. I use really old plastic needles for lace ~ they have no join at all, being extruded (?) in one piece and the points are decent. I find them on ebay, at yard sales and thrift stores. I find plastic ‘grabs’ tiny yarn better than metal, giving me more control over lace projects, but I dislike them for larger yarn projects – too slow. This is why we all have multiple types of the same size needles! Tools. Love them!

  6. I have fallen in love with the glass needles from GlassPens but they do not go lower than a US 5. If you ever want ot try the Phildar needles or can find a good home fore them, let me know. I have 2 complete sets.

  7. congratulations on finding the Addi lace needles–I really like them. The join is fabulous, tips are pointy, and they’re not quite as slick as the nickle-plated version. Enjoy!

  8. I have a pair of Addi Lace needles coming my way too. I agree with you, I think a good pair of needles is essential to lace knitting. I adore that Rusted Root pattern! Totally justifiable project. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I’m really not that interested in lace knitting (I’m not a lace person in general, and I’m not nearly type A enough to be a lace knitter), but I’m tempted to try out some addi lace needles for socks – cabling without a needle on my 2mm addis is frustrating at times!

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