About a year ago I bought a selection of fixed Addi lace circulars to try out on a few projects (2.5mm and 3.25 mm for socks and hexipuffs and 10mm for a chunky project) and found them very pleasing, in fact I preferred them to the KnitPros... which started me wondering what the interchangeables would be like and how they'd compare. At that point I read one comparison/review with the short Addi Lace Clicks and wasn't convinced I'd like them due to the shorter length (hand cramps!?) and the thought of such a noticeable join, and so the idea was put to the back of my mind.
Fast forward to a few months ago when the opportunity arose to try out a set of the new longer Addi Lace Click Long Interchangeables - naturally I was keen to give them a go. They have now been used for a number of different projects ranging from Aran to laceweight yarns, and so if you'd care to join me in a little needle geekery, it's time to tell you about them. There are comparisons with KnitPro because that's what I know best, and they are very popular so chances are, many of you know them too.
The Set: Inside the clutch-bag style case you will find 8 pairs of Addi lace knitting tips, 3 red Addi lifeline-cords, 1 cable connector (extender), numerous leaflets and a brooch! Needle sizes range from 3.5mm to 8mm and the cords are 60, 80 and 100 cm.
My first impressions were really good - the case is lightweight yet sturdy (and very pink!), it feels nicely made, with well-fitting elastics holding the needles and cable connector in place. Being a sucker for personal service, I admit to liking the little note enclosed, which tells me who put my set together although I don't imagine the Addi brooch pin will ever be worn. I can't help thinking that a shawl pin would have been more suitable.
The Tips: These Addi tips are not as sharp or pointy as the smaller sized Addi fixed circulars I have but this has been of no detriment, even when using Lace 2 ply. As the smallest tips in the set are 3.5mm this seems entirely reasonable and my fingers are quite happy having been subject to a fair amount of abuse from sharper needles. The points are longer and they weigh more than the wooden Symphonies and as one might expect, the Addis feel a lot more sturdy than the Symphonies too.
It's difficult to directly compare the tips of the wooden Symphonies and these metal Addis - there will be yarns which suit one or other better and there is also a matter of personal taste, so I'm leaving that issue aside except to say that I have broken a number of my wooden tips which should probably be a consideration to anyone looking to invest in a set. A couple have broken in project bags when being transported, D sat on another, and I managed to snap a thin one whilst knitting. Luckily they are easy to replace.
The Cables: The cables in this set are different to those in the fixed Addi Lace needles - they seem more flexible and most noticeably they have a handy slit for the easy placement of lifelines. I tried this out using my lace project and it was very straightforward and I can see it would be useful if moving from one chart to another, on particularly complicated projects or simply for separating raglan sleeves onto scrap yarn in a one-piece garment.
The Join: The 'clickable' join makes attaching the tips a quick and easy process and there is no need for the small (and therefore easily misplaced) key which is necessary to tighten KnitPros. However, the click mechanism is not without peril to the uninitiated - on the second row of my lace knitting (whilst budging the little stitches together onto the tip) I managed to wiggle and push simultaneously and the cable popped off. Luckily no stitches were lost, but it changed the way this was done on subsequent rows and now, with a little wiggle to the right OR a little push (but NEVER a wiggle to the left and a push at the same time!), I can move even tiny stitches over the join without incident.
The join is much more visible than on KnitPros, but for all practical purposes, I haven't found it any more tricky when knitting - the join on KnitPro interchangeables is equally as noticeable when working with fine yarns (the yarn gets stuck in the groove and I've been known to say it "drives me mad" on numerous occasions) and for the first few weeks I wasn't tightening my KnitPros enough so they came undone too, suggesting there is a learning curve with both brands. Some people - especially those with very tight knitting - might have a problem with any of these joins, and for those knitters, fixed circulars are probably the way to go.
Summary: Overall you will probably have noticed that I do prefer the Addis (the click, the cable, the 'set' is nicer and has more of a quality feel). In fact, I haven't reached for any KnitPros (wood or metal) since they arrived, despite the Symphonies looking much prettier and more tactile. I like everything about the Addis, except that there are only 3 cables in the pack and as a polywipamous knitter, I need more than that. As I already have LOTS of different tips and cables for the Symphonies I will continue to use them too - I'll have to.
There is not a tremendous difference in the cost - when investing in a set of tools that should last for years, a 'tenner' here or there wouldn't be enough to sway my decision either way. Ultimately they are all good needles and I have been perfectly happy with the Symphonies for the last 2 years... until I tried the Addis!
* I do have some KnitPro metal 'Nova' tips but haven't included those here as I have not directly compared them or used them for as many different yarn weights - maybe that's for another post.