Love/hate Relationship with the Needles

Over the last few years I grew as a knitter. I loved challenging myself with different things, like a circular shawl (Girasole), or stoles (Anthemion shawl), and numerous sock patterns, particularly of the Wendy Johnson variety. What started off as a Boye aluminum straight needle obsession has quickly turned into a “make everything on circulars” obsession.

This is definitely true for knitting socks, since I’ve adjusted from using DPNs to the magic loop on long circs. In particular I again started off with Boye circs (though most of these didn’t come in a length greater than 29″ in the local stores), and also Susan Bates, which offered sizes smaller than US6. The problem became that there was simply not enough variety in lengths available in the stores. Thus my search went to online stores.

A test of patience meant that not only would I miss out on the new project love, but that I wouldn’t be able to see or touch anything I bought until after it arrive. I found myself on the Loopy Ewe website, purchasing some HiyaHiya needles first time round.

Now, for metal needles these were far superior to the aluminum ones I had grown accustomed to. They were light weight and flexible and worked really well. The only downside was the very rounded tips. I wanted to delve into lace, dammit, and I needed pointier tips!

So I went back to the Loopy Ewe website and picked up some Addi Turbos. I’m fairly certain I picked up some normal Addi’s instead of the lace. I wanted to see how they would fare with knitting some socks. I purchased some 47″ needles, because my experiment would not only include socks, but knitting 2 at a time, which required an extremely long circular. The socks turned out perfectly fine, and only a couple of snaffus, I never noticed the funny metallic smell coming from my hands.

It wasn’t until I picked up some Addi Turbo Lace circulars that I started to notice the difference in the way my hands were feeling as I was working. Not only were my hands smelling, but it seemed that the brass portions of the needles were getting coated in something sticky. I kept thinking it was just lotion, so I’d wash my hands and not use lotion at all*. Except that it still kept happening. I sighed, putting the project down rather than finishing it. I worried that the socks intended for my best friend were going to smell funny, in a weird metallic-y way. I thought maybe if I worked on something out, the weird chemical smell coming from my hands would suddenly disappear.

Except, a simple google search found that other people had similar problems with the brass and/or the coating on the Addi circulars. I’ve since picked up some KnitPicks Nickel Plated circulars. I have yet to use these, but they seem like they would be equivalent to the HiyaHiya needles only significantly less expensive. Especially compared to the Addi’s.

A part of me is afraid to transfer the sock in progress to new needles considering the nuances of needle manufacturers, and finding that my gauge is suddenly off by something noticeable. I just know that I can’t keep going on those Addi Turbo Lace needles. They’re causing me to gag when I knit.

Any ideas on how to remove the smell from the needles? Do I just keep going and they’ll get primed like bamboo does after you’ve used them for awhile? Does this sort of thing eventually go away?

* Which is kind of frustrating when I’m working with wool or wool-blend yarn. I find my hands drying out a lot.

One Response to "Love/hate Relationship with the Needles"

  • I noticed the same problem with my Addition lace needles. I had them put away for several months and they all seemed to have gotten worse. I decided to see if a little rub with some Bon Ami would help and the results were great. The paper towel I used did turn green so I guess some of the brass came off too. This does not make me feel a whole lot better about the needles. I will never buy any again but at least they are useable now.
    I have switched to Signature Needles which are indescribably amazing. They are very pricy but worth every penny!


    1 Sandy said this (August 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm) Reply

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