I have a set of bamboo circular knitting needles that I do all of my knitting with. I purchased the set shortly after learning to knit because it was inexpensive, and my research told me I could knit anything–big, small, in the round, flat–on long circular needles. This has definitely proven true, as I haven’t needed any other needles. The set I bought came with 15 sizes from size US 0 to US 15 (I think… maybe only 13). They are great needles with flexible cables that allow for easy magic-looping (a technique which allows the knitter to knit in-the-round small diameter items with a long circular needle).
I’ve used the size US 1’s (2.25 mm) for I think only one other project, Cassie’s socks. I was working on Nate’s socks last night (the heel of the second sock) and snap! One of the tips broke off about an inch from the end! Oh no! I nearly lost about 15 stitches, but was able to save them on the other needle and cable. They broke in such a way that they were easily super-glued back together. Nate did that for me and then sanded down the sharp edges. That spot was definitely rougher than the rest of the needles, but it wasn’t the worst thing to work with, so I pressed on.
About three more rows in, I hear another snap! This time, it was a clean straight break that couldn’t be glued back together. I was kind of upset because I was really gettin’ in the groove on this heel, and it kind of sucks to be interrupted like that. Nate had the idea and I let him try it because, hey, it’s possible I’d get a useable needle out of it, and it’s not like he could make it more unusable than it already was. He filed down the needle into a point similar to the other (except, it’s about 3 inches shorter now), sanded it, and then applied a coat of varnish to see if it would be smooth enough to work with.
After drying all night, it’s still not very smooth. Since I can already see the size US 0’s and 2’s breaking, I bought 3 sets of DPNs from Knit Picks today in their nickel-plated line in sizes US 0, 1, and 2. I’m really loving the sock knitting, so I can see myself knitting many more pairs. These are the sizes I’ll use for sock knitting, so it’ll be nice to have some good quality metal needles that won’t break after knitting a pair of socks with them. Also, the slick surface and pointier tips might be nice.
Nate’s socks are thus on hold until I get these needles in and do a little practicing. I’ve never used DPNs before. For those who don’t know, DPNs stands for double-pointed needles… they are needles with a point on each end. You arrange them so that you have 3 or 4 in a triangle or square holding the stitches and you knit with the 4th or 5th needle. There’s a lot of sticks and a lot of points to keep up with. However, I’m confident I will get it figured out. It just looks like maybe poor Nate’s socks won’t be finished by the end of winter. 😦